By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
The big derby, one of the most prestigious “Euro-Clasico” battles began in Peace and Friendship stadium. Olympiacos didn’t only need to win but cover the 5 points difference by which Panathinaikos won in their first meeting during this season. The Reds managed to do it, relatively easily, defeating the Greens 80 – 66
Post up game was the common selection on offense by both teams that found points by moving closer to the basket. Panathinaikos was the first to attempt some 3 point shots given by Olympiacos‘ players by mostly moving under the screen, yet the hosts were the first to actually make their jumpers in order tomove ahead 9 – 4 with consecutive points by Vassilis Spanoulis. Despite the entrance of Dimitris Diamantidis and Miroslav Raduljica, the guests did not become as threatening as they wanted on offense, while their opponents kept finding score in any possible way, taking a double digit lead, 18 – 6 really early. Panathinaikos problems didn’t find a solution, but they were mutliplied since the Reds easily penetrated when finding the mismatch, particularly after attacking Raduljica after the pick n’ roll. The first quarter’s score (27 – 9) portrays an accurate image of what has been going on.
Olympiacos expanded the lead in the beginning of the second period, being accurate from mid or long range, while cutting Panathinaikos’ passes from outside to inside the paint. Coach Djordjevic’s players struggled quite much, a thing that certainly was of no concern for their opponents, who found points by every player that stepped on court. Calathes’ quickness gave some much needed scoring for his team, but the hosts were absolutely dominant from every corner of the court, making it 44-16 with 3 minutes to go for the first half. While Panathinaikos improved its efficiency on offense, it could not produde the necessary stops on defense. Olympiacos completely thrived on that finishing the first half 53 – 29.
In complete contrast with how they had performed in the game until then, Panathinaikos players stormed in the second half with 8 extremely quick points and Diamantidis on fire, reducing the deficit almost in a heartbeat and forced coach Sfairopoulos to call the timeout. Apart from making a good deal of 3point shots, Panathinaikos players were also more energetic on defense, stopping Olympiacos from finding the easy points of the first half. The squad with James Gist as a center had bore fruits for the guests on both ends of court. A quite big shot from downtown.
Both teams put heavy focus on defense in the beginning of the final period, and Olympiacos managed to keep a steady double digit lead, until 5 points in a row by Feldeine made it again a 9 point game. But the Reds responded quickly with back to back 3point shots by Daniel Hackett building up a safe lead which they preserved until the end of the match, managing to win their opponent, but also take the necessary point +5 point differential.
Vassilis Spanoulis led the winners with 17 points (16 in the first half) and Miroslav Raduljica had 16 for Panathinaikos