Olympiacos defeated Asseco Prokom 70-86
Olympiacos Piraeus celebrated a return to the Euroleague Basketball Final Four for the second year in a row after seeing off Asseco Prokom 70-86 to win their best-of-five Quarterfinals Playoffs series 3-1. After winning Game 3 at home, Prokom remained a pesky opponent and never gave up, climbing from down 20 to within 7 points in the fourth quarter. However Milos Teodosic and Josh Childress took control in a 0-11 blitz that wrapped up the win. Olympiacos will face the winner of the Maccabi Electra/Partizan series at the Final Four in Paris next month. Prokom’s Euroleague season came to an end, but not before the Polish champs impressed many with their best campaign to date and first ever appearance in the quarterfinals. Prokom started this game in superb form and scored the first 7 points, but Olympiacos battled right back. Prokom had no answer for big Sofoklis Schortsanitis in the paint and the lead slowly grew as Olympiacos looked to put the game away early. It reached 32-50 at halftime and despite numerous attempts by the hosts to climb back, it was never enough and Olympiacos celebrated in the end. Childress paced the winners with 22 points, Teodosic tallied 15 points, 5 assists and 4 steals, Linas Kleiza added 14 points and Schortsanitis finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 6 fouls drawn. David Logan led Prokom with 18 points, Qyntel Woods added 16 and Dan Ewing had 14 in defeat.
The hosts came out in superb form as Logan fired in a triple and then stripped Childress and coasted downcourt for a slam. Another Logan steal led to an Adam Lapeta bank shot and a 7-0 lead. Even after Teodosic got the Reds on the scoreboard and a Teodosic steal led to a Yotam Halperin layup attempt, Logan remained focused and darted back to reject him. However Olympiacos continued to play strong as Childress hit from downtown and Schortsanitis converted a basket-plus-foul to complete a 0-8 comeback. Jan Jagla came off the bench to block Big Sofo from behind and scored down low to keep Prokom in the picture, but the Olympiacos attack continued to generate points at will. Woods tore through the Olympiacos defense for a spectacular one-handed slam that knotted the score at 15-15, but in little time Lapeta committed his second and third fouls, took a seat on the bench and Olympiacos was up 6. Ratko Varda came in and started to make an impact, but after he was whistled for an offensive foul, Kleiza blasted a three that made it 16-24. Jagla scored on the offensive glass and Logan made a layup, but Childress and Ioannis Bourousis gave the visitors a 20-28 lead after 10 minutes.
Kleiza opened the second quarter with a three that gave Olympiacos its first double-digit lead. Theo Papaloukas got on the board too as the Reds looked to pull away. Logan banked in a deep three as the shot clock ran down, however that was not enough to spark the hosts. Papaloukas connected from downtown and Schortsanitis from the line as the lead reached 14. Lapeta had a pair of rejections as he tried to protect the paint, but it wasn’t enough and Loukas Mavrokefalides further extended the Olympiacos lead. Woods found Przemyslaw Zamojski in the corner for an open triple that brought out cheers from the fans, however Mavrokefalides drew Lapeta’s fourth foul on the next play and killed any Prokom momentum. With 3:01 remaining in the first half, Lapeta fouled out trying to stop Schortsanitis on the glass. It seemed no one could stop Big Sofo inside as the lead climbed to 26-45. Zamojski sparked the home team with another triple followed by a steal and foul drawn to narrow the gap to 15. Teodosic came back with a three-pointer that made it 32-50 at halftime.
Prokom came out for the second half determined to make a comeback, starting with a Logna steal and a Ewing slam. Kleiza and Childress were unimpressed as they took the Olympiacos lead to 20 for the first time, but Ewing drained a three and then fed Logan for a slam as the crowd remained involved. Childress shined with a slam only to see the lead cut to 44-56 on a triple from Woods. Teodosic answered in form and Nikola Vujcic got on the scoreboard for the visitors with a free throw. Woods fed Varda down low for a reverse layup and the Polish champs’ defense made things difficult on Olympiacos. But a steal capped by a textbook fastbreak and a Teodosic dish for a Kleiza slam shook Prokom’s will. Childress willed his way to the basket for another basket as the Reds settled down again. Ronnie Burrell scored for Prokom before Kleiza made it 48-66 after three quarters.
A pair of threes from Ewing and Woods early in the fourth quarter showed Prokom still had some bite left in it. Woods hit another three, while Olympiacos had some uncommon miscues, with the fantastic free-throw shooting Teodosic making just 1 from the line and Childress slipping and missing a transition slam. Adam Hyrcaniuk’s basket inside made it a 10-point came. Papaloukas missed a triple and Ewing drained one to make it 62-69 as the arena started to rock. Teodosic struck back with a triple of his own and Childress soared for an offensive rebound, basket – via goaltending – and foul as the Reds raced back to a 13-point lead. Teodosic’s crossover caused Ewing to foul and this time he sank both free throws. A Mavrokefalides triple – his first of the season – with just over three minutes left wrapped up a 0-11 run and sealed the win as Olympiacos celebrated a return to the Final Four.
Thursday, April 1, 2010