Panathinaikos lost their perfect record in the Top 16 of the Euroleague with a defeat at Partizan Belgrade but remain top of their group. The Greens lost 63-56 in Serbia but are still in with a chance of finishing first. Olympiakos secured their spot in the top eight with a tight home win over Milano, 84-81.
Partizan Belgrade 63
Despite an even opening half, Partizan took an unassailable lead towards the end of the third quarter. Spurred on by a record home crowd of just over 22,500 fans, turned up the pressure and went on a 10-0 run.
Panathinaikos closed the gap in the final period but it proved too little to late.
Dimitris Diamantidis did his best to carry Panathinaikos to victory with a career-high 21 points plus 5 rebounds and 4 steals. Antonis Fotsis and Nikola Pekovic added 10 each but the Partizan defence shut out Mike Batiste who failed to score.
“My team was really bad on offence,” admitted PAO coach Zelimir Obradovic.
“I think the worst in this season so far. We did not manage to stop Partizan’s fast breaks and we had too many missed shots. Maybe my players are tired.”
Panathinaikos’ first loss of the Top 16 coupled with the fourth straight win for Partizan sees the two sides tied for first place in the group at 4-1. Panathinaikos will win the group if they beat Unicaja at home this week or it Partizan lose at Lottomatica Roma.
Armanis Jeans Milano 81
Olympiakos are through to the last eight of the Euroleague after a tight win over Armani Jeans Milano. The reds won the game at the Peace and Friendship Stadium 84-81 and now have the chance of grabbing first place in Group E. Milano proved a tough opponent and it was not until the final three minutes that Olympiakos were able to build a match-winning lead.
Nikola Vujcic led the scoring with 27 points, while Yiannis Bourousis added 20 points and 14 rebounds. Yotam Halperin also notched up 10 points for the winners.
“We didn’t expect to have such a difficult night,” said Vujcic. “We started the game as planned and hurt the visitors’ defence but we lost some rebounds and weren’t concentrated at times.
“Anyway, we finally did what we had to do; we won, end of story.”
Olympiakos improved their record to 4-1 and, by eliminating Milano, joined fellow leaders Tau Ceramica in taking Group E’s two playoff spots.
Olympiakos go to Tau this week for a match that will decide first place, which comes with home court advantage in the playoffs.