Game 3 of the Greek Finals which had it all, even a fight! Read what happened in Nea Smirni and OAKA below:
Panionios- P.A.O.K. 75-57
Panionios played as he used to for first time in the series and eventually got an easy win against PAOK. Great start for Milbourne and McCollum, bringing Panionios in front 22-12 after 10 minutes and without stopping there, they applied more defensive pressure, forcing their opponents to many mistakes and got to the half time break leading 44-21. While the two teams were heading to the locker rooms, D.J. Cooper moved towards the stands and assaulted a Panionios fan, resulting to his disqualification, and a possible punishment.
After that unfortunate event, the visitors did not find the strength needed to turn things around and sweep Panionios. Neosmirniotes had total control of the match and 10 minutes before the end they were in charge 64-40. Nothing worth to mention happened until the buzzer so Panionios got a very important win, since PAOK’s MVP D.J. Cooper most likely will not play in the remaining games, giving Panionios a slight edge for the series despite the fact that they are now trailing 2-1. Landon Milbourne was the best player in the court with 20 points.
A great win for Olympiacos who is one win away from the Greek Championship, was the result between the rival clash against Panathinaikos. 10-4 run for the “Reds” early on, which gave them the lead from the first minutes of the game. Their opponents balanced the game but the lead remained until the end of the 1st, 15-21. Panathinaikos did not imporove themselves, they commited 9 turnovers and had 9/25 shots from inside the arc, allowing Olympiacos to distance themselves 28-36 before the conclusion of the first half.
The home team appeared very improved on defense, forcing Olympiacos to a 3-minute deficit, but since they could not hit the shots on offense, they could not follow and the 40-56 score after 3 quarters was a quite fair result. Knowing they cannot give up, coach Alvertis’ players put up on a great effort during the closing quarter, taking advantage of bad Olympiacos decision to use the clock from early on, and bringing the score to 62-64. 58 seconds before the end Diamantidis wasted the chance for equalizer and Spanoulis sealed the deal, sending the series to the SEF stadium this Sunday, for a crucial game. Spanoulis scored 14 for his team, while Diamantidis had 18, once again leading his team.