A 25-11 run in the second quarter helped Olympiacos triumph over
Panathinaikos in the Greek “Clasico” (79-65).
In the first game between two American coaches, David Blatt saw
his players do everything on the floor. The hosts perfectly executed their game
plan and dominated their arch rivals.
The “Reds” took control from the opening tip (21-16) and never
looked back. Playing very well on both ends of the floor, they outscored their
opponents 25-11 in the second quarter.
Consequently, they closed the first half in front by 16 (41-25)
and retained their double-digit lead until the end (59-40).
On the other hand, the “Greens” made a really poor performance.
After the first 10 minutes, they failed to remain competitive and suffered a
heavy defeat. It was the first loss for the six-time EuroLeague champions under
coach Rick Pitino.
The game plan of the legendary coach didn’t work at all, which
led to a painful loss. The visitors could not control the tempo, while they
also missed many shots. As a result, they trailed by double digits until the
end of the game.
For their part, Olympiacos played with plenty of energy and
coach Blatt saw many of his “weapons” make the difference.
Nikola Milutinov made a monstrous double-double for the winners
(18 points, 18 rebounds, 41 in PIR). Janis Strelnieks added 18 points as well.
Giorgos Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou contributed 11 and 12 points,
Nick Calathes (13 points, seven assists) and Lukas Lekavicius
(10 points) were the only players in double figures for Panathinaikos.
Thanks to their triumph, Olympiacos improved to 10-6, whereas
Panathinaikos dropped to 7-9.
The “Reds” now have the chance to maintain a top four push. They
will play three of their next five games (Khimki, Baskonia, Barcelona) at home.
The most important thing is that the players have adapted to the playing style
of coach Blatt.
By contrast, the “Greens” are fighting for a place in the playoffs, and are in a vulnerable position. They have a very difficult schedule ahead of them. They will play only once in their home court until the end of the month (Bayern Munich, January 9).
At the same time, they will travel to Kaunas (Zalgiris),
Tel-Aviv (Maccabi) and Barcelona. Coach Pitino has to make many adjustments to
the tactics in order to turn things around. Otherwise, things may get out of
control for Panathinaikos.