On a night when the focus in Athens was across town at ULEB Game 1000, Olympiacos made its own major move in Group C by holding off persistent Idea Slask to win 98-92 on Thursday. That marked the third consecutive victory for the Reds and lifted them to 3-5, good for sole possession of sixth place, behind both Slask and Tau Ceramica, both 4-4. A 9-0 run to start the fourth quarter seemed to ice the game for Olympiacos, who led 80-67, but Slask responded with a 2-10 run of its own and set up a scoring race to the finish which the Reds survived. Giorgios Diamantopoulos led the winners with 23 points, while Panagiotis Liadelis added 18, Ruben Wolkowysky 15 and Boris Gorenc 14. The Reds won the rebounding battled 27-14 also. For Slask, Euroleague scoring leader Lynn Greer exploded for 31 points while Adam Wojcik put up 21 and Dominik Tomczyk 12.
In a very fast start Slask Wroclaw took an early lead in the first quarter due to the scoring abilities of Lynn Greer and Adam Wojcik, plus opportunistic early triples off the hands of Tanel Tein and Dominik Tomczyk. Slask doubled Olympiacos with a 6-12 midway through the quarter, but the Reds reacted by hitting 4 three-pointers, 2 each by Giorgos Diamantopoulos and Christos Harissis, to cut the margin into 18-21 at the end of the first quarter.
When the second period started Coach Sakota of Olympiakos had a hidden ace in his pocket. Vangelis Sklavos came from the bench to score 8 points, as the Reds took a one-point lead, 27-26. Greer and Wojcik kept on scoring from the perimeter, as Slask took back four-point leads twice, but Panagiotis Liadelis had an answer. Scoring 5 consecutive points, re-taking the advantage for Olympiacos. Before the break, however, Tein and Greer combined on 5 free throws to enter the lockers ahead 45-46. The whole first half was a great proof that both teams had high motivation and desire for the victory
Boris Gorenc saved all his energy for the third period, when he added 13 of his points to the Olympiacos total, helping the Reds boost their lead to 8 points late in the quarter. The Reds continued to get important offensive help from its two other perimeter scorers, Diamantopoulos and Liadelis, who made some difficult shots. On the other side, Greer was the only effective solutions for Idea Slask. He added 13 to his team's total and had 28 himself at the end of three quarters cutting the margin to 4 points, 71-67, after 30 minutes.
The fourth period belonged again to the home team at its start. The Reds got inside help in the scoring department now from Wolkowyski, who helped pace a 9-0 run to an 80-67 lead. But if Slask seemed out of it then, the Athens fans were in for some suspense. The visitors responded with their own 7-0 run to make it 80-74, but the three offensive weapons of Olympiakos were there again. Using a zone defense for the whole fourth quarter, the Reds escaped to 88-80 with 2 minutes to go due to a Diamantopoulos layup. In the final and couple of moments later when Michel Ignerski cut the margin at 94-90 with a big three, Goran Jurak and Liadelis added 2 points apiece to assure a third straight win for the Reds.
Thursday, January 8, 2004
Kostas Sotiriou, Athens