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Panathinaikos, Aris win again November 9, 2007

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Both lead Euroleague Basketball groups unbeaten > Panathinaikos’s Andrija Zizic battled at Partizan Belgrade Wednesday. The Euro Champions held on for a 94-90 win to co-lead Group C with Real Madrid.

European Champions Panathinaikos and Aris both overcame tough challenges Wednesday night to remain unbeaten in the Euroleague after three rounds of play. Panathinaikos, whose squad needed to recover from an irritating travel ordeal that caused them to take about six hours to journey from Athens to Belgrade as a result of bad weather, held on for a 94-90 win at Partizan Belgrade in a Group C game. Thessaloniki team Aris responded to a seven-point deficit going into the final quarter to defeat visiting Cibona 77-73 in Group B.

Both clubs share the leads in their groups. Aris is Group B’s joint leader with Lietuvos Rytas and Panathinaikos shares Group C’s lead with Real Madrid. “It was a great game. At the end, we were lucky to win after we missed making the win much easier,” said Panathinaikos coach Zelimir Obradovic.

Panathinaikos’s Dimitris Diamantidis made two clutch free-throws at the end and Novica Velickovic missed a potentially game-winning three-pointer. Aris staged a final-quarter comeback, out-scoring Zagreb side Cibona 23-12, for its 77-73 home win. Jeremiah Massey was in superb form for a 28-point performance.

Late last night, Greece’s other Euroleague representative, Olympiakos, was at home to Virtus Bologna in Group A. Both teams went into the game with 1-1 records.

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Late scare from German underdog November 3, 2007

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Panathinaikos defeats Bamberg 66-61

panathinaikos_bamberg.jpg  Panathinaikos’s Vassilis Spanoulis (center) against Bamberg, which threatened the Athens club late in Wednesday’s Euroleague game.

Defending Champion Panathinaikos held off a challenge from German basketball team Brose Baskets Bamberg late Wednesday night to win its second of as many matches in the Euroleague’s Group C.

Playing at home, the Athens club maintained control despite a late rush from the visitors for a 66-61 win. Panathinaikos, top in the group ahead of Partizan Igokea on point difference, led throughout the game and took an 11-point lead in the final quarter, but the German team rebounded to reduce it to just one point in the final minute of play. “Once again, what matters the most is the fact that we won the game,” said Panathinaikos forward Dimos Dikoudis. “There is no doubt that we can and should improve our performance but it’s still too early… Things will get better. Our goal is to finish on top of the group,” he continued.

Sarunas Jasikevicius led the scoring for Panathinaikos with 11 points, while Dikoudis and Dimitris Diamantidis added eight points apiece. The Germans felt they could have caused an upset against the reigning European Champions. “I’m disappointed that we didn’t win the game, but I’m happy about our performance,” said Bamberg coach Dirk Bauermann.

Greece’s two other Euroleague representatives, Aris and Olympiakos, were to play their second round games last night. Aris, on a 1-0 record in Group B, was due to play at Le Mans, looking for its first win. Olympiakos, also triumphant in the opening round, was scheduled to meet Union Olimpija away in Group A.

Wins for both PAO and Aris October 25, 2007

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European Champions Panathinaikos began the new Euroleague season with a close 86-83 win over visiting Lottomatica Roma in a Group C game after overcoming a subdued start and surviving a tight finale.

At home, Thessaloniki team Aris defeated Spain’s Unicaja 87-83.

Olympiakos, Greece’s other Euroleague contestant, begins its quest tonight at home against Tau Ceramica. The pair met in the quarterfinal playoffs last season with Tau beating Olympiakos 2-1 to advance to the Final Four.

The Piraeus team’s squad, featuring 11 new faces, is still working to find its rhythm, said coach Pini Gershon, who will be without Panos Vassilopoulos, injured, and the overweight Sofoklis Schortsianitis, still battling to shed kilos.

