Olympiacos shuts down host Barcelona
Olympiacos Piraeus relied on defense to pull out an important road win by downing FC Barcelona Lassa 60-69 on Tuesday at Palau Blaugrana. This marked the fifth win in six matches for the Reds, who improved to an 8-5 record to remain in the fifth place in the standings. Olympiacos led the entire second half and never allowed more than 18 points in a quarter to Barcelona. Big man Nikola Milutinov shined with 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis netted 14 points on 4-for-9 shooting from three-point range, while Nigel Williams Goss and Zach LeDay scored 10 apiece in victory. Meanwhile, Barcelona lost its fourth straight game to drop to 6-7 as Victor Claver had 13 points and Pierre Oriola added 10.
Claver hit a pair of triples early for the hosts, but Spanoulis matched him, putting Olympiacos up 8-10. Artem Pustovyi scored a pair of put-back baskets for Barcelona, but 6 points from Milutinov and a triple from Williams-Goss put the visitors up 14-17 after a quarter. Defenses continued to dominate on both ends until LeDay hit a pair of close-range baskets, one of which came with a free throw, to make it 18-22- Adam Hanga answered with a triple and Kevin Pangos followed him to get Barcelona within 26-25. Kostas Papanikolaou had a three-pointer on the other end as the visitors took a 30-32 advantage into halftime. Spanoulis and Papanikolaou hit triples to make it 30-38 soon after the break, and Milutinov continued tormenting the hosts on the offensive glass, extend the margin to 33-43. Hanga and Thomas Heurtel got Barcelona going, but another three from Spanoulis helped make it 41-54. Kyle Kuric knocked down a three-ball for the hosts before baskets from Heurtel and Oriola, at the buzzer, cut the difference to 48-55 after 30 minutes. Williams-Goss restored a double-digit margin with a three-pointer to start the fourth quarter. The teams proceeded to trade two-point baskets as Oriola scored 6 points for the hosts. But LeDay, Milutinov and Spanoulis keeping the margin safe at 54-65, and Barcelona never threatened again.
Olympiacos struggled offensively, dishing just 12 assists while committing 15 turnovers. But the Reds played stellar defense and used it to win the game. After going up 54-65 with 6:13 left in the fourth quarter, Olympiacos was left scoreless for more than 4 minutes, but also allowed Barcelona just a single basket in that span and just 6 points in the final 7 minutes.
Nikola Milutinov had a career-performance at Palau Blaugrana. The big man scored 18 points on 5-for-8 two-point shooting, but also had career highs with 14 total rebounds and 7 on the offensive glass. Milutinov also had 2 blocks to register his career-high PIR of 36.
Olympiacos set a new season high by pulling down 21 offensive rebounds. It is also second-highest mark in club history, 2 shy of a club record. Five different players had multiple offensive rebounds against Barcelona, led by 7 from Milutinov.
Barcelona shot 6-for-15 from three-point range through the first three quarters, then failed to even take another three-point attempt in the opening 6 minutes of the fourth. The hosts finished the night 6-for-20 behind the arc.
On Thursday, Olympiacos will be returning home to host Herbalife Gran Canaria, while Barcelona travels to faces a fellow Spanish rival KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018