Caja Laboral rallied to end champs' winning streak
Caja Laboral Vitoria continued its strong run in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague with an 82-74 victory at Fernando Buesa Arena over Olympiacos Piraeus to start Group F play and snap the reigning champions’ seven-game winning streak. Maciej Lampe scored a career-high 25 points to lead Caja Laboral, which has now won four straight games. Lampe’s previous high was 19 points from November 2009 when he played for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. Brad Oleson added 15 points, Thomas Heurtal had 13 points and 7 assists and Andres Nocioni chipped in 11 points. Olympiacos, which had beaten Vitoria twice in the regular season, lost despite 18 points from Vassilis Spanoulis, 13 points from Pero Antic and 10 each from Georgios Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou.
First quarter: Spanoulis sparks Olympiacos 4-20 answer to quick Vitoria start
Olympiacos coach Georgios Bartzokas trusted the same starting five from the end of the Regular Season in Spanoulis, Josh Powell, Printezis, Papanikolaou and Evangelos Mantzaris. Caja Laboral coach Zan Tabak replaced Fernando San Emeterio with Nocioni alongside Milko Bjelica, Heurtel, Oleson and Lampe. Nocioni and Printezis swapped baskets to open the game before Oleson scored and converted a three-point play for a 9-4 Caja Laboral lead. Heurtel twice fed Lampe for inside baskets and a 13-4 lead for the hosts. Spanoulis would not let Caja Laboral get too far ahead as he converted a four-point play before Lampe pushed his first quarter total to nine points with a layup to make it 15-8. Spanoulis hit a driving layup and the foul and raced to the basket yet again to bring Olympiacos to within 15-13. Nocioni pushed the lead to 17-13 with a tip-in, but it would be the Spanish host side’s last basket for a while. Papanikolaou nailed a triple from the right corner followed by a turnaround baseline jumper by Printezis and an offensive rebound putback by Kyle Hines. Two Martynas Gecevicius foul shots and a Printezis score completed the 0-11 run for a 17-24 Olympiacos lead. Nocioni did a good job ending the quarter on a high note for Caja Laboral with a buzzer-beating lay-up to end a 2:50 minute scoring drought to keep the hosts within 19-24 after one quarter.
Second quarter: Heurtel steps up game to bring Caja Laboral into game
Antic started the second quarter with a three-ball and Acie Law’s tough layup and free throw pushed Olympiacos’ lead to 19-30. Tibor Pleiss’s free throw got Vitoria on the scoreboard with Nocioni’s inside score cutting the deficit to 22-30. Antic, who came into the game hitting just 20 percent of his threes this season, knocked down another triple to make it 22-33. Caja Laboral worked well getting to the free throw line, hitting five straight points from the charity stripe – three of which came from Heurtel, who added a jumper to trim the gap to 29-35. Stratos Perperoglu answered with a three-ball and two Spanoulis free throws pushed the Olympiacos margin back to double-digits at 30-40. Vitoria came right back with a Nemanja Bjelica trey, a Heurtel jumper and a San Emeterio three-pointer from the right wing to make it 38-42. Perperoglu’s fine move inside pushed the margin back to six points before Oleson’s foul shots sent the teams to the locker rooms with Olympiacos ahead 40-44.
Third quarter: Lampe scores 11 straight for Caja Laboral
Caja Laboral clearly decided early in the second half to feed the low post with Lampe scoring the first points of the third quarter. Spanoulis restored a 42-46 lead before Lampe hit another basket and converted a three-point play to push Vitoria ahead 47-46. Hines and Printezis sandwiched scores around a Lampe basket and the Vitoria big man hit again for his 11th straight point for Caja Laboral’s 51-50 lead. Oleson nailed a three from the right wing and Heurtel followed with a jumper and a three-ball in transition from the right wing to push the advantage to 61-53 after two Pleiss foul shots. Law cut the margin to six with two from the charity stripe before Pleiss and Heurtel combined for three foul shots and San Emeterio nailed a long three-pointer just before the third quarter buzzer for a double-digit Vitoria lead 67-55.
Fourth quarter: Lampe too much for Olympiacos
Spanoulis started the fourth quarter with a long three-ball and Papanikolaou also hit from long range as the Vitoria lead was down to 69-61. Nemanja Bjelica picked Spanoulis’s pocket and hit a fast break layup to push Caja Laboral ahead 72-61 before Antic nailed another three-ball to make it 72-64. Lampe continued his outstanding game with three free throws – including drawing Hines’s fifth foul with six minutes to play – and then scored to make it 77-64 with 4:30 remaining. And the margin was 80-66 after Nocioni’s triple with just less than four minutes to play. Olympiacos worked on at least trimming the margin of defeat with Antic scoring, Spanoulis hitting two free throws and Antic dunking after two Papanikolaou offensive rebounds to make it 80-72 with 1:44 remaining. The reigning champs made it 80-74 with 37 seconds left on two Papanikolaou free throws. Oleson finished the game with two foul shots with 35 seconds to play.
Thursday, December 27, 2012