Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus is now just one game away from of its first Greek League title in 15 years following victory over arch rival Panathinaikos 84-72 in Game 3 of the best-of-five finals. A 16-2 run across the final two quarters restored a clear advantage for Olympiacos that was enough to see them secure a 2-1 lead in the series.
Panathinaikos won the last three finals series 3-1 and it is a rare occurrence for the Greens to find themselves trailing at this stage. Game 4 will be staged on Wednesday at OAKA, the home court of Panathinaikos. Olympiacos led from start to finish at Peace and Friendship Stadium with their Final Four heroes Georgios Printezis and Vassilis Spanoulis scoring 16 and 15 points respectively. Marko Keselj scored all 10 of his in the game's opening few minutes. The Reds showed the kind of versatility that gave them their breathtaking win in the Euroleague Final Four with 8 different shooters contributing to 11-for-22 three-point shooting. This included 2 strikes each by Printezis, Kostas Papanikolaou and Martynas Gecevicius.
With Keselj scoring 10 points, the Reds soon held a promising 12-3 lead and took their first double-digit advantage at 17-6 on a Pero Antic three-pointer. By the end of the first quarter they led 29-18, as Joey Dorsey hit 2 free throws. The advantage was quickly extended to 15 points, 37-22, midway through the second quarter on a triple by Printezis. The gap grew to 20 points before Dimitris Diamantidis scored the last basket before halftime to give Panathinaikos a glimmer of hope, still trailing badly at 53-35.
Panathinaikos came out strong on defense in the third quarter, restricting the Reds to 4 points in more than 6 minutes of play. At the same time, the Greens got points from 5 different players in a 4-14 run that gradually reduced the deficit to just eight points at 57-49. However, in the last 3 minutes of the third quarter Olympiacos powered clear again with a 12-2 blast sparked by three-pointers from Printezis and Papanikolaou. When the Reds grabbed the opening 4 points of the final quarter, their lead was back to a comfortable 22 points at 73-51. Olympiacos closed down defensively, holding Panathinaikos to a single field goal in 6 minutes that crossed the final quarters.
Despite Panathinaikos’ best efforts, they could not get back into the game and the Reds edged to within one victory of ending the dominance of the Greens in recent seasons. Olympiacos are clearly going to be a force to be reckoned with next season when they attempt to defend their Euroleague title. You can reserve your tickets now with Ticket2Final.com!