After a great game by Lazaros Papadopoulos (210-C-80) and Donnie McGrath (193-G-84, college: Providence), PAOK succeed a heroic victory over Olympiakos, the first defeat for the European Champions in the Greek league since last May (the 4th game of the play-offs, against Panathinaikos) and gave a new interest in the competition. In a derby game PAOK who played without the American Hatcher who got injured and separated from the Thessaloniki team, was aggressive from the beginning since the first five personal points by the veteran Kostas Haralampidis (189-PG-76) gave a 7-2 lead to the Thessaloniki team in the first 2 minutes while Olympiakos reacted and with three 3pointers on the row, from Vassilis Spanoulis (193-G-82, agency: Beo Basket), Mantzaris and Papanikolaou gave a lead to the reds with less than 6 minutes to go, with 7-11. PAOK reacted and showed to the Euro champions that their solid performance against Panathinaikos a week ago and the defeat in the details was not just a coincidence. With Lazaros Papadopoulos dominating in both edges of the court and actually sending to the red bench very early (less than 2 minutes) the young and not so experienced Giorgi Shermadini (216-C-89), he created an early problem in the front line of Coach Bartzokas since the repalcement of the Georgian giant, Kyle Hines (198-F-86) was not exactly a problem for Lazaros. The first period ended with Olympiakos leading by one point but the reds lost their best defender since Manzaris added his name in the long list of the red injuries together with Law, Mavroidis and Powel to add another headache for Bartzokas after the early fouls of Shermadini.
On the other hand, Coach Markopoulos in a role that knows very well all these years, make the best of his roster and used most of his players in a great rotation since his nearly 100% Greek team (the only exception was the Irish Donnie McGrath who remain in the game all 40 minutes due to lack of another point guard), played on an average of 20 minutes and each and every one of them had a specific role. The second period started with PAOK being more aggressive once more and with Haritopoulos in a great momentum, together with Dedas three behind the arc shots gave a lead to the home team at the end of the game with Lazaros Papadopoulos cherry on the pie receiving the third foul of Hynes and scoring the close lay-up. Half time score 39-37 and Lazos already gaining six fouls by from the two red centers (Shermadini and Hines)
the thrid period was quite balance even though PAOK initially increasing his difference to +5 (46-41) the two teams remain pointless for two minutes before a Printezis cut the deficit and Lazos answering back. Sloukas and Hines made a small series of 6-0 to balance the game to 48-48 before Dedas long shot gives a new +3 to the home team. A minute before the end, Sloukas again cuts the deficit to its minimum before a crucial three pointer by Haritopoulos and a dunk by Shermadini (his only basket in the game) ends up the great third period with PAOK leading by one point and showing to his funs that he will be there until the end.
The fourth and most crucial period started with Haritopoulos another basket to be answered by Perperoglou almost in no-time. A behind the arc three pointer by the veteran Kostas Haralampidis was followed by two free throws by Antic, while a new three pointer by Perperoglou (with the 7th assist by Vassilis Spanoulis) gave a lead for a first time after the second period, to Olympiakos by one initially and a three pointer by Vassilis Spanoulis made the score 60-64 and seem to changed the momentum of the game, six minutes to the end. Printezis and Kostas Haralampidis scored and the deficit remained the same five minutes to the end. While Vassilis Spanoulis missed the one of two free throws and the deficit now was 64-47, with less than three minutes to go. Lazaros was there once more and with his "special hook" cut the deficit to just one, 66-67 while Antic missed three pointer gave the chance to Haritopoulos to dashed down another rebound and Donnie McGrath's 5th assist, gave the chance to the MVP of the game and ex player of Olympiakos, Lazaros Papadopoulos to bring his team in the leading position with 68-67 while the momentum in PAOK's Palace was totally changed. Sloukas succeeded both his shots from the charity line to give to his team a new lead (which was the last in the game) with 68-69 but Haritopoulos was there and with an amazing goal foul reshaped the score to 71-69. Vassilis Spanoulis turnover and missed three pointer and a new turnover by Printezis in the next two offenses on the row for the reds were more than crucial since Papadopoulos scored the ready-made basket served by Kostas Haralampidis and the score became 73-69, 30 seconds to the end of the game. Sloukas missed the three pointer but Shermadini's offensive rebound gave him the chance to score two easy points from the charity line, at the same time Bartzokas received a technical foul and Donnie McGrath with the one of two free throws gave the victory to his team with the final score being 76-71 with the two free throws by Kostas Haralampidis.
The MVP title of the game could easily split in two as both Donnie McGrath and Lazaros Papadopoulos were awesome, but Eurobasket believes that the Greek international center with his total performance, his double-double 13 points, 10 rebounds, 7 winning fouls, 2 steals and three assists was a bit better than his Irish team-mate even though he was in the court for 30 minutes and not 40. Donnie McGrath scored 10 points with bad statistics but his 40 minutes in the court and his 6 assists can also characterize him as the co-man of the game.
