By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Visiting OAKA Altion, Olympiacos blew out Panathinaikos, 95-71, in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague edition of the derby of the eternal enemies Friday.
Setting the pace with 11 points in the first quarter, Moustapha Fall ended up with 19 points, a new season-high. The towering center also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five of his side’s 28 assists en route to a PIR of 33. “Especially at the end of the year, it is very good to finish with a win in the derby. We know this game is very important for the fans,” he noted.
“I think a casual fan would say we played beautiful basketball tonight. The way we shared the ball, passed, moved, and worked together,” added Thomas Walkup following a contribution amounting to 12 points, six assists, four rebounds, and two steals.
Isaiah Canaan chipped in 17 points, including six in the last ten minutes. Captain Kostas Papanikolaou packed 13 points, and Kostas Sloukas and Joel Bolomboy with 11 points each shaped the remaining double-digit scoring showings.
The lead changed 12 times in the first quarter of the Regular Season Round 16 contest but the Reds sprinting to a 23-point advantage was the first sign of the win. The deficit was reduced to 14 points, but settling well over 20 points late in the third period closed the deal.
The tenth win in a row opposite the Athens archrival across all competitions, the third in the 2022-23 season, improved the EuroLeague W-L tally to 10-6, including 5-3 on the road. Overcoming the absence of EuroLeague PIR leader Sasha Vezenkov (thigh), the team coached by Giorgos Bartzokas snapped a two-game losing streak.
“When you have a really good team, you don’t depend on anybody, even if this guy is a fantastic player like Sasha Vezenkov,” explained the Greek tactician, “We depend on our team effort, how we play together, how we stick together, how we share the ball, how we play the one for the other.”
An uninspiring performance for the team coached by Dejan Radonjic drew up the fourth straight loss and a 6-10 record. “It was a very very bad game for us, all 40 minutes,” he summed up, “I want to apologize to the 15,000 fans in the gym that came to support us.” EuroLeague’s leading scorer Dwayne Bacon logged 30 points dealing with foul trouble for the majority of the second half. A late scratch in Panagiotis Kalaitzakis (back) did not help.
Switching to the domestic league and attempting to jump to 8-2 in Basket League, the Greens visit Promitheas Monday. Up next is traveling to Germany and facing FC Bayern Munich Thursday. Olympiacos will instead sit at 10-0 in the top-flight division of Greece and directly continue the continental campaign with the home game versus EA7 Emporio Armani Milan Friday.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net