first_imgATHENS – Storming back fron a 2-1 deficit, defending champion Panathinaikos wiped out arch-rival Olympiakos 82-71 on June 4 to hold on to its Greek basketball league title and bragging rights for another year.Playing at home, Panathinaikos wasn’t to be denied, shutting up its rivals, and celebrating with a wild party at the end, holding up the trophy in the Olympic Sports Hall, much to the chagrin of the defeated Reds.It was the 15th championship title for the Greens in the last 17 years. They and Olympiakos are the perennial finalists as other Greek teams, unable to match their finances, have almost no chance of reaching the top.The winners charged out hard, coming from a brief 8-4 deficit to lead 22-12 after one and jump out to a 21-point advantage, 53-32, at the half, putting Olympiakos in a hole from which it couldn’t recover.The winners shot 70 percent from the field in the first half to build the lead, and then fell back on defense to guard it in the second half. Olympiakos closed to within 14, down 70-56 at the end of three but it was too much to overcome.The host enjoyed an amazing 70 percent shooting rate in two-pointers (14/20) in the first half, building what proved to be an unassailable lead for this final of finals of the Greek league.Olympiakos tried to claw back into the game, coming within 74-68 only three minutes before the end, but Panathinaikos quickly scored five straight and held on as they traded baskets to the end.The victory was punctuated by a tremendous slam dunk from American star James “Airlines” Gist, a 6-9, 235-lb. power forward from the University of Maryland, just 20 seconds from the end. Gist, team captain Dimitris Diamantidis and Stephane Lasme led the way for the winners all series.Jonas Maciulis was the Greens’ top scorer on the night with 15 points, while Matt Lojeski poured in 17 points for Olympiakos.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

Panathinaikos Greek Hoop Champs Again

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