It is worth mentioned that the front line of Olympiakos (Shermadini, Hines and Giorgakis) scored only 8 points against PAOK's defense, while and at the same time the front line for PAOK was the most productive one since Lazaros Papadopoulos, Dimitris Haritopoulos and Michalis Tsairelis scored the 36 out of 76 points for their team!!
Panathinaikos sign coach Xavier Pascual, ex FC Barcelona - 1 day ago
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Panathinaikos Athens (A1) signed 44-year old Spaniard coach Xavier Pascual. He has coached for the last eleven seasons at FC Barcelona in Spanish Liga Endesa. Pascual helped them to win the Supercup and make to league final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Spanish ACB Coach of the Year back in 2012 [read more]
Panathinaikos Athens (A1) signed 44-year old Spaniard coach Xavier Pascual to a three-year deal. He has coached for the last eleven seasons at FC Barcelona in Spanish Liga Endesa. Pascual helped them to win the Supercup and make to league final. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Spanish ACB Coach of the Year back in 2012. Pascual has coached also in Spain for Palma Air Europa II.
Mavrokefalidis may be back at Panathinaikos - 1 day ago
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Panathinaikos Athens (A1) is close to sign 32-year old ex-international center Loukas Mavrokefalidis (207-118kg-84) who currently played atAEK Athens. It is actually his comeback to Athens as he has played here before. In two A1 games he had just 2.5ppg, 1.0rpg and 2.0apg this season. The last season Mavrokefalidis played also at AEK Athens where in 32 A1 games he recorded 13.9ppg, 6.4rpg and 2.0apg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very impressive season as he was voted Eur... [read more]
Panathinaikos Athens (A1) is close to sign 32-year old ex-international center Loukas Mavrokefalidis (207-118kg-84) who currently played at AEK Athens. It is actually his comeback to Athens as he has played here before. In two A1 games he had just 2.5ppg, 1.0rpg and 2.0apg this season. The last season Mavrokefalidis played also at AEK Athens where in 32 A1 games he recorded 13.9ppg, 6.4rpg and 2.0apg. He helped them to make it to the semifinals. A very impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Greek A1 League Domestic Player of the Year, named to 1st Team and named to All-Domestic Players Team. Mavrokefalidis also played 9 games in Eurocup where he was the best scorer with remarkable 24.2ppg and averaged 9.7rpg (#2 in the league), 2.8apg and 1.2spg. In 2006 Mavrokefalidis was drafted by Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) in second round (57th overall). The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others his team won Greek Cup in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Mavrokefalidis was also voted Eurobasket.com All-Greek A1 League Most Improved Player of the Year back in 2011. He was also a member of Greek international program for some years. Mavrokefalidis played for Greek Senior National Team between 2010 and 2013 and previously for U21 National Team in 2005. He represented Greece at the European Championships in Slovenia three years ago. His stats at that event were 6 games: 6.2ppg, 5.0rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 51.7%, FT: 50.0%. Mavrokefalidis is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in Italy (Roma Virtus), Russia (Spartak St.Petersburg), Spain (FC Barcelona and Valencia Basket) and Greece (Olympiacos, PAOK Thessaloniki and Marousi). Mavrokefalidis could be described:
(by Vagelis Kotsifis for NBADraft.net in 2006)
Excellent feel for the center position ... A good rebounder and great moves around the basket ... Can play back to the rim or facing the basket with the same efficiency ...
Lacks great athletic ability ... Not a huge leaper or tremendous foot speed ...
EuroLeague: Olympiacos cruise past Anadolu Efes - 2 days ago
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Olympiacos - Anadolu Efes 90:66 Olympiacos recorded the first victory in EuroLeague regular season. They topped visiting Anadolu Efes in Piraeus. Vassilis Spanoulis (193-SG-82, agency: BeoBasket) notched 17 points and 9 assists for the winners. Olympiacos unloaded 28 points in the first term to surge ahead. They secured a 12-point lead after ten minutes. Anadolu Efes cut the deficit in the second term. They pulled within 8 points at the big break 33:41. Olympiacos sank 21 points in the... [read more]
Olympiacos - Anadolu Efes 90:66
Olympiacos recorded the first victory in EuroLeague regular season. They topped visiting Anadolu Efes in Piraeus. Vassilis Spanoulis (193-SG-82, agency: BeoBasket) notched 17 points and 9 assists for the winners. Olympiacos unloaded 28 points in the first term to surge ahead. They secured a 12-point lead after ten minutes. Anadolu Efes cut the deficit in the second term. They pulled within 8 points at the big break 33:41. Olympiacos sank 21 points in the third quarter to regain the initiative. They entered the fourth term up by 9 points 62:53. Olympiacos unloaded 28 points in the fourth stanza and rallied to the win. Georgios Printezis (204-PF-85, agency: Octagon Europe) delivered 15 points, while Matt Lojeski (198-G-85, college: Hawaii, agency: Pensack Sports) added 14 points for the hosts. Cedi Osman (204-F-95) responded with 22 points for Anadolu Efes. Derrick Brown (203-F-87, college: Xavier) and DeShaun Thomas (201-F-91, college: Ohio St.) chipped in 10 points each in the loss.
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