Greek Basket League play-off semifinals (Game 1)

Panathinaikos- P.A.O.K. 83-58

Panathinaikos defeated PAOK harder than what the final score indicates and started the semi-final series with a win. Both teams were anxious at the beginning and the visitors did not score any points after 3 minutes in the game, but soon they returned to catch up and end the 1st period on draw, 18-18. Exactly the same thing happened during the 2nd period when PAOK again could not score but so did their opponents, allowing Bremmer to overtake 29-30. The away side got a small lead but a 6-0 run right before the end, helped Panathinaikos overtake and go to the locker rooms leading 38-35.

Maragritis was there for the visitors, keeping them within one throughout the 3rd quarter but when defense focused on him, the offensive deficit they had, was exactly what the “Greens” needed to take control of the game. At first they ended the period in front 55-49, but after the restart, they allowed only 9 points to their opponents while on offense they were on fire, scoring every way possible. Slaughter, Mavrokefalides and Jankovic were the leaders for their side during this offensive breakdown that sealed the deal for the home team. MVP was Mavrokefalides with 16p. followed by Fotsis and Jankovic with 12 each. Margaritis had 18 for the defeated team.

Olympiacos- Aris 98-53

Olympiacos stormed past Aris to get the win at the opening game of the series. The game leaned towards Olympiacos side right from the start when Sfairopoulos’ side had great pace on offense, Dunston scored 10 points while the shooting totals were 11/12 2pointers. Aris could not react and after 10’ the score was 31-12. Aris wanted to return but the home team was rolling, scoring back almost every time an Aris player tried to reduce the gap. Lojeski was leading Olympiacos with 11 points at halftime when the score was 52-25, and on the other side Aris had Vezenkov struggling to find his way to the basket.

After the break, the visitors tried to play zone defense but even that was not able to stop the raging Olympiacos side, which kept scoring on fastbreak and finding open shots, taking advantage of Aris’ turnovers and missed shots. 71-42 after 3 periods and the closing one did not offer anything new since they gave up, focusing on the next game that will take place in Thessaloniki, hoping to recover and have a chance to promote to the finals, despite being the outsiders. MVP was Dunston with 17 points while on the other side, Vezenkov reached 12 points.

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