Olympiacos takes dramatic win over Bayern
In a highly entertaining clash that came down to the final shot, Olympiacos Piraeus held off visiting FC Bayern Munich 84-82 on Friday night at Peace and Friendship Stadium. Olympiacos improved to 9-8 on the season, while Bayern dropped to 11-7. Neither team had a double-digit lead in the game, but both held leads of 9 points. Bayern used long-distance shooting from D.J. Seeley to open a 33-42 edge in the second quarter, while Vassilis Spanoulis sparked the Reds to a 72-63 margin in the fourth. Seeley rallied the visitors back to a tie, but Kostas Sloukas and Sasha Vezenkov took it to the hoop for big baskets down the stretch, before Olympiacos made one last defensive stand to pull out the victory. Sloukas paced the hosts with 24 points, 7 assists and 3 steals, and Vezenkov scored 13 points. Aaron Harrison and Octavius Ellis scored 11 apiece, and Spanoulis netted 10 in the win. Seeley finished with a career-high 26 points on 7-for-8 three-point shooting, and Jalen Reynolds had another big game for Bayern with 20 points on 9-for-11 two-point shooting.
Sloukas and Harrison knocked down triples in the early going for Olympiacos. Diego Flaccadori hit from long range for Bayern and Wade Baldwin IV scored a tough runner, but Georgios Printezis netted 7 points for the hosts, including a triple and a fastbreak layup, to open a 16-9 lead. Bayern quickly answered as a triple-plus-foul from Seeley and a three-pointer from Paul Zipser capped a 0-9 run that put the visitors in front. A baseline dunk from Reynolds helped Bayern to 19-22 after 10 minutes, and Reynolds hit a jumper early in the second. Vezenkov and Spanoulis fueled a 6-0 run that briefly had the Reds ahead. After Seeley and Sloukas each hit from long range, Seeley nailed two more threes to open a 28-35 lead. Vezenkov connected from long range for the hosts, but Baldwin's transition triple extended it to 33-42. The Reds found their way back, and Ellis scored 5 points including a monster dunk-plus-foul to tie it at 44-44, before Flaccadori's last-second fastbreak layup gave Bayern a 44-46 lead at halftime.
Sloukas and Baldwin traded tough runners early in the third, before Harrison hit a second-chance triple for the hosts, 51-48. Baldwin answered with a three-point play, followed by Reynolds stringing together 8 points, including two jumpers and an alley-oop dunk, to restore Bayern's lead, 55-59. But Spanoulis fueled a response, driving for a basket and sparking a 9-0 run he capped himself with triple, giving the Reds the lead back. The hosts took a 64-61 lead into the fourth quarter, and back-to-back threes from Spanoulis and Vezenkov opened a 72-63 margin. Seeley hit his fifth triple, but Sloukas also made one from downtown to keep Olympiacos with a 9-point margin. But Seeley sank a jumper, James Gist a baseline jumper, and Seeley tied things back up at 77-77 with his sixth triple. Vezenkov snapped a 0-9 run with a three-point play and, after a fastbreak score from Reynolds, Sloukas netted a pair of baskets driving to the rim, to make it 84-79. However, Seeley knocked down another triple, and Bayern made a defensive stand to have 4.2 seconds for the final possession. However, after a timeout, Zipser's three-point attempt was off target.
With the game on the line, Olympiacos put the ball in the hands of Kostas Sloukas and the three-time EuroLeague champion delivered. He drove for a pair of key layups, turning a one-point lead into 84-79 in the final minute. Sloukas finished with 24 points, and made 3 of 4 three-point attempts, which makes him 8-for-11 from downtown in the last two games.
Olympiacos finds key offensive boards
Bayern entered the game allowing the fewest offensive rebounds, 8.7 per game, then held Olympiacos without a single offensive board in the first half. But the hosts finished with 8 offensive boards, and had 5 in the fourth quarter alone, including a pair from Livio Jean-Charles late in the game to give the Reds a big boost down the stretch.
After joining Bayern before Round 13, D.J. Seeley averaged 6.4 points and made a total of 4 triples in five appearances before this game. In this contest, though, Seeley set a new club record by making 7 triples on 8 attempts, and scored a career-high 26 points, tied for fourth-most in Bayern history.
This was the first game of the second half of the regular season, which means these two teams have now played twice. And thanks to a 74-68 win in Munich in Round 5, Bayern holds the tiebreak advantage over Olympiacos.
Olympiacos will be in action already on Tuesday when it visits Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (8-10) in Round 19, while Bayern plays a day later when it welcomes Zenit St Petersburg (11-5).
Friday, January 8, 2021