Greek Basket League round-up (week 20)

A.G.O.Rethimno- Panelefsiniakos 85-67

Explosive start for the home side that had full control of the game on both ends, finishing the first period leading 21-8, a start that seemed to be enough to bring Panelefsiniakos down since the visitors could not recover. 43-22 was the halftime score but their downfall did not stop there and the gap reached the 27 points right after the resume of the game.

After 30’, AGOR was in charge 64-47. The closing quarter did not have much to offer and the match concluded with Council having 16 points and Simpson 15. The visitors had no chance in winning the game with 8/30 shots behind the arc and despite Mitrovic’s 19p. , they fell without resisting.

Kolossos Rhodes- Aris 78-77 e.t.  (70-70)

Within the week, ESAKE reviewed the last play of the past weekend that gave Waters the chance to shoot 3 free throws and finally win the game for his team against Apollon, and decided to give Apollon the 2 winning points as it seems the foul was made after the buzzer. However this time and in a dramatic game,  the same player went to the “charity line” and gave his team a fair win against Aris in overtime. The game was tight right from the tip-off with the opening quarter having a nice pace with both teams exchanging leads. 18-21 after 10’ with the visitors managing to stay on top mostly due to Vezenkov’s offensive efforts, concluding the half time in front 31-34.

It was time for the “Rhodians” to step up and turn things around after a couple of good defensive plays and some open shots they had, ending the 3rd period being on the driver’s seat, 51-48 but without a safe distance from the visitors that soon overtook again, managing to reach the last minute of the game holding a good 65-70 lead. At this point they seemed to be tired and without clear mind, they lost the upper hand to Kolossos who equalized and brought the game to overtime. During the extra 5 minutes of basketball the game turned out to be very physical and tough with Kolossos finally getting two free throws, one second before the end while trailing by one, Waters scored both and the game came to an end with the ecstatic home fans celebrating the win in one of the most intense matches of the season. MVP was Waters who scored 25 points and also shared 7 assists and on the other side Vezenkov had 19 points.

Koroivos Amaliadas- Panionios 83-74

Panionios put up a fight but in the end the pressure did not allow them to take the win and maintain hopes on avoiding relegation, mathematically staying out of next year’s Basket League. The “Red and Blue” started strong taking advantage of Coleman’s dominance inside the paint, to end the first quarter leading 19-22. Koroivos resisted and after an 8-0 run right after the restart of the game, took control of the match and with Rubio leading the way, they concluded the half in front 42-39.

The two sides stayed close throughout the 3rd period with Xanthopoulos and Bowers being the best players for the two teams. Panionios managed to reach the 30 minute mark having the upper hand, 58-59. Once again though the visitors could not hold on to their small lead and again Koroivos had an 8-0 run that meant to be enough for them to get a safe distance until the buzzer. Rubio scored 19 points for the winners who made a big step towards staying up and on the other side Coleman was the top scorer of the game with 20 points.

A.O.Trikala- Apollon Patras 83-70

Apollon resisted for over a half but Trikala showed they wanted the game more and finally got the win behind Ingram’s 24 points. The visitors had a very bad start that got them behind 11-3 but after improving their defense, they ended the first half in front 21-23. The good pace of the game continued during the 2nd period with the two teams emphasizing on offense with Apollon taking some small leads that were soon lost and finally the half time score was 42-42.

The start of the second half found Apollon taking a 5-point lead and maintaining it until the last minutes of the quarter when Ingram “took his gun” and contributed to a 10-0 run for his side, helping Trikala reach the 30th minute leading 66-58. The away team got in the closing quarter hoping to reduce the gap but good defense and open shots from their opponents did not allow them to become a major threat until the end of the match. Ingram was the MVP and El Amin was the top scorer for Apollon once again, this time with 21 points.

A.E.K- A.E.N.Kifissias 97-73

AEK seems to be unstoppable and after beating AENK, gets one step closer to the 4th spot of the Greek Basket League. They did not allow their opponents to even try to take the upper hand early on, since with physical defense and many fast breaks ended the first period in front 28-17. Of course AENK tried to balance things but it was a difficult task for them since Mensah-Bonsu was there alongside Sakota, to even extend the point difference by the end of the half, 55-37.

The second half did not have many things to offer because AEK slowed down a bit, yet they offered many highlights to their fans and the visitors just tried to end the game with a decent point margin. 77-51 after 3 periods while the last buzzer found AEK fans satisfied with their side, and giving a standing ovation to Pops Mensah-Bonsu who played for 26 minutes, scoring 21 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Duvnjak was all alone for the defeated team with 17 points.

K.A.O.Dramas- Panathinaikos 65-81

Panathinaikos had to recover after their Euroleague defeat within the past week and so they did, beating KAOD who did not fall without a fight. The home team did not start the game showing they are afraid of their opponents, played good and quick basketball but Slaughter’s heroics (10 points) game the “Greens” the edge 24-25. A quick pace would not help them since they were fatigued and it would be harder to follow, so they focused on defense while on offense took their time with the ball, closing the quarter in front 36-44.

Offensively the visitors had good flow with Diamantidis having 12 points and 9 asissts by 22’, while Batista and Gist followed, forcing KAOD to struggle and after 3 quarters the score was 51-62. The home team knew they had to do something in order to get back in the game and with Papamakarios leading the way, they cut the point difference to 6, 60-66 which was the smallest one until the end. Loe missed a 3-pointer right after and from then on the game went to Panathinaikos who played with quickness exploiting the defensive problems their opponents had. The end of the game found the Greek Champions escaping Drama with the win behind Diamantidis double-double (14 points and 10 assists), with Batista making most of his captain’s passes count (20p.) On the other side, Michel and Zaras had 14 points each.

P.A.O.K.- Olympiacos 72-88

Olympiacos appeared concentrated from the first minute of the derby, securing the win on the road against a tough opponent. Despite Spanoulis’ absence and the very tense atmosphere the PAOK fans had greated, Giannis Sfairopoulos’ team got a 13-point lead after one period (13-26), continuing their great offensive flow throughout the 2nd quarter, showing PAOK that they were in charge. The half time concluded with the home team trailing 34-48 with Lafayette having 19 points already.

After the break, “Dikefalos tou Vorra” wanted to get in the game strong in order to reduce the gap but they could not  reach it within single-digits and Olympiacos tightened their defense again to end the 3rd period in front 53-70. Exceot Lafayette’s minor injury 6 minutes before the end, not many things changed in the closing 10’, with the visitors reaching the 19 wins in the Greek Basket league, while Lojeski was crowned as MVP with 15 points and 7 rebounds, contributing in defense throughout the game.