Greek Basket League round-up (Week 1)

We are back in action in the Greek Basket League with AEK back on track but failing to start with a win, while the two rivals started with the right foot, both at home. Read full review below:  

Olympiacos- Apollon Patras 82-56

Despite their low morale after the defeat against rival Panathinaikos for the Greek Cup and with Milan Tomic taking his place to the bench replacing Bartzokas, the “Reds” got an easy home win against Apollon who struggled offensively. Olympiacos was in control of the game from the first minutes, but some missed shots at the beginning did not allow them to take a lead bigger than plus 4 (19-15) after 10 minutes. After the small break, they appeared more patient in the offense, applying more pressure to their guests. As a result, the first half concluded with a gap of 12 points, 41-29.

The away team attempted to turn things around by slowing down the pace, but after a short time, Milan Tomic’s players found the solution, getting a safe lead (65-39) after 3 quarters. The closing ten minutes of the match did not hold any surprises of course, leading to an easy win for Olympiacos at their opening game, having Spanoulis in great form (17p.)

Panelefsiniakos- Aris 70-78

The season started with a difficult away game, but the team from Thessaloniki emerged victorious. The opening period was a close as expected with the two sides exchanging the lead and concluding to promising 19-18. At the start of the second quarter, Aris tried to apply a quicker more offensive game, with Panelefsiniakos following their pace, even managing to close the half leading by 2, 42-40.

The game’s key point was between the 25th and 29th minute where Aris had a 13-0 run, positioning themselves on the leading position (54-65). All they had to do in the remaining 10 minutes was to hold on to that lead, and so they did by controlling the rebounds and playing tight defense. Vezenkov socred 19 for Aris while Mourtos had 12 and 10 rebounds. Cox scored 15 for the defeated side.

K.A.O.D.- A.O.Trikala 62-57

It was more than clear that both teams were very stressed, and this was reflected to the bad shooting totals. KAOD got in the game managing to control the pace, forcing many missed shots to their opponents and ending the quarter in front 15-11. The same rhythm went on through the second period, with the team from Drama controlling the rebounds and the paint, while Trikala slightly improved their shooting. The half concluded with the home side in front 29-23.

The quality of the game was not really improved after the break and the 3rd quarter belonged to the away team with Tracey leading the way offensively and bringing the visitors closer. 42-39 was the score with 10 minutes remaining. The fight went on strong until the 35th minute, when KAOD had a small return, giving them the chance, combined with solid defense, to grab an important win at home. Johnson had 12 for the Dramians alongside Low and Chrisikopoulos who scored 10.

Panionios- Kolossos Rhodes 76-92

It was a comfortable win for the away side, since they faced a weakened Panionios team who played with their youngsters as a result of the fact that the club recently earned the right to play in the League. The team from Rhodes got in the game strong, quickly switched into zone defense and got a safe 13-26 lead after the opening quarter. Coach Papachatzis tried to find a way to contain James and give his team an offensive boost, which resulted to a 10 point difference at halftime (40-50).

The 3rd quarter was decisive with the away team trying to secure the away win and defending again in zone formation, trying to play in a more physical way. Panionios young roster could not follow, and after a black-out they had, the 21-9 run sealed the deal for Kolossos, 49-71 after 30 minutes. The last quarter did not have much to offer since Panionios was out of energy and solutions. However the home fans gave their best to support the team and boost their confidence. There are plenty of rumors around for more experienced players who are about to join the club such as Xanthopoulos and Barlos. Until then they have to be based on Stamatis who had 16 and Billis who had 15. Great game from the 15 years-old Moraitis who had 15 for the home team. MVP of the game was James who scored 26 and was dominant from start to finish.

P.A.O.K.- A.G.O.Rethimno 88-79 (e.t.)

The first game to go to overtime took place in Thessaloniki between PAOK and AGOR. The home team was absolutely dominant at the opening five minutes, having a 18-1 run which gave them a strong 20-10 lead at the end of the 1st period. The pace remained quick with PAOK taking advantage, maintaining a double digit gap until halftime (41-31).

It was time for AGOR to step up at the second half, and with a quick 11-0 run the got back in the game. They even got in front 49-50 but the quarter ended with PAOK ahead 54-52. The closing quarter was very intense with both teams playing physically and trying to control the rebounds. Rethimno was close to the win but 5 consecutive points from Charalambides sent the game to Extra time, 69-69. The away side attempted to continue their physical play but coach Markopoulos’ players had a 3-pointer crescendo with Carter leading the way, to grab the win in a dramatic game. Marc Carter scored 19p. and Vaughn followed with 15 and for the Cretans, Allen had 16.

Panathinaikos- A.E.N.Kifissia 76-66

Panathinaikos looked fatigued after the Cup quarter final and on the other side AENK showed lots of good elements to their play, not allowing the “Greens” to spend an easy evening at OAKA. It was expected that the home team would get the lead from early on and it happened, as the first ten minutes ended with Kifissia struggling to follow (15-11). The gap got even bigger at the 2nd period because coach Ivanovic seemed to take the game very seriously, forcing the players to defend tight and find some open shots. The halftime score was 39-24.

However, the visitors did not give, showing that they will not be an easy opponent. By cutting the lead below 10 at the half of the quarter. Their opponents slightly recovered to close the quarter in fornt 58-45. The game was not yet over since Panathinaikos faced a small offensive deficit, but the experience and quality of players such as Batista, helped the Greek Champions to reach to the win in the premiere. Slaughter had 18 for them and on the other side Tsaldaris scored 14p.

Koroivos Amaliadas- A.E.K. 80-67

The return of AEK in the Basket League was not very successful since they went down to the newcomers Koroivos Amaliadas, but they seemed to be in the right direction for the rest of the season. Koroivos was better than AEK in the beginning, taking control from the first quarter with the help of their fans. With the score 22-10 after 10’, they had the upper hand, but the visitors attempted to cut the lead, shaking off the bad start. 41-37 was the first half score since Koroivos seemed to face offensive problems that did not allow him to extend their good first quarter.

After the break, AEK was patient in offense but did not have the energy to do the same defensively, allowing Koroivos to find some good open shots to hold on to the game. 55-55 was the score with 10 minutes left to play. From that point on, the away team seemed to be out of stamina, leaving to many open routes to their basket. The team from Amaliada took advantage and with Robert (18p.) on fire, they emerged victorious. Milocevic had 16 points and collected 11 rebounds being dominant on both paints but he was alone.