What in the name of Naismith is going on in Greek basketball? Will Olympiacos and Panathinaikos ever again meet without players having to fear mortal injury? In the first game between the Greek superpowers since last season’s capper known as “The Night of Shame,” Olympiacos ground out a 65-61 win in territory literally made hostile with the final whistle as fire flew at the Reds from high in the stands.
With the win, Olympiacos seizes first place in the EΣAKE standings in a huge momentum shifter; the Reds are now just one of two Greek A1 sides undefeated at home.
BallinEurope could go into more detail about this game, like how Rasho Nesterovic’s deadly shooting led the Reds to the victory with 17 points or about how Vassilis Spanoulis nearly counteracted his awful shooting – a woeful 1-of-9 overall – with his six assists, most to Rasho, in his much ballyhooed return to his former stomping grounds. Or BiE could marvel at a nice defensive battle in the good old Eurostyle couple with a chess match between coaches that saw 23 of 24 players getting at least six minutes of court time.
But why bother? In the end, it seems, some silly hoops hooligans have eclipsed individual performances, neutralized the news and reduced Olympiacos’ feat in the biggest European game this season to a single W for which its players almost paid with their bodies.
After the Night of Shame, EΣAKE officials beat down Olympiacos financially in punishment for poor security and fan misbehavior. BiE expects Panathinaikos to receive some reprimand for this aerial assault; unfortunately, it seems, little good can come of fines. Olympiacos started the season playing before empty houses and look where they are today … d’you think PAO can take the hundred-thousand euro hits?
A fascinating compilation of game highlights, replete with appropriately angry rap, put together by the brilliant folks at Sport.gr follows. The insanity begins at about 5:20.