By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Olympiacos Piraeus led from start to finish and pushed back a comeback effort by archrival Panathinaikos Athens to grab the 78 – 71 win on the road. It was the first victory of the season for the Reds and loss no. 1 for their opponents that were coming off an away triumph over Khimki Moscow.
Giorgos Printezis scored a game-high 17 points on 6-7 shots in 20 minutes while Shaq McKissic provided 10 points for Olympiacos. Octavius Ellis contributed 13 rebounds, along with five points.
“I am the first to believe it is always the team that wins. So, it’s very good that we had a reaction today in the game because after one bad loss at home, we had to react,” Printezis said referring to the Round 1 home defeat to Zalgiris Kaunas. “We did well.”
Marcus Foster dropped 15 points and Ioannis Papapetrou 14 for Panathinaikos that saw the visiting side going ahead by 15, 18 – 33, in the mid of the second period before slowly beginning to chew that margin.
Thanks to a 4 – 14 partial score, Panathinaikos made it 58 – 62 with 8:26 remaining after trailing with a deficit around double digits for most of the game until then. The Greens misfired in consecutive attempts from beyond the arc while Olympiacos moved up 60 – 70 with 3:26 to play.
Once again, the hosts tried a turnaround by taking advantage of some mistakes by their opponents and five straight points by Nemanja Nedovic cut it to 69 – 73. That was as close as they got since after a tough layup by Aaron Harrison, a technical called on Nedovic gave Vassilis Spanoulis the opportunity to put his team at a three-possession distance with one minute left. His team stayed safe for the rest of the one minute left on the clock.
An incomplete comeback
“We became more aggressive in the second and third quarters and our defense improved,” Panathinaikos coach Giorgos Vovoras said. “The key was in the fourth quarter, when we believed we could come back, we got within 4 points behind better defense, but it was not enough to change the final outcome.”
Oly keeps only the result
It wasn’t the prettiest of games for a fan to watch and Olympiacos coach Giorgos Bartzokas was fully aware of that when he began analyzing the match in the post-game presser.
“First of all, I have to admit the quality of the game wasn’t really good, but it is normal,” Bartzokas said. “I don’t see any team right now playing well in the EuroLeague, every team is struggling to score 80 points, so it is obvious that this situation with the pandemic is in everyone’s mind. Right now, just to get this win was very important. Especially in this court, where it is never easy, even without the fans. So let’s keep that we won the game, we led for 40 minutes and I think we deserved it.”