Greece and Spain held their respective home courts as they split their two-game series held last August 9 and 11.
Preparing for the 2022 FIBA EuroBasket, the highly-anticipated series between the ninth-ranked side and the reigning World Champions lived up to the hype as the pair of games featured NBA superstars and were sold out on short notice.
Giannis dominates as Greece blew out Spain in Athens
In the first game at the OAKA in Athens, the Greeks beat down the Spaniards for a 86-70 win, with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo compiling a double-double in the much shorter international game. (FIBA basketball is played in 10-minute quarters, compared to the NBA which has 12-minute quarters)
The Greek Freak set his career-best with the national team, scoring 31 points on an 11/13 shooting from the field, hauled down 10 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists in just 20 minutes and 33 seconds of basketball action.
Dallas’ new signing Tyler Dorsey was the other player for coach Dimitris Itoudis, with the guard adding 11 markers.
Greece dominated the game from the opening tip, leading by as much as 21 points in the second period for a wire-to-wire win, as it withstood a third-quarter uprising by the visitors.
The defining moment came with 6:38 remaining in the fourth and final quarter when former Houston Rocket Kostas Papanikolaou picked off Yankuba Sima’s pass intended for Jaime Pradilla that launched a fast-break and lobbed the ball to Giannis who threw down a two-handed hammer that sent the 15,000-strong crowd at the OAKA on its feet.
New Orleans’ Willy Hernangomez had 15 to lead the Spanish side of coach Sergio Scariolo.
Hernangomez brothers shine as Spain gets back at Greece in Madrid
Two days later, it was the Spaniards who hold their home court at the WiZink Center, as they repulse the Greeks in an 87-80 result.
After a lethargic showing in the Greek capital, the hosts this time have exacted revenge over their visitors, who had opted to rest Giannis for this game, with the Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer in attendance.
Greece made a good account of themselves where they went toe-to-toe in the first three quarters. However, that was not enough as Spain took control in the pay-off period to come up with a win.
The Hernangomez Brothers put up respective double-doubles, with Willy leading the charge with 23 points (of 6/13 shooting) and 10 rebounds, as Toronto’s Juancho added 10 markers and 10 boards of his own. Valencia’s Jaime Pradilla had 12 points.
Dimitrios Agravanis led Greece with 24 points, but the absence of Giannis was too much to bear for the visitors.