The first step towards the title…

It is said that the first game of the play-offs finals is the most important for the team with the home court advantage. Olympiacos surpassed that first obstacle and is now two victories away from becoming the champion.

It is said that the first game of the play-offs finals is the most important for the team with the home court advantage. Olympiacos surpassed that first obstacle and is now two victories away from becoming the champion.

The “reds” under Dusan Ivkovic, with the help of 12,000 fans, played with energy and passion against Panathinaikos and thanks to the amazing Kostas Papanikolaou and also the great performances by Hines and Printezis, reached an 84-78 victory.

The guests began the game with more concentration and controlled the rhythm in the first quarter. However, Ivkovic shuffled the deck and slowly balance was regained due the excellent defense of his players in the second quarter.

Olympiacos went to the locker rooms with a plus eight lead and with the beginning of the second half the lead spread to 11 points and it could have even been 13 if Spanoulis hadn’t missed two free throws. The overall bad shooting percentages of the ‘reds” from the ‘charity line’ (20/36), did not allow them to broaden the lead even further and avoid feeling pressure.

The European Champions seemed to have complete control up to 25’, but a 9-0 streak by Panathinaikos brought the upset. The ‘greens’ closed 49-47, but that was it. Papanikolaou and Printezis restored order, while Martynas Gecevicius contributed as well in the fourth quarter to seal the first victory of the series.

The quarters: 15-20, 41-33, 58-52, 84-78
Olympiacos (Ivkovic): Hines 13, Antic 9(1), Spanoulis 9(1), Dorsey 3, Κeselj 2, Papadopoulos, Gecevicius 11(3), Printezis 18(1), Papanikolaou 16(2), Μantzaris 2, Sloukas 1, Κatsivelis .
Panathinaikos (Obradovic): Μaric, Perperoglou 12, Batiste 10, Sato 3, Τsartsaris 3(1), Diamantides 15(3), Vougioukas 20, Calathes 7, Smith, Kaimakoglou 4, Jasikevicius 4.

DUSAN IVKOVIC:  The first game, at least for me, is extremely important. Panathinaikos is a good opponent, we respect them and we deserved to win. There was a tough, strong game with many details. We are two teams that have already played four games against one another. The game was decided by details. We began with a lot of pressure. It wasn’t such a big surprise that Sato put so much pressure on Mantzaris. We made seven turnovers and only gave one assist in the first quarter… we turned the game in the second quarter playing team basketball and despite missing 16 free throws, something that’s a huge problem, we managed to prevail. The difference could have been larger, but in these games, what’s important is the final score and not the difference. We played as a team and got points from Gecevicius who did not play at all in the Final Four. Hines and Printezis were very good.

I want to wish a happy name day to everyone named Kostas and Helen and to all the players of Olympiacos and Panathinaikos that celebrate their name day today. I would like however to especially mention Kostas Papanikolaou who has been playing very good basketball for many games in a row. We were talking and I told him ‘my friend, you have grown up’. We worked on his psychology and he has become a player to come from the bench and offer substantial solutions. This is something that does not happen every day, nor is usual. I’m very happy with him and I want to stress that.

Law’s absence is difficult for us, but we found rhythm. He has already started to shoot at practice and it’s very likely that he plays on Thursday.

ΚYLE HINES:  We won a good team game. We made the first step in achieving our goal. We knew it was very important to exploit the home court advantage. It’s very important in this series. We had good rhythm from the beginning. We cannot rejoice neither relax, because we have a very tough game on Thursday. We have to forget  what happened tomorrow at practice and focus on the next game.

KOSTAS PAPANIKOLAOU:  It was just the first step. Both teams played very strong. Defense has been the key for us, since we managed to run a lot of fast breaks. That gave us enough boost to achieve victory.
We all played tonight to win. What this team has been doing the whole season is to fight. Tonight everything went well. We are not going to change anything for the game in OAKA. We are going there with the same will to fight and get the victory that will give us plenty of an advantage in the pursuit of the title.

ΖELIMIR OBRADOVIC:  Congratulations to Olympiacos for the win. The most important game in the play-offs is the first one. Energy is also important. Olympiacos has the lead after this victory and we have to see what went wrong in order to correct it and come back strong for the Thursday game. I would like to take the opportunity and invite the Panathinaikos fans to pack the gym and support our team and only deal with basketball and show respect for Olympiacos. We only want basketball to be the main theme on Thursday and only basketball.

STRATOS PERPEROGLOU:  We lost the first game of the series, but there is still a long road to walk. We have to remain really focused to tie the series and come back here to claim a victory.

We came here to play basketball. The atmosphere has been great, we hope the same goes for OAKA and everything goes fine.


It was the end of the '30s when the Olympiacos Basketball team was founded with players form the "Ionidio" School. Great personalities of Greek basketball wore the 'red' shirt, coaches wrote history, victories came and Olympiacos played a leading role inside and outside the Greek borders.
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