In an intense and physical Athens derby, Olympiacos Piraeus grabbed its sixth win in its last seven Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games by downing archrival Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens 77-69 in front of a sellout crowd at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday. Olympiacos improved to 11-5, while Panathinaikos dropped to 9-7. The Reds won both games against Panathinaikos, giving it the tie-break advantage if needed. Ioannis Papapetrou led the winners with 13 points, Vassilis Spanoulis scored 12, Khem Birch 11 and Erick Green had 10 for Olympiacos. Mike James led Panathinaikos with 24 points and K.C. Rivers added 23 for the Greens. James and Rivers combined for 40 of Panathinaikos’s 50 points through three quarters. Olympiacos outrebounded Panathinaikos by 34-27 and limited Panathinaikos to poor shooting percentages – 44.2% from two-point range and 36.8% from downtown. Olympiacos had 16 assists and Panathinaikos only dished 9.Nick Calathes got Panathinaikos going with back-to-back layups in a very physical start of the game. Consecutive baskets by Birch gave Olympiacos its first lead, 7-5. Birch kept the momentum going with a put-back layup and another close basket. He got help from Spanoulis and Papapetrou to make it an 8-point game. James hit a jumper and added a big chase-down block and a couple of free throws to make it 17-11 after 10 minutes. Nikola Milutinov shined with an alley-oop layup early in the second quarter. James stepped up with a put-back layup and Rivers singlehandedly brought Panathinaikos within 21-18. Rivers struck from downtown and added a jumper to cause Olympiacos to call timeout at 24-23. Kostas Papanikolaou followed a layup-plus-foul with a triple and an outstanding Patric Young kept Olympiacos ahead, 34-28. James and Rivers kept pushing Panathinaikos, keeping the visitors within 38-37 at halftime. Rivers scored in the low post as Panathinaikos regained the lead, 38-39, early in the second quarter. Georgios Printezis and Spanoulis stepped up for Olympiacos, but a three-pointer by James kept his team in charge, 43-46. James nailed a step-back jumper before free throws by Lojeski and a three-pointer by Papapetrou ignited the crowd at 50-48. Lojeski hit a floater off the baseline and Green buried a triple for a 55-50 Olympiacos lead after 30 minutes. Green took over early in the fourth quarter and a three-pointer by Dominic Waters made it a double-digit game, 64-53, with less than seven minutes left. James and Rivers got help from James Feldeine, whose fast break slam causedc Olympiacos to call timeout at 65-59. Singleton hit a triple, but Papapetrou struck twice from downtown and added a wild coast-to-coast slam for a 73-64 advantage. A layup by Spanoulis sealed the outcome as Panathinaikos could not recover in crunch time. Source: EuroleagueTweetPinShare0 Shares
Liga MX Clasico Nacional lacks luster with leader America facing subpar Chivas Jon Arnold Click here to see more stories from this author @ArnoldcommaJon 01:20 3/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Liga MX América Guadalajara v América Guadalajara The pull of the rivalry match isn’t as strong as usual with an upset in Guadalajara feeling increasingly unlikely The Clasico Nacional is generally the most important match of the season in Mexico. With huge numbers of fans supporting both Chivas and Club America, the country’s eyes turn to the matchup long before the players actually take the field.Ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Estadio Chivas, however, things have been muted. It turns out that no matter how much history a game has, it’s pretty tough to get excited about the league’s undefeated, table-topping team traveling to play the penultimate team in the league.To be fair, Chivas are on a bit of an uptick in form. In addition to moving on in the CONCACAF Champions League thanks to a pair of painless wins over Dominican club Cibao FC, they’ve also earned a point in each of their last three Liga MX matches. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The most exciting moment leading up to Saturday’s game, though, was an Oribe Peralta news conference. Plenty of outlets ran with the quotes as though the America forward was “heating up” the rivalry or pouring fuel onto an already smouldering fire. In reality, Peralta was simply speaking candidly about Saturday’s game.”America right now is much higher than Chivas. They have the hope of winning the Clasico to save their tournaent,” he said Thursday at a news conference. “We’ve kept a good pace in the whole of the tournament and we hope to keep doing things like that until the end and to be able to win the title. That’s what we’re aspiring to, not winning the Clasico.”It’s tough to rouse up any sort of emotion about Peralta’s statements. He’s just telling the truth. Chivas sit in the penultimate place in the table, but a win would delight fans. It also, not insignificantly, would put Chivas onto 10 points. That’s still likely six out of the playoff places depending on the rest of the weekend’s results but would give the team a starting point to begin chipping away at the gap.How did this happen? Why did a Chivas team that lifted the trophy in May suddenly become pitiful? Start with the lack of changes in the transfer window. Even when manager Matias Almeyda’s team were champions, there were noticeable issues in the team. With its Mexicans-only policy, the options to replace during the offseason are severely limited. Still, Almeyda wanted the club to sign three senior players this winter and instead saw the arrival of a few promising youth players and got goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota back.America had a better tournament than Chivas did in the Apertura and still went out to spend. The arrivals of Emanuel Aguilera in defense, Jeremy Menez and Henry Martin in attack, and Andres Ibarguen on the wing have made Miguel Herrera’s side stronger. The forwards have drawn the attention, but it’s Aguilera who has anchored a unit that has conceded only six times in nine games.It’s worth noting that Chivas tried to bring in Martin – and that America left back Carlos Vargas also is Mexican and was available on the market after Chivas’ title win. Vargas had played center back – a position of need for Chivas. It’s not like Chivas have a terrible lineup, though. Players at all ranks from goalkeeper to forward have experience with the national team. Center back Oswaldo Alanis is bound for Europe (though he missed most of the preseason because of the club’s hubris in a contract dispute), and midfielder Orbelin Pineda should soon follow. Up top, Angel Zaldivar has been missed but Alan Pulido has shown he can be a top-level Liga MX striker and the young attackers around him have plenty of potential.But it hasn’t come together for Chivas this tournament. It didn’t in the last one either. That makes a match that generally is must-see TV something much less exciting (must-DVR?). Even the die-hards are struggling to get up for this one. While America was welcomed to its hotel in Guadalajara by more than 100 singing fans, Chivas’ night before was far more restrained. A handful of supporters showed up to the hotel the team stays before matches, but nothing like what we’ve seen in the past.Should Chivas pull an upset all the quiet build-up will fade away in the wall of sound that is Guadalajara fans finally having something to celebrate. Otherwise, the post-match analysis will fade away among the din of those celebrating America’s strong start.