Navarro, Oleson lead Barcelona past Olympiacos
FC Barcelona sent a message that echoed all around the Turkish Airlines Euroleague by downing Olympiacos Piraeus 72-81 on the road at Peace and Friendship Stadium in Group E on Thursday. Barcelona remained undefeated in Group E and improved to 3-0 with its 15th consecutive Top 16 victory. Olympiacos dropped to 1-2 and saw its 10-game home winning streak come to an end. Juan Carlos Navarro led the winners with 21 points. Brad Oleson added 14 for Barcelona. Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis led Olympiacos with 17 points apiece. Printezis shined early to give Olympiacos a 23-14 margin late in the first quarter. Five different Barcelona players scored in a 0-14 run which Alex Abrines capped with free throws to give the guests a 23-28 edge. A three-point play by Printezis and a big dunk by Cedric Simmons allowed Olympiacos to regain the lead, 34-32, at halftime. Barcelona found a go-to guy in Navarro, who had 14 points in eight minutes to make it a double-digit game, 43-53, late in the third quarter. Olympiacos managed to get within 66-69, but Oleson followed a three-pointer with free throws to seal a big win down the stretch.
First quarter: Printezis gives Reds early lead
Erazem Lorbek got Barcelona going with an uncontested layup, as the visitors kept Olympiacos scoreless for almost two minutes. Printezis rescued Olympiacos with a three-point play and a jump hook by Ante Tomic put Barcelona back ahead, 3-4. After Mirza Begic scored in the low post, Printezis shined with his trademark catch-and-shoot layup. A six-meter jumper by Matt Lojeski boosted the Reds' lead to 9-4. Marcelinho Huertas took over with a driving layup that Stratos Perperoglou bettered with a triple. Kostas Papanikolaou scored down low and a jumper by Tomic brought the guests within 12-10. Printezis kept pacing Olympiacos with a tip-in and a driving layup by Spanoulis gave Olympiacos a 16-10 lead. Tomic scored again and Oleson stepped up with a fast break layup. Free throws by Spanoulis restored a 18-14 Olympiacos edge. Bryant Dunston hit a jump hook and a three-pointer by Printezis caused Barcelona to call timeout at 23-14. Back-to-back layups by Joey Dorsey and Victor Sada brought Barcelona within 23-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Barcelona rallies, Olympiacos recovers
Navarro made free throws early in the quarter, as Olympiacos struggled to score without Spanoulis and Printezis on court. A three-pointer by Abrines and a layup-plus-foul by Bostjan Nachbar put Barcelona back ahead, 23-26, as the hosts called timeout. Abrines made free throws to cap a 0-14 Barcelona run. Spanoulis split foul shots and a put-back slam by Simmons ignited the crowd at 26-28. Nachbar stepped up with a put-back layup. Spanoulis made free throws, but a close jumper by Huertas made it a 4-point game. Olympiacos adjusted its man-to-man defense, not allowing Tomic to play one-on-one in the low post. Meanwhile, Simmons split free throws to get within 29-32. Barcelona tried a taller lineup with Maciej Lampe at power forward, but the Reds were all over the place on defense. Printezis took over with a three-point play and another put-back jam by Simmons restored a 34-32 Olympiacos edge at halftime.
Third quarter: Navarro takes charge and fuels visitors
Navarro sank a jumper right after the break, as Olympiacos could not find the way to the basket. A three-pointer by Abrines put the guests back ahead, 34-37. Spanoulis rescued Olympiacos with a driving layup that Lorbek erased with a four-meter jumper. Navarro took over with a 'bomba' and followed it with a jumper to make it a 7-point game. Vangelis Mantzaris downed a three-pointer and Spanoulis banked in a fade-away jumper to keep the Reds within 41-43. Navarro scored in penetration and silenced the crowd with a wild, off-balance triple that boosted Barcelona's lead to 41-48. Olympiacos could not find the way to stop Navarro, who struck again from downtown. Dorsey followed that with a layup to make it a double-digit game, 43-53. Kostas Sloukas tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a reverse layup that Oleson erased with a driving basket. A three-pointer by Perperoglou fixed the score at 48-55 through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Oleson leads Barcelona to big win
Dorsey shined with a big slam early in the fourth quarter that Printezis erased with a big basket. Printezis kept pacing Olympiacos with an acrobatic floater. Oleson stepped up with a three-pointer for a 52-60 Barcelona edge. Huertas sank a jumper, but back-to-back baskets by Sloukas gave Olympiacos hope. Tomic dunked only to see Dunston score inside and a free throw by Spanoulis made it 59-64. Lorbek hit a jumper that Lojeski improved on with a corner triple. Dunston made free throws but a three-pointer by Navarro gave Barcelona some fresh air, 64-69. Spanoulis hit foul shots but he didn't find much help around in crunch time. Instead, a three-pointer by Oleson sealed the outcome, 66-72, in the next-to-last minute. Oleson rounded out his great game with free throws, allowing Barcelona to start celebrating a pivotal road win.
Thursday, January 16, 2014