Olympiacos emerged winners afte a good game between the two Greek rivals, while PAOK escaped Rhodes with a nail-biting win. Read full review below:
Olympiacos- Panathinaikos 81-75
The “Reds” were in control of the rival derby for most of the time and got a fair win that allow them to stay close to Panathinaikos and the first position of the Greek Basket League. The game had a very good tempo right from the start, with Olympiacos finding open shots while their opponents followed closely (22-18) with Mavrokefalidis standing out. The two teams were exchanging the lead throughout the second period having good offensive flow. 42-40 was the halftime score since Panathinaikos achieved to close a +6 lead the home side had right before the end.
Coach Sfairopoulos noticed that Batista was the weak link and instructed his players to put the ball in the paint, resulting to a +13 lead (58-45), taking the upper hand. Panathinaikos slightly cut the lead and got in the 4th quarter trailing 64-57 but they were determined to fight until the end. The game resumed with Olympiacos keeping a safe distance that even reached the 13 points again but from that point on the “Greens” got some offensive rebounds and took advantage of the fact that their rivals seemed relaxed bringing the difference to 3 points 2 minutes before the end. The game then naturally was led to the free throw line where the home team shot better and a couple of correct choices gave them the big win to end the year 2014 with the best way possible. Spanoulis was impressive with 20 points and on the other side Mavrokefalidis achieved a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Diamantidis was not inspiring as it was expected and with 7 points did not help his team.
Panelefsiniakos- Panionios 68-70
Panionios needed that win in order to avoid relegation and they achieved it in a close game. The “Red and Blue” started the game very well catching their opponents totally off guard and with Korolev leading his team offensively they got in front 15-31 after 10’. However their amazing pace did not remain the same during the 2nd period and when Panelefsiniakos switched to zone defense, the difference was brought to 8 (38-46) at halftime.
Despite Panionios being in front throughout the 3rd quarter, it was clear that the home team would sooner or later threaten their lead. Looby was consistent in defense and was fighting alone against Panionios front line but achieved to further decrease the gap (53-59) after 30’ and even bring his team within 3 points a couple of minutes before the end. However the visitors who had the support of their fans, were patient when needed and secured a win despite Johnson’s heroics at the end. Korolev scored 19 and grabbed 11 rebounds but the big surprise was Coleman who scored 12 and managed to collect 13 boards. Looby had 12 for the defeated team.
A.E.N.Kifissias- K.A.O.Dramas 78-79
Huge win on the road and in a difficult home ground for KAOD despite the efforts of Duvnjak and Davis for AENK. The visitors seemed stressed at the beginning of the game and despite their decent offensive game, the lack of communication allowed AENK to take a small lead (21-18) at the end of the 1st period. Davis had already scored 11 in the opening quarter so when KAOD successfully closed him down, things became easier. The two teams got in the locker rooms with the score being even (35-35) with the visitors being dominant.
The start of the second half was the key point of the game since the visitors defended very well, forcing their opponents to many turnovers and bad offensive choices. Papamakarios scored some easy points that gave his team a 10 point lead (46-56) after 30 minutes of basketball. In a surprising move, coach Papatheodorou got in the closing quarter with a very offensive line-up and used full-court pressure. Furthermore, some big shots from behind the arc brought the home team back in the game and the momentum of the game changed again in favour of the home side. It was the time for Papamakarios to use his experience and quality and score 9 consecutive points giving his team the big win that was the second in-a-row. Odom scored 20 for the winners but the Greek playmaker was the MVP with 18 points and from the opposing team Davis had 17.
Apollon Patras- Koroivos Amaliadas 77-72 OT (65-65)
In a game that literally had it all, Apollon defeated Koroivos in extra time and recorded their 5th win this season. The home team seemed to be in charge from early on and with great offensive rhythm combined with tight defense, ended the 1st period in front 21-9. It was now Koroivos turn to force their opponents to a bad quarter and despite being away from home, they managed to turn things around, had a 3-13 run and got back in the game 29-22 right before half time.
The 3rd period had a better pace and it was Apollon who had the upper hand since they managed to find some good shots from behind the three point line. Koroivos faced big problems on defense but some big shots during the last minute allowed them to have a chance (51-41 after 30’). The home team was very close to the win but the visitors had an impressive 9-0 run within the last minute sending the game to extra time. Most of the times, the team that comes from behind has the upper hand in overtime but Apollon players seemed to know that and with focused defense and good ball movement that led to easy points they got the win. The game was almost completed when Garrett started a brawl that almost ruined it but the calmer players prevented it from being a disaster. El- Amin scored 20 points for the winners and Davis had 28 for Koroivos.
Aris- A.O. Trikala 91-60
Aris spent an easy evening at home against Trikala that was powerless to resist their opponent’s offensive crescendo. Aris set up a very quick pace and with some fastbreak points and open shots got in front 25-13 after 10 minutes, but they did not slow down at all, forcing Trikala to follow despite their attempts to play a slower and more organized game. The visitors did not lose control until half time (44-30) but of course they were not a threat.
Vezenkov kept on scoring at will and when he was locked down Pasalic was the one to shine securing the win after 3 quarters, 70-44. Aris finally slowed down the rhythm but the visitors had given up and as a result the closing quarter did not have much to offer. Vezenkov scored 24 points for Aris and Marios Matalon scored 11 for Trikala.
Kolossos Rhodes- P.A.O.K. 67-69
Kolossos had the chance to get a big win but failed twice, allowing PAOK to escape Venetokleio. The home team was very anxious during the first 5 minutes and that allowed PAOK to get in front (19-24) but when they got in the game, achieved to reach “Dikefalos” and even overtake. The halftime found both teams having 39 points.
Tsamis was leading Kolossos offensively but it was the rotation the Rhodians had that allowed them to play strong defense throughout the second half. The visitors could not find open shots but they responded with the same way, by defending hard. After 30 minutes the game was still very close, 58-57, and that did not change after the start of the closing quarter. Less than one minute before the end and with the two teams exchanging the lead, PAOK got in front for 4 points, Haggins scored on the fast break but after Larentzakis missed a 3-pointer, Haggins got the rebound but he missed both free throws he earned, wasting a huge opportunity. Odum scored 16 for PAOK and with 5 rebs and 5 assists was the MVP, while Tsamis had 18 for Kolossos. For the lovers of statistics, before the game PAOK had only one win on the road against Kolossos in 8 games, managing to break the curse in the end of today’s game.
A.E.K.- A.G.O.Rethimno 85-77
Mensah-Bonsu was in Athens only for 24 hours as he signed for AEK but that did not stop the Englishman from showing his skills against AGOR. His presence inside the paint made the big different in the opening quarter and alongside English they led AEK and gave them a lead 27-17. The home team was unstoppable doing whatever they wanted to their opponents who were in bad shape defensively. The half ended with Mensah-Bonsu having 15 points and 9 rebounds while his team was in total control, 50-36.
In the second half AEK did not play in such a high pace but with Simpson playing below average for the Cretans, the gap was in double digits throughout. After 30’ the visitors were trailing 66-55. They managed to run a 0-7 run but Mensah-Bonsu was there when his team needed him and gave his team the win with an amazing performance which crowned him MVP of the match with 23 points and 15 rebounds. For AGOR Allen scored 15 and 5 rebounds.