Congratulations go out from BallinEurope this morning to Panathinaikos, who overcame a crowd which redefined the word “hostile” to beat rival Olympiacos, 76-69, and take the EΣAKE championship series for the eighth consecutive season.
Still incensed by numerous controversial calls going the Greens’ way in game three of the championship series, Olympiacos fans were at near riot pitch from the opening tip.
Said near-riot broke out halfway through the third quarter when the Reds called a timeout at 50-42. Various incendiary devices were thrown in the area of the Panathinaikos bench, some with amazing accuracy. See right around 2.55 of the following video for the insanity.
This resulted in a one-hour delay while order was “restored,” but the relative “calm” wouldn’t last long.
With 1.03 remaining in the fourth quarter – and the game still winnable for the home team in BiE’s opinion, the Reds only down by six – the fires went up again as referees warned the Olympiacos coaching staff of imminent forfeiture. Panathinaikos players were ultimately forced to run a gauntlet of protective riot-geared enforcers for the locker room as referees called the game and awarded PAO the victory and the championship.
The YouTube video above refers to this incident as a “night of shame for Greek basketball,” and BiE unlikely may have to agree. Add to the mix the fact that much-beloved Josh Childress is mulling over his options vis-à-vis returning to the NBA – think a guy like Childress would rather play under a wartime scenario or the gentler endearment of thousands in Atlanta?
Mike Batiste topped all scorers with 20 points to go with 11 rebounds for Panathinaikos; Vassilis Spanoulis went for 20 and 11 rebounds.