The Greens sink the Reds in Greek derby
In one of basketball’s biggest rivalries, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens ruled the glass and had a perfect night from the free throw line to take a 77-88 road win over archrival Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday night. The Greens registered its fourth win in the last six games to improve to 9-14, while Olympiacos lost its fourth straight to drop to 11-13. Panathinaikos took the lead for good with a 0-13 first quarter run, and used its offensive rebounding and baskets from Eleftherios Bochoridis to remain in front. Howard Sant-Roos helped the Greens pulled away to a 13-point margin in the third quarter, and despite Olympiacos repeatedly threatening to come back behind Shaquielle McKissic, Panathinaikos used key baskets from Konstantinos Mitoglou and a calm hand from the free throw line to pull out the victory. Sant-Roos paced Panathinaikos with 20 points and 5 assists, while Mitoglou and Bochoridis scored 15 apiece. Aaron White collected 12 points plus 7 rebounds, and Ben Bentil scored 10 in a winning effort for the Greens who were without top scorer Nemanja Nedovic. McKissic netted 20 points for the hosts, and Hassan Martin scored 11.
Sant-Roos fueled the Greens offense early, and Ioannis Papapetrou hit a second-chance triple. After a dunk-plus foul from White, a three-pointer from Sant-Roos capped a 0-13 run and opened a 7-17 lead. However, Charles Jenkins and McKissic answered with back-to-back triples to spark an 8-0 run, and McKissic added another one to get Olympiacos within 18-19. The Greens remained in front, however, and an alley-oop dunk from Georgios Papagiannis helped Panathinaikos open a 21-27 lead. Livio Jean-Charles knocked down a three-pointer for the Reds, and Kostas Sloukas made a tough runner to cut it within 1 point, but Bochoridis scored 7 points in the second quarter, including a triple, to keep the visitors in front, before Bentil and Papagiannis opened 30-38. However, Olympiacos scored the last 5 points of the half, including McKissic finishing a fast break with a dunk-plus-foul, making it 35-38 at halftime.
Panathinaikos scored the first 7 points of the third quarter, including a three-pointer from Sant-Roos, and the same player knocked down another one from downtown to open a 37-48 lead. Aaron Harrison twice took it to the rim for the hosts, and Georgios Printezis had a floater-plus foul, but a triple from Leonidas Kaselakis opened a 44-57 lead. McKissic had a runner-plus-foul, before Vassilis Spanoulis hit a long triple and then fed Martin for a layup to close within 54-59. Panathinaikos took a 7-point lead into the fourth quarter, but a second-chance triple from McKissic at the start of the fourth helped Olympiacos close within 59-61. However, Sant-Roos answered with another triple to restore breathing room, and Panathinaikos continued ruling the glass with Mitoglou's tip-in helping a 0-7 run. Octavius Ellis scored close-range baskets on consecutive possessions, but a corner triple from Mitoglou made it 64-73 midway through the fourth quarter. McKissic hit a three on the other end, and after baskets from Bentil and Bochoridis, Sloukas and White traded triples to make it 72-80. Sloukas hit a pair of jumper to give Olympiacos hope, but Panathinaikos kept their cool to close the game out.
The Panathiniakos backcourt pair of Howard Sant-Roos and Eleftherios Bochoridis both had their best EuroLeague games. Sant-Roos scored a career-high 20 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting, and Bochoridis had 15 points, eclipsing a previous career-high of 12 points set last week in a win over Valencia Basket.
Perfect free throws
Panathinaikos was perfect from the free throw line, making all 25 attempts. That ties for the second most free throws made without a miss in EuroLeague history, behind only Real Madrid’s 34-for-34 in March 2002 against Ural Great.
Apart from making 25-of-25 free throws, while Olympiacos made just 11-of-19, another key to the Greens win was its rebounding dominance. Panathinaikos outrebounded the hosts 39-26, including 16-9 on the offensive glass.
This was the seventh time Olympiacos and Panatinaikos have played each other twice in the same season, and only the second time the teams split their series with road wins. Olympiacos beat Panathinaikos 71-78 in Round 2. The only previous time the Greek rivals exchanged road wins in the same season was the 2017-18 campaign.
The teams are now a one-week break before they return for Round 25, when both will be on the road. Olympiacos will visit Anadolu Efes Istanbul (13-10) on Thursday, February 18, and Panathinaikos will travel to play CSKA Moscow (16-8) a day later.
Friday, February 5, 2021