Euroleague Game Review: Panathinaikos vs Olympiakos

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Pre Game

Round 1 started off with the eternal Greek derby between arch-rivals Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. It was also the first game in the Euroleague for Kostas Sloukas in a green jersey after making the highly discussed move over the summer away from Olympiacos to their cross-town rival. Both sides were missing players that usually will play rotation minutes with the hosts missing Dinos Mitoglou and Ioannis Papapetrou while Olympiacos was without Moustapha Fall and Ignas Brazdeikis. 

1st Half 

  • A close and contested first quarter with a lot of defensive pressure and intensity on both sides. Each team was making shots early and Olympiacos took a close 22-23 lead. Both offenses looked fluid and found solutions to score at a solid rate.
  • The 2nd quarter was a bit rocky as there were a lot of foul calls, especially on Olympiacos (10-5 fouls), that Pao used to make a run (13-2) and build 39-29 lead mainly due to 13 PTs from Kostas Sloukas on 4/7 shooting. 
  • After losing some control and their offensive structure, Olympiacos kept it together towards the end of the half to cut the deficit to 43-36 going into half-time. 

2nd Half & OT 

  • A 16-16 3rd quarter saw things unchanged heading into the 4th quarter at 59-52, same point difference as at half-time. Both coaches trusted their main players throughout the 2nd half and made very limited substitutions. 
  • Olympiacos started the 4th quarter on an 11-0 run to turn the game on its head. It was set to become a battle, possession by possession from here on out. 
  • The lead would shift back to Pao (66-63) and then back to back 3s by Olympiacos saw them back in front (66-69) before Marius Grigonis tied things up at 69 each with just under 3 minutes to play. 
  • Both teams had shots in the final 10 seconds to win the game with Walkup missing a 2-pointer and Sloukas a running 3 at the buzzer and the game went into overtime. 
  • Olympiacos started overtime on a 12-0 run that finally shifted the game completely in their favor. Panathinaikos managed just 4 points in overtime and the final score ended up being 78-88 for the road team. 

Keys for Olympiacos´s win 

  • A very balanced offense: 5 players scored between 14 and 17 points while as a team Olympiacos shot 54.3% on 2-pointers and 46.9% on 3s along with dishing out 20 assists. Their 3 main guards (Walkup, Williams-Goss, Canaan) had control over the game, especially in the 4th quarter and overtime and always found solutions against a good Pao defense. 
  • Defensive pressure: Olympiacos was very physical and aggressive on defense, putting a lot of pressure on the ball and constantly being in passing lanes. This created 13 steals for them and forced 19 Pao turnovers, 7 of them by Kostas Sloukas. Olympiacos used this to get out in transition where they held the advantage in fast-break points (15-4). The defense was especially outstanding in the 2nd half, allowing just 31 points and then giving up just 4 in overtime. A lot of their defensive stops led into easy points on the fast break, where Panathinaikos had problems with their transition defense.
  • 3pt shooting: Olympiacos hit 15 3-pointers on 46.9% shooting and always made a big shot when they needed one. They also made 5 3-pointers more than Pao which gave them an advantage of 15 points more created by the 3-pointer. It was once again their 3 guards who went a combined 9/22 from downtown. 

Reasons for Panathinaikos´s loss 

  • Panathinaikos played a very good game and there is not much that they can point to as they had all chances to win the game in the 4th quarter. Offensively they cooled off in the 2nd half and especially in overtime but held Olympiacos to just 74 points in regular time which is a great night on defense. 
  • The main thing to point out were their 19 turnovers which led to a lot of transition opportunities for Olympiacos and also had 3 very costly ones in the final 2 minutes of the 4th quarter that cost them additional chances to win the game before overtime.
  • The execution in the final 2 minutes of the regular time was the biggest problem where Panathinaikos took just 2 shots and couldn’t finish the game. This paired with two stretches at the start of the 4th and overtime where Olympicos went on double digit runs and Pao had trouble answering them ultimately cost them the game.