Olympiacos, a 94-97 road winner at Cibona
Olympiacos is all but mathematically into the Quarterfinal Playoffs by edging Cibona 94-97 in Group H in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday - in arguably one of the best games so far in this Euroleague season. Olympiacos improved to 4-0 in Group H and will make it to the next round as soon as tomorrow if BC Khimki Moscow Region (2-1) beats Caja Laboral (1-2). If not, Olympiacos will seal its playoff ticket with another win or if Cibona wins one of its two remaining games. Cibona dropped to 0-4 but will keep minimum chances to advance if Laboral beats Khimki tomorrow. Milos Teodosic paced the winners with 22 points and 6 assists, including 3-of-4 free throws in the final 7.7 seconds to win it for the Reds. Linas Kleiza added 20 points on 9-of-11 two-pointers, Josh Childress had 14 while Loukas Mavrokefalides got 10 for Olympiacos. Jamont Gordon led Cibona with 32 points. Marko Tomas added 20 while Samo Udrih, Luksa Andric and Bojan Bogdanovic each had 11 for the hosts, that used an 11-0 run to get its biggest lead, 28-18, early in the second quarter. Olympiacos rallied in the second quarter and Teodosic, Childress and Theo Papaloukas allowed the Reds to get a 75-84 edge with 4 minutes left. Cibona rallied behind an outstanding Gordon and regained the lead, 93-92, already in the final minute. A critical dunk by Kleiza, free throws by Teodosic and a tactic foul in the final seconds helped Olympiacos to escape with a big win.
Andric got Cibona going with a layup that Kleiza matched with a quick basket in transition. Olympiacos tried to get Sofoklis Schortsanitis involved early in the game. Leon Radosevic shined with a three-point play and Tomas struck from downtown to give Cibona an early 8-5 lead. The hosts excelled at double-teaming Schortsanitis. Samo Udrih joined the three-point shootout and Gordon did even better with a triple-and-foul for a 15-7 lead. Olympiacos tried to change the game rhythm once Papaloukas and Ioannis Bourousis came off the bench. Yotam Halperin took over with a four-point play, but a backdoor layup by Tomas gave Cibona a 17-11 edge. Kleiza continued to pace Olympiacos with a dunk-and-foul as Cibona tried to slow down the game tempo. Yotam Halperin scored in transition and Kleiza added a layup to give the Reds their first lead, 17-18. Olympiacos had raised its intensity and Cibona called timeout to prevent the Reds from playing more physical. Tomas and Bogdanovic, however, rescued Cibona with back-to-back three-pointers. Olympiacos struggled to score late in the first quarter, as Cibona ran its defense through Dalibor Bagaric. Free throws by Tomas gave the hosts a 25-18 edge after 10 minutes.
Udrih downed a triple early in the second quarter to give Cibona its first double-digit lead, 28-18, after an 11-0 run. Papaloukas stepped up with a driving layup and Mavrokefalides added a fast break basket to bring the Reds back to life. Papaloukas paced the guests with a three-pointer and Mavrokefalides’s a baseline jumper and layup caused Cibona head coach Velimir Perasovic to call timeout at 28-29. Mavrokefalides stayed on fire with a reverse layup that capped a 0-14 run, as Olympiacos used three point guards - Teodosic, Papaloukas and Scoonie Penn - on court. Bogdanovic stepped up with an off-balance layup and Andric scored in penetration to put Cibona back ahead, 32-31. Childress took over with an off-balance three-point play, but a coast-to-coast layup by Gordon tied it at 34-34. Mavrokefalides and Andric traded baskets as Cibona slowly regained the game tempo. Andric shined with a layup-plus-foul only to see Teodosic beat Cibona's 2-3 zone defense with a three-pointer to tie the score at 39-39. An unstoppable Andric sank a jump hook and Tomas added free throws, but Bourousis and Kleiza answered at the other end. A driving layup by Gordon restored a 45-43 edge at halftime.
Nikola Vujcic sank free throws immediately after the break and Teodosic scored in transition to give Olympiacos a 45-47 edge. Cibona kept struggling to score early in the third quarter, as Olympiacos had improved its intensity. Childress and Tomas traded layups but a corner triple by Penn soon made it a five-point game, 47-52. Gordon answered with a seven-meter bomb and even when Childress took over with a high-flying alleyoop dunk, Tomas struck from downtown to keep Cibona as close as 53-54. Kleiza sank a six-meter shot, as Cibona tried to get Gordon and Tomas involved off a timeout. Vujcic shined with a jump hook, as Olympiacos kept controlling the game with its outstanding man-to-man defense. Kleiza sank a fallaway jumper to make Cibona call timeout at 53-60. Bogdanovic rescued the hosts with a catch-and-shoot triple and Radosevic made free throws but back-to-back triples by Teodosic boosted the Reds' margin to 58-66. Cibona tried to speed up the game tempo, as Gordon scored twice in penetration. Bogdanovic shined with a corner three-pointer but Papaloukas silenced the crowd with an eight-meter, buzzer-beating running triple that allowed Olympiacos to get a 65-70 edge after 30 minutes.
Gordon stayed on fire with a big basket in penetration early in the fourth quarter, as Olympiacos tried to improve its ball circulation with Teodosic and Papaloukas together on court. Teodosic buried another three-pointer for a 67-73 Olympiacos edge. Gordon - who else? - kept pacing Cibona with back-to-back three-pointer that got the crowd involved at 73-75. Teodosic took over with a wild driving layup and Penn fed Kleiza for a three-point play that forced Cibona to call timeout, 73-80, with over 6 minutes left. Bagaric hit free throws but Childress followed a reverse layup with an off-balance jumper for a 75-84 score with 4 minutes to go. Cibona did not give up, however, as Gordon hit 3-of-4 free throws that Tomas followed with a tip-in to give the hosts some hope at 80-84. Bourousis shined with a layup-plus-foul off an Olympiacos timeout but Radosevic and a three-pointer by Udrih brought the hosts even closer, 85-87. Teodosic sank his fifth triple but free throws by Tomas and Udrih kept Cibona within 88-90 with 1:06 left. Penn drew a foul and calmly made free throws but Gordon did even better with a layup-plus-foul for a one-point Cibona deficit, 91-92, with 41.8 seconds remaining. A midcourt steal by Tomas allowed Gordon to return to the line and complete his team's comeback, 93-92. Papaloukas fed Kleiza for a critical dunk but Teodosic and Gordon split free throws for a 94-95 score. Teodosic sank free throws with 5.3 seconds left and Olympiacos fouled on Tomas to avoid a game-tying three-point shot. Tomas missed twice from the line, allowing the Reds to seal a key road win.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010