Olympiacos rallies, stuns CSKA
Olympiacos Piraeus came back from a first-half double-digit deficit to down previously undefeated CSKA Moscow 79-84 on the road on Wednesday night. Olympiacos improved to 2-3 on the season, while CSKA suffered its first defeat and dropped to 4-1. The hosts led by 11 points early in the second quarter, but Olympiacos answered with a 2-15 run to go in front before taking the lead for good late in the second quarter. Brandon Paul led the Reds with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Kevin Punter scored 16 and Georgios Printezis added 11 points. Mike James was game's top scorer with 22 points, and also had 6 assists for CSKA. Kyle Hines added 19 and Darrun Hilliard 17 in defeat.
CSKA was the first to grab the lead, with James, Kyle Hines and Daniel Hackett all involved by either scoring or assisting for each of CSKA's first-quarter field goals. James had a triple, and Hackett set up Hines with an easy fastbreak layup to open a 19-13 lead. Vassilis Spanoulis hit a three-pointer for the visitors, but James made another triple late in the first quarter, and Ron Baker hit one early in the second to help CSKA open a 29-18 advantage. Olympiacos started dominating offensive boards then, and Georgios Printezis sparked its offense by scoring inside three times before his three-point play put the Reds in front 31-33. Hilliard's triple snapped a 2-15 Olympiacos run and James knocked down his third shot from long distance, but Paul and Mindaugas Kuzminskas made sure the Reds would take a 39-43 edge into halftime. The teams kept trading blows in the third quarter. Threes from Will Cherry and Kevin Punter put Olympiacos ahead 42-49, but Hines scored inside on four consecutive possessions, including a pair of dunks, to cut the difference to 53-56. Another basket by Hines made it 58-59, but Olympiacos remained in front with Punter and Rubit muscling in close-range baskets late in the third. Sasha Vezenkov and Punter did the same early in the fourth to send the Reds in front 62-68. Hines and Kurbanov got CSKA within 66-68, but Paul nailed a second-chance three-pointer and made a circus shot in the lane to expand the lead to 69-76 with 2:13 left. Hilliard gave CSKA hope with a three-pointer, but Spanoulis answered with a three of his own with 69 seconds to go, sealing the deal.
More than a decade
Olympiacos snapped a streak of seven consecutive road losses against CSKA. The last time Olympiacos beat CSKA in Moscow, before tonight, was a playoffs Game 1 in April of 2008.
When CSKA seemed to be pulling away in the second quarter, Olympiacos took control of the boards. The Reds had 1 offensive rebound in the first quarter, but pulled down 6 in the second, and finished with 14 for the night. CSKA had 8 offensive boards for the game, and it is what made a difference in the end, with Olympiacos taking a 15-10 edge in second-chance points.
Olympiacos had just 8 turnovers, and did well on the defensive glass, which limited CSKA's transition and held the hosts to just 4 fastbreak points.
Veterans to the rescue
Olympiacos legends showed up in some key moments in this game. Georgios Printezis scored 9 of his 11 points in a key 2-15 run in the second quarter to fuel the Reds' rally, while Vassilis Spanoulis, who had 8 points, was clutch once again, hitting a key three-pointer with 1:09 left in the game to help push the Reds to victory.
On Friday in Round 6, CSKA travels to St Petersburg to face a fellow Russian rival Zenit, while Olympiacos will play at home, welcoming Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv.
Wednesday, October 30, 2019