Printezis lifts Olympiacos late in Belgrade
Georgios Printezis played the hero role once again for his beloved Olympiacos Piraeus by scoring the game-winner in the final seconds to lift the Reds to a 79-81 road win over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade at Aleksandar Nikolic Hall on Thursday. The visitors trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and led by 9 in the fourth in the thriller. Olympiacos won its second game of the week to improve to 7-5, while Zvezda lost its fourth straight game to fall to 4-9. Printezis led Olympiacos with 16 points, Vassilis Spanoulis scored 14, Aaron Harrison and Kostas Sloukas netted 12 points apiece and Giannoulis Larentzakis scored a personal-best 11. Sloukas also dished 7 assists. Johnny O'Bryant paced Zvezda with 16 points, Corey Walden and Jordan Loyd each scored 13 and Marko Jagodic-Kuridza added 10.
Both teams needed time to find their rhythm with each scoring just once in the first 2 minutes. Walden heated up with a pair of three-pointers and O'Bryant added another as the hosts jumped ahead 14-5. Though Livio Jean-Charles scored to end the visitors' drought, free throws by Ognjen Dobric gave Zvezda a double-digit lead and Dejan Davidovac extended it to 20-7. Jagodic-Kuridza's triple took the difference to 16 before a jumper by Sloukas ended the first quarter at 30-16. Olympiacos got going in the second quarter, though Zvezda kept pace. A Spanoulis triple closed the gap to 37-27 midway through the quarter. The Olympiacos legend did his best to continue the comeback and his free throws made it 45-37 at the break.
Harrison came out for the second half with a hot hand and drained a trio of three-pointers to bring his team within 52-50 midway through the third quarter. Octavius Ellis scored on consecutive possessions to give the visitors their first lead since the opening minutes, 52-54. Threes by Jagodic-Kuridza and Dobric got the hosts back in charge, but free throws by Larentzakis and Printezis kept Olympiacos close. A three by Larentzakis gave the Reds a 61-62 edge at the end of the quarter. Spanoulis and Printezis teamed up on the first two baskets of the fourth to extend the margin. Larentzakis made it a 0-8 start to the quarter before Jagodic-Kuridza's tip-in ended the Zvezda drought. Davidovac also scored on the offensive glass before Loyd completed an 8-0 response to make it 69-70 with a little more than 5 minutes left in regulation. An acrobatic basket by Loyd tied the score at 76-76 with less than 3 minutes to go. O'Bryant pushed Zvezda ahead with free throws with 1:30 on the clock and Printezis evened it with a move in the post at 41.9. Spanoulis split free throws with 8.6 seconds to play to put Olympiacos up 78-79 and after a Zvezda timeout, O'Bryant drew a foul with 6.8 seconds and only made 1 foul shot. Olympiacos got the ball to Printezis, who scored the game-winner with 3.2 seconds remaining.
Olympiacos overcame its 20 turnovers and allowing Zvezda to take 12 offensive rebounds with excellent shooting. The Reds made 17 of 25 two-pointers (68.0%) and 12 of 23 threes (52.2%). It was its best shooting night of the season in two-pointers and second-best in threes after converting 52.9% against Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Round 6.
Giannoulis Larentzakis had played more than 5 minutes in a game only once in his previous five appearances this season, but on this night Coach Bartzokas gave the big guard extended playing time and was rewarded handsomely. Larentzakis made 3 of 4 three-pointers and was fouled on his only drive to the lane, which resulted in 2 free throws made. He spent 15:48 on the floor and finished with a personal-best 11 points plus 2 rebounds.
Zvezda remains at home for its next game on Tuesday, December 15 against ALBA Berlin. Olympiacos hosts Valencia Basket the following day in Round 14.
Thursday, December 10, 2020