By Ioannis Diamantakos
Olympiakos won its second consecutive National Cup on Sunday night, after an exciting match with Panathinaikos which ended with a score of 74-68.
Olympiakos took the lead at the beginning of the game (11-6), taking good advantage of its inside-the-paint game, and began scoring all its points from thereon. The first period ended at 17-22 in Olympiakos’ favor, because of a strong show of offence from Halperin.
Olympiakos entered strongly in the second period as well. On the other side, Panathinakos’ coach Obradovic tested many different fives and shapes but none of these plays seemed to work. Panathinaikos tried to come back by applying a zone defence that Obradovic selected and it changed the game totally. Nonetheless, Panathinaikos managed to return again and with their 8-1 series came closer at a point, three minutes before the second period ended.
Both teams entered the last period very nervously. Panathinaikos seemed to be the favourite here and with a 10-1 series began to gain a lead on its opponent, or 62-59. This only forced Olympiakos to react and claim the lead again, or 63-62. Following this, a three-point shot from Milos Teodosic worked the score to 64-66 in favour of Olympiakos, Batiste responded with one free throw and 78 seconds before the end Bourousis scored for Olympiakos and the score was set at 65-68. At the end of this match Milos Teodosic scored two free throws and the final score was tallied at 74-68.
Just one week after its victory over Barcelona at the EruoLeague, Panathinaikos was defeated for the second straight year to Pireaus’ Olympiakos team.
Olympiakos played a good game and deserved to win its second consecutive National Cup. However, the overall opinion is that the most important victory of all has more to do with the psychological aspect of the game, since it broke the unbeaten streak of Panathinaikos which had a score of successes and a reputation for being unbeatable in Greece.
Olympiakos’ performance showed us that it was not only well prepared for the game, especially in its critical final moments, but also that it was more capable of taking the challenge.
The media boasted the performance of Teontosits, dubbing him as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the game but there is also the belief that Bourousis deserved the same recognition.
Certainly the National Championship game will be different this year judging from the match last Sunday night, but it needs to be reiterated that because Olympiakos’ has a 3-0 advantage over the big “enemy” Panathinaikos, as well as the upper hand of opening the play-off games on its own turf they probably have more chances than ever before of winning the Championship games.