Real Madrid became the exclusive leader atop Group F by downing Olympiacos 80-70 in the Spanish capital on Thursday night. Madrid registered its second home win in as many games in the Top 16 and is the only unbeaten team in Group F. Meanwhile, Olympiacos dropped to 0-2 and needs to start winning right away to keep its Quarterfinal Playoffs chances alive. Alex Mumbru led the winners with 16 points. Louis Bullock added 14 and Charles Smith had 13 for Madrid, whose playmaker Kerem Tunceri left the game with a knee injury. Lynn Greer had 15 points for Olympiacos, Qyntel Woods and Marc Jackson added 11 each and Panos Vasilopoulos got 10 for the Reds. Three-pointers by Bullock, Tunceri and Mumbru fueled a 18-4 opening run that put Madrid ahead for good. Greer and Woods brought Olympiacos back in the game, 38-33, but Mumbru and Tunceri allowed Madrid to get a 45-35 halftime margin. Olympiacos improved its defense in the second half and Greer and Jackson brought the Reds within 72-67 with two minutes to go. However Bullock followed free throws with a huge triple that allowed Madrid to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Bullock got Madrid going with a three-pointer coming off a screen and Kerem Tunceri added an eight-meter bomb for a 6-0 Madrid lead. Olympiacos went scoreless in the opening two minutes, not finding any easy shots. Meanwhile, Mumbru joined the three-point shootout. Woods stepped up with a six-meter shot, but a free throw by Blagota Sekulic and a layup-plus-foul by Mumbru gave Madrid its first double-digit lead. The Reds even missed free throws now, while Sekulic scored again to make head coach Panagiotis Yannakis call timeout at 15-2. Vasilopoulos tried to change things for the visitors with a driving layup, but a red-hot Mumbru answered from downtown to make it a 14-point game. Vasilopoulos continued to pace the Reds with a three-point play, as Madrid started to miss open shots. Greer fed Jackson for an easy basket to bring Olympiacos within 18-9. Iker Iturbe fired in his trademark three-pointer, but Greer and Rod Blakney kept Olympiacos within 22-12. Michalis Pelekanos also struck from downtown – the fifth Madrid player to do so in the period – before Jake Tsakalidis and Felipe Reyes traded baskets to fix the score at 27-14 after 10 minutes.
Smith shined with a driving basket early in the second quarter that Tsakalidis erased with foul shots. Milos Teodosic finished a three-chance Olympiacos offense with a triple from the corner, but Madrid did not panic. Smith downed free throws and even when Loukas Mavrokefalidis scored at the other end, he answered with a big triple for a 34-21 Madrid edge. Reinaldas Seibutis stepped on court for the first time in this Euroleague season, but the Reds kept struggling in defense. Pelekanos scored in penetration, but Jackson quickly answered with an easy layup while Vasilopoulos added a fast-break basket to bring the Reds within 36-25. Reyes banked in a mid-range shot, but Greer and Woods buried one apiece from downtown to keep Olympiacos in the game, 38-31. Madrid called timeout but a driving layup by Woods got the Reds even closer. Mumbru swished a stop-and-pop jumper, but the Reds were a different team now. Mavrokefalidis took over with a tip-in that Sekulic matched with an acrobatic basket. However Tunceri nailed a wide-open triple to restore a double-digit lead for Madrid, 45-35, at halftime.
Olympiacos improved its defense after the break and Woods stepped up with a layup. The game soon turned into a physical, intense battle as Blakney hit a free throw to get the Reds within 45-38. Madrid went scoreless for almost three minutes, as the hosts could not match Olympiacos's intensity. Reyes shined with a floating jumper that Tsakalidis erased with a put-back. Smith fed Reyes for an easy basket and soon struck from downtown, as Madrid opted to attack the basket to get their big men involved. Vasilopoulos nailed a three-pointer, but Tunceri copied him to restore a 55-43 Madrid lead. Smith took over with another triple that made it a 15-point game midway through the period. Olympiacos called timeout and Jackson checked back in the game with a layup. Tunceri left the game with a knee injury, but Mumbru made free throws to keep Madrid way ahead, 60-45. The Reds tried to have more patience in offense and to get Jackson involved, who made 3-of-4 foul shots. Greer followed free throws with a buzzer-beating jumper to give Olympiacos some hope, 62-53, after 30 minutes.
The Reds needed a quick comeback to keep their chances alive, but even when their defense was even tougher, Olympiacos did not find good options at the other end. As such, both teams went scoreless for more than two minutes until Mavrokefalidis hit a close jumper. Raul Lopez stepped up with a key three-pointer that restored a double-digit Madrid lead, 65-55. Greer shined with a wild reverse layup but Bullock drew a foul and made 3 of 3 free throws to make it an 11-point game. Woods scored around the basket, but a red-hot Bullock answered with a triple that almost sealed the outcome, 71-59. Vasilopoulos sank a corner three-pointer and Teodosic scored off a steal to get the Reds within 71-63. By the time Greer scored in transition, Olympiacos was back in the game, 71-65. Bullock followed free throws with an unbelievable three-pointer to seal the outcome, 77-67, with less than teo minutes to go. Olympiacos kept trying, but Madrid has already pleased its fans with its second home win in this year's Top 16.
Thursday, February 21, 2008