Olympiacos overwhelm Panathinaikos in Piraeus
EUROLEAGUE REGULAR SEASON - ROUND 16
|Olympiacos||79 - 65||Panathinaikos|
|(16 - 14)
(41 - 25)
(59 - 40)
(79 - 65)
A monster performance from Nikola Milutinov helped Olympiacos cruise to a comfortable 79-65 win over Panathinaikos in Friday’s marquee matchup in the EuroLeague…
Olympiacos started 2019 on the right foot as the Piraeus giants cruised to a 79-65 win over hated rivals Panathinaikos in Piraeus on Friday night.
Nikola Milutinov led the way with 18 points and 18 rebounds for Olympiacos, who used to a dominant 25-11 run in the second quarter en route to their tenth win of the EuroLeague season to improve to 10-6.
Janis Strelnieks also enjoyed a solid evening with 18 points on the night, while Kostas Papanikolaou (12 points) and Georgios Printezis (11 points) also finished in double figures for Olympiacos.
Panathinaikos, who were led by Nick Calathes’ 13-point effort, never managed to assert themselves on the night as the Trifylli dropped their first game since the arrival of head coach Rick Pitino.
Ioannis Papapetrou, who made his first return to Piraeus since leaving Olympiacos to join Panathinaikos in the offseason, experienced a rather uncomfortable evening as he mustered just 2 points and limited shooting opportunities.
Olympiacos grabbed a slim 16-14 lead in the first quarter as both sides tried to find their groove in the ironically hostile Peace and Friendship Stadium. The highlight of the opening exchanges was certainly the emphatic dunk from Milutinov, after the Serbian beat out three Panathinaikos before slamming the ball to the roaring approval of the home supporters.
Plays similar to that one would help Olympiacos find their groove in the second quarter. The Erythrolefki quickly blew the game wide-open in the second frame as Milutinov did most of his damage in the to confirm a double-double before halftime.
With a 41-25 lead, Olympiacos did a solid job of holding onto their advantage in the second half; even when Panathinaikos threatened to claw back on the scoreboard.
A much tighter third quarter still saw Olympiacos extend their lead by three, allowing David Blatt’s men to carry a 59-40 lead into the fourth quarter.
Olympiacos’ lead wouldn’t come under any threat in the fourth quarter as Panathinaikos soon realized the contest was beyond them. A lion’s share of points for the visitors in the final few minutes would help minimize the damage on the scoreboard but wouldn’t prevent the Trifylli from picking up their ninth loss of the season to fall to 7-9.
The defeat is especially damaging for Panathinaikos’ playoff hopes as the Athenians are now a full game behind the final playoff spot – though with 14 rounds of action remaining the club will have plenty of time to right their wrongs.
Both sides return to domestic obligations on the weekend with Panathinaikos set to host Holargos at the OAKA Olympic Indoor Hall, the same day Olympiacos face AEK in another derby clash for the Piraeus giants.
EuroLeague glory will be top of mind again next week, however, as both sides will face double duty with a doubleheader on the continent as Olympiacos face both Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Real Madrid while Panathinaikos will clash with Bayern Munich and Barcelona.