Clean sweep in the Euroleague
All three Greek teams scored victories this week in basketball’s Euroleague, with the Panionios win over Real Madrid being the most impressive. Panathinaikos scored its fifth triumph in six games last night, downing Lithuanian champion Zalgiris 80-69 at Kaunas. The hosts are bottom of the group and did not really pose a threat to Panathinaikos, which seems to have improved significantly over the last couple of weeks. After a blip at the start that saw the Lithuanians leading, Panathinaikos took charge of the game and finished the first half well ahead (26-40). The friendly crowd enjoyed a good game by both sides, with Panathinaikos stretching its lead, which exceeded 20 points in the fourth period (49-70). Panathinaikos playmaker Sarunas Jasikevicius received a rapturous welcome from his compatriots in Kaunas, the city in which he made his name. The result leaves Panathinaikos at the top of its group, tied with Italy’s Siena and Barcelona. It will host the Spanish side next week in Athens. On Wednesday, Avellino proved it was no match for Olympiakos in Piraeus, despite taking an early lead. The Reds completely dominated the game from the second period and took the difference to 26 points, before settling for a 25-point victory (91-66). Olympiakos is also top of its group. Panionios scored one of the most impressive wins in its history in Europe, downing Real Madrid at Hellenikon 68-66. The Nea Smyrni club had taken a massive lead of 27 points early in the second half and fended off the Spaniards’ late fight-back to take two precious points in its bid to reach the second round. It is now is fourth on the table, but level on points with Real, which is second, with Partizan in third. The top four sides of each six-team group qualify for the second group stage of the Euroleague. In a Greek league game that had been postponed from the third round of the A1, Kavala registered its third win of the season, downing Trikala 80-66 at home on Wednesday.