By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Olympiacos couldn’t count on Kostas Sloukas due to the stomach flu, Thomas Walkup got ejected at the start of the second half, and Sasha Vezenkov was injured in the third quarter’s closing minutes.
Mateusz Ponitka and Paris Lee led Panathinaikos to its first victory over arch-rivals after 14 straight defeats and 563 days without a derby win, scoring 12 points each.
For the decimated Olympiacos, Kostas Papanikolau scored 15 points, Thomas Walkup had 14 points before the ejection, and Mostapha Fall added 11 points.
Ponitka called game
Panathinaikos opened the game with a 15-4 run and finished the first period with a 25-13 lead. Olympiacos fought back in the second quarter, leaving the host to just eight points and completely turning the game around to welcome the break leading 35-33.
At the start of the second half Walkup, the best Olympiacos player in the first two quarters with 14 points, got ejected after receiving an unsportsmanlike foul and technical penalty.
Still, the guests were still up for a couple more minutes but lost Sasha Vezenkov in the final moments of the third period due to injury, and PAO saw the chance to regain a 51-50 lead before the decisive period.
It was an even battle until the last moments, but Ponitka called the game, scoring a three-pointer with 17,4 seconds to go for a crucial 67-65 lead.
Game 3 of the best-of-five final series is scheduled for Sunday, June 11, at 20.15 CET, in Peace and Friendship Stadium. Olympiacos will have the support of its fans because the punishment for the Game 1 incidents will affect potential Game 5.
Greek finals (best-of-five):
Game 1: Olympiacos – Panathinaikos 73-70
Game 2: Panathinaikos – Olympiacos 67-65
Game 3: Sunday, June 11 at 20.15 CET
Game 4: Thursday, June 15 at 20.15 CET