Olympiacos shrugged off both history and the Dimitris Diamantidis-Mike Batiste duo last night in taking game three of the Greek League championship series over rivals Panathinaikos, 84-72. With a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, the Reds are poised to take its first domestic league title since 1997; historians will of course note that ’97 marked Olympiacos’ last Euroleague championship until 2012 – and a string of six consecutive runner-up finishes could be broken.
The Reds got out to a 7-0 lead which expanded to 20-8 within the first quarter and ballooned to a 78-55 advantage in the fourth quarter before Olympiacos took feet off the pedal. Individually speaking, several Oly players contributed memorable performances: Euroleague heroes Vassilis Spanoulis and Giorgios Printezis were good for 31 points together while Marko Keselj added 10. Joey Dorsey grabbed eight offensive rebounds in snagging a game-high nine boards overall.
Of particular note, however, was Pero Antic. Playing an overtly physical game, Antic continuously frustrated the likes of Stratos Perperoglou, Kostas Kaimakoglou and even Ian Vougioukas when coach Obradovic called on him: These three committed 10 fouls in a combined 54 minutes of floor time, and the Greens racked up 29 PFs as a team.
The result was the freedom for Olympiacos’ shooters to jack up threes – the Reds were 11-of-22 beyond the arc on the night – and to dominate possession time. Plus, we get this classic, utterly European basketball highlight clip that demonstrates how intangibles can rule a game.
Game four will be played in Athens on Wednesday night.