Double sorrow for Olympiakos

Olympiakos suffered its second defeat in three days at the Euroleague Final-Four, going down to Barcelona 95-79 yesterday in the third-place final. Reeling from its 84-82 defeat to Panathinaikos on Friday in the all-Greek semifinal, the Reds showed they had their collective mind set on winning the Greek league after 12 years. As it was playing without injured Josh Childress and Panayiotis Vassilopoulos, Olympiakos also lacked the morale that had helped it overcome its on-court disadvantage to teams that can be superior on the night. One such team was Barcelona, which after its loss to CSKA Moscow in the other semifinal (82-78) on Friday, outplayed the Greeks yesterday and scored a win that will ease its disappointment. Lynn Greer led the scoring for Olympiakos with 19 points, followed by 17 points from Yiannis Bourousis. Olympiakos’s loss to Panathinaikos on Friday was the third out of four games between the two teams this season and coach Panayiotis Giannakis will have to work hard to shake off a growing inferiority complex in his team after defeats in Berlin and in the cup final two months ago. Childress will likely stay off the courts for about 10 days, while Vassilopoulos may well undergo an operation that could keep him out for the rest of the Greek playoffs. In general the competition in the German capital passed without major security problems despite the presence of two Greek sets of fans and the May Day celebrations that also included demonstrations on the day of the all-Greek semifinal. Reports suggested there were some minor disturbances but nothing on the scale initially feared by basketball and police authorities. There were even reports of tickets to the final exchanging hands from fans of Olympiakos to those of Panathinaikos, which shows a considerable improvement in spirit between the rival sets of Greek fans.

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