Basketball is a different game across the Atlantic October 16, 2007

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Panathinaikos had trouble adjusting to NBA rules on US tour

panathinaikos_basketball.jpg  Dimitris Diamantidis (center) of Panathinaikos splits the San Antonio Spurs’ defense during last Saturday’s exhibition game in San Antonio, Texas. The reigning Greek and European Champion begins the new season this Saturday as host to AGO Rethymnos in Greece’s A1 league.

Panathinaikos, the reigning European and Greek basketball Champion, ended its short two-match pre-season tour of the USA with a 113-91 defeat against the current NBA title holder San Antonio Spurs, a slight improvement from the Athens club’s 107-70 loss against the Houston Rockets a couple of nights earlier.

The Greek team’s two-game expedition against NBA competition once again highlighted the differences between basketball regulations in the USA and Europe.

Caught off guard by the NBA regulations, which applied to the two games played by Panathinakios, the Greek club’s coach Zelimir Obradovic’s temper erupted on numerous occasions throughout his team’s opening encounter in Houston.

With every illegal-defense whistle, Obradovic, widely regarded as the most successful coach in European basketball with six Euroleague titles to his credit, three of them with Panathinaikos, seemed like he was on the verge of a fit as the reminders of the rules kept coming in.

The game’s officials had to repeatedly remind Obradovic that a zone-defense system was not permitted by NBA regulations. The seething Obradovic was handed two technical fouls and an ejection late in the game. Security was called into the arena to offer a stronger suggestion that he had to go.

Panathinaikos’s difficulty in adapting to the NBA’s regulations is a problem also confronted by the US team at the World Championships, where international regulations, set by FIBA, the governing body, apply.

In its second game, Panathinaikos appeared a more settled side despite its 22-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs. The Greek team enjoyed periods of impressive play at various stages of the game. Playing a little over 20 minutes, Tim Duncan scored 20 points to lead the hosts, who were up by as much as 29 points at one stage in the exhibition game.

Panathiniakos’s Sarunas Jasikevicius, who signed for the Greek team in a record deal, for local standards, last summer, co-led the Greek team with Mike Batiste. They scored 18 points apiece. Sani Becirovic scored 13 points and Milos Vujanic followed with 12.

Greece’s Panathinaikos meets the Houston Rockets October 11, 2007

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European and Greek Champs Panathinaikos take on the Houston Rockets late tonight, Greek time, in the first of two friendlies against NBA teams this week.

Currently fine-tuning preparations for the new season, which begins October 20 at home against AGO Rethymnos, the Athens basketball club will end its two-match US tour against the San Antonio Spurs Saturday. Tonight’s game will not air on Greek television. The cable TV network Fox Sports Net has acquired the broadcasting rights for the US market.

Greek basketball star Giorgos Sigalas retires October 2, 2007

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Greek basketball star Giorgos Sigalas, an emblematic figure in the sport’s resurgence here during the 90s, announced his retirement at a news conference in Athens yesterday.

Sigalas, 36, who represented the Greek team 185 times, played in six consecutive Eurobasket tournaments betwen 1993 and 2003. He won five consecutive Greek league titles with Olympiakos, beginning in 1993, as well as league-and-cup titles in 1993 and 1997, the year when the club was also crowned European Champion. Other clubs in his career included Stefanel Milano, Aris, PAOK, Granada, Regio Calabria, Makedonikos and Panionios.

Cyprus to host International Basketball tournament September 29, 2007

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The coastal town of Limassol will host the 2nd Interwetten International Basketball Tournament between 3rd and 7th of October, with the participation of some of Europe’s top clubs, such as Euroleague and Greek Champions Panathinaikos, Israel’s Cup winner Hapoel Jerusalem and Cyprus’ multi champion, AEL.

On October 3 Panathinaikos, with Lithuanian super-star Sarunas Jasikevicious in its roster, will take on AEL and on October 4 Panathinaikos will play against Greek team, AEK.

On Friday, October 5, Haopel will take on Panathinaikos and AEL will clash with AEK. AEK and Hapoel meet on Saturday, October 6. The tournament wraps up with the match between AEL and Hapoel on Sunday, October 7. The matches will take place at the Spyros Kyprianou Sports Centre.