Olympiacos defeated Brose Baskets 86-69
An impressive show of force by Olympiacos at the Peace of Friendship Stadium resulted in an 86-60 win over Brose Baskets Bamberg to improve to 5-2. The Reds also took advantage of Real Madrid’s loss to take sole possession of first place in the Group B standings. Moreover, Olympiacos is now in the driver’s seat and can clinch a Top 16 berth as soon as next week when it travels to Unicaja. This time the Euroleague runner-up got 16 points and 8 rebounds from Loukas Mavrokefalides and 16 points from Vassilis Spanoulis against Brose Baskets, who fell to 2-5. Ioannis Bourousis also scored 12 points and grabbed 12 boards for the winners, while Kostas Papanikolaou scored 12 with three triples and Theodoros Papaloukas added 10 points. Brose Baskets suffered a 16-7 run in the second quarter and could not get back in the game despite 16 points and 9 boards by Tibor Pleiss and 15 points by Kyle Hines. Losing the rebounding battle, 46-35, was crucial for the visitors, who also counted 13 points from Brian Roberts. Bamberg will visit Spirou Charleroi next week.
The hosts were well in sync from mid range in the first quarter, as they hit their two-point shots, but it was their insistence on shooting from beyond the arc that kept them from building much of a lead, as they misfired on 7 of their 8 tries. Brose Baskets came ready to play, as Casey Jacobsen opened the festivities with a triple to make it 1-5. The Reds stayed calm and labored through the first period with a motivated Spanoulis pushing the tempo, but did not get to even the score until the end of the quarter, as 2 free throws by the guard left things at 18-18.
Olympiacos started looking for a post presence with Bourousis and Mavrokefalides inside and got more of a balanced attack in the second quarter, as the big men tallied 15 points between them and opened things up for Papaloukas, who scored 10 in the period, both from the perimeter and in penetrations. The hosts went on a 16-7 run until Jacobsen nailed a corner three pointer to cut the lead to 34-28. Hoping to get back in it fast, Brose Baskets started looking for the long-range bomb and failed to convert consistently, while Olympiacos labored for 16 first half baskets in the paint. On top of that, the game’s lasting triple, and a highlight of the week candidate, came from Papanikolaou at the buzzer, as the forward stole a Pleiss pass with 3 seconds left after a Brose inbounds play and hit nothing but net on his long range bomb. All in all, it was 48-34 at the break.
Searching to regain momentum in the third quarter, Hines drove for a pretty layup and foul in the paint, but it was still a mountain to climb for Brose Baskets at 54-40. Olymipacos executed diligently in the half court, moving the ball well and even better without it. And when the shots weren’t falling, there was Bourousis and Mavrokefalides to pick up the offensive rebound for second chances. The visitors’ main answers on offense were either spot up jumpers from Jacobsen or back to the baskets isolations by Hines, but it was the defense that finally showed some light, as a John Goldberry steal and Anton Gavel breakaway layup tightened the gap to 58-47, forcing Olympiacos head coach Dusan Ivkovic to call timeout. The visitors hustled and gave it a good sweat in the third period, forcing 4 turnovers in the last three minutes and crashing the offensive glass, but could not capitalize on their open perimeter looks. Still, a gorgeous running tear drop by Roberts at the buzzer gave them some hope at 66-51.
A quick bucket by Hines made it a 13-point game to start the fourth, but Bourousis answered with a layup and Milos Teodosis drove and fed a beautiful pass for Papanikolaou in the corner, as the forward drained a triple with textbook form to spell 71-53. Jacobsen and Teodosic traded two more triples and Papanikolaou hit his third of the night to get to 77-60 as Brose Baskets started racing against the clock and the odds, trying to get back in the game with uptempo and plenty of one on one play. Roberts was the featured creator during that span for the visitors, but Olympiacos effectively put the lid on the game in the closing minutes with a pair of breakaway dunks and Bourousis’s emphatic block of a Gavel layup attempt. It was the center’s third rejection of the night, and symbol of sorts of the home team’s play all night: A show of determination and force that has them smiling atop Group B.
Thursday, December 2, 2010