Panathinaikos edge Olympiacos in A1 opener

Panathinaikos edge Olympiacos in A1 opener


Olympiacos 68 - 71 Panathinaikos
(16 - 15)
(40 - 36)
(54 - 52)
(68 - 71)

Panathinaikos took the first derby scalp of the season with a narrow 71-68 win over arch-rivals Olympiacos inside an empty Peace and Friendship Stadium on Sunday.

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Panathinaikos had three players reach double digits in scoring, with Nikos Calathes leading the way for the Trifylli with 14 points to add to his 7 assists and 8 rebounds.
Jamel McLean lead the way for Olympiacos with 18 points, but the Piraeus giants were in lack of a leading man offensively as Vassilis Spanoulis missed out on the clash through injury.
An expectedly tight contest played out in the first frame with Panathinaikos taking a 7-2 lead early, before Olympiacos stormed back with a 9-0 run to ultimately emerge from the first quarter with a 16-15 lead.
The second quarter was slightly more fruitful offensively as both sides were able to unlock opposing defenses. After a back-and-forth between the sides, Panathinaikos looked set to take a narrow lead into the interval. Olympiacos, however, had other plans as the Erythrolefki rushed to a 7-2 run to finish the first half for a 40-36 half-time lead.
An early free throw for Olympiacos extended the home side’s lead to 5 out of the gate after half time, but Panathinaikos again responded with Thanasis Antetokounmpo scoring five straight points to level the game at 41-41.
Panathinaikos continued the pressure and did have a lead midway through the third quarter, but Olympiacos would round out the frame with a couple of clutch baskets to hold a 2-point lead (54-52) ahead of the fourth quarter.
Olympiacos would build on that lead in the fourth quarter as the Piraeus giants pushed their advantage to 9 points (61-52). Panathinaikos would bounce back again as the visitors clawed back to trim the lead to 66-61, before eventually edging ahead 67-66.
James Gist would extend Panathinaikos’ lead late on, ultimately keeping Olympiacos at bay despite a late effort that saw Olympiacos claw to within 3 points and a late buzzer-beater attempt from Vangelis Mantzaris.
The defeat certainly leaves a bitter taste for Olympiacos, who had victory in sight with a late lead in the fourth quarter. An early comeback on the season for Panathinaikos could spur the club to yet another successful campaign, which the Trifylli are hoping will include European success this time around.
Olympiacos next face Baskonia in the EuroLeague on Thursday, while Panathinaikos travel to face Barcelona in EuroLeague action on Friday.


by Peter Katsiris
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