SPORTS

Tight games boost interest in basketball

Favorites Panathinaikos and Olympiakos may still have a perfect domestic record and the basketball league may command less and less fan interest, but the A1 division has become especially competitive as tight matches last weekend illustrated. Panathinaikos may have thrashed Iraklis 87-44 away on Saturday, practically a double-score for the Greens led by Romain Sato (20 points), but Olympiakos faced a difficult task in beating visiting PAOK behind closed doors, with an 89-82 score. There are five teams with the same points at third place. Two of them are Aris and Kavala who met in Thessaloniki on Saturday with Aris emerging victorious 80-72. Kolossos Rhodes is also on 11 points from seven games after beating AEK 91-73 in Athens, along with Peristeri, which downed Panionios 66-61 away last night, and Ikaros, which edged Ilisiakos 72-70. Maroussi needed overtime to beat Panellinios 96-94 and get to 10 points. Attention now returns to European action as three Greek sides are involved in Eurocup matches tomorrow: Panellinios hosts Turkey’s Galatasaray, Aris greets Croatia’s Cedevita and PAOK visits Roanne in France. Then, on Thursday for the Euroleague, Panathinaikos hosts Slovenia’s Olimpija Ljubljana and Olympiakos travels to Unicaja Malaga in Spain.