In what is described as one of the most spectacular games in the history of the Basket League finals series, Panathinaikos beat Olympiakos in Piraus, inflicting an 83 – 81 victory.
Both teams of the “eternal rivals” were in top form, but Panathinaikos managed to snatch home advantage from its rival since the first minutes of the game, stretching it to 12 points in the first half (31-39). Olympiakos managed to come back in the third period, briefly taking a narrow lead (56-55), but the Panathinaikos defense proved to be unbreakable, much to the dismay of Olympiakos captain Vassilis Spanoulis.
The greens also prevailed in rebounds, which made for a very energetic and fast-paced game. Nick Calathes had 16 points and nine assists to lead Panathinaikos to victory, but the game’s top scorer was Olympiakos’s Matt Lojeski with 21 points.
This has been Olympiakos’ first home loss in the league in two years and the team is set play for revenge on Sunday, when they visit Panathinaikos for Game 2 at the Olympic Sports Center in Athens. Until then the Greens lead 1-0 in the best-of-five finals.
In the battle for the third place, AEK also upset host Aris, winning Game 1 of their best-of-five series 77-67 on Wednesday in Thessaloniki.