Olympiacos edges Maccabi in Tel Aviv thriller
For the second week in a row, Olympiacos Piraeus was involved in a thriller, but by edging Maccabi Tel Aviv Electra 77-78, the reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champions ended up on the winning end of a last-second drama this time. Olympiacos survived in Nokia Arena thanks to a defensive stand in the final 52 seconds, but the Reds could only watch as the clock was running out on the hosts who were racing down the floor for a potential game-winning basket. Alas the buzzer sounded before Maccabi made a shot attempt and Olympiacos players jumped in joy to celebrate victory that improved them to 2-3 in Group F, while Maccabi dropped to 1-4 record. With both teams in a must-win situation, Vassilis Spanoulis set the tone early with 11 points in the first seven minutes as Olympiacos stormed out of the gate to go up 16-30. Maccabi recovered after halftime to end the third quarter up 62-57, before the fourth quarter featured several big runs and consequent lead changes. Maccabi was up 74-68, but Spanoulis went 6 for 6 from the foul line and hit what turned out to be a game-winning jumper. In the final 52 seconds, the visitors’ defense forced the hosts to miss 3 field goal attempts before the drama unfolded. Spanoulis finished the game with 24 points, while Georgios Printezis scored 16 for Olympiacos which played without Acie Law and Josh Powell. Giorgi Shermadini added 9 points plus 9 rebounds in victory against his former club. Devin Smith scored 17 for Maccabi. David Logan netted 15, and Shawn James collected 11 points plus 12 rebounds in defeat.
First quarter: Olympiacos starts hot, builds an early double-digit lead
Evangelos Mantzaris started the game with a three for Olympiacos, and Printezis added a put-back. Darko Planinic, in the starting lineup for the second time in his career, opened Maccabi's account, but Mantzaris’s basket-plus-foul made it 2-8. Ricky Hickman drove for a layup, before Spanoulis and Devin Smith traded triples. However, Spanoulis sank another shot from downtown and Printezis scored another basket inside for 7-16 and forced Maccabi to call a timeout. The hosts tried to recover with baskets from Smith and Logan, but Stratos Perperoglou and Spanoulis each hit a triple to help the Reds go up 13-26. Logan tried to get Maccabi going with a three-pointer, but Kyle Hines made a put-back and Kostas Sloukas hit a baseline jumper extending the lead to 14 points before Logan hit another triple to make it 19-30 after the first quarter.
Second quarter: Spanoulis continues to run the show
Lior Eliyahu’s baseline floater opened the scoring in the second quarter, but Spanoulis answered right back with a jumper. Logan stayed hot for the hosts, but so did Spanoulis who continued to run the show for Olympiacos, feeding Kostas Papanikolaou for an easy basket inside. After Smith hit a jumper, Logan made a spin move for 29-35, but Spanoulis answered with a driving layup and Hines restored a 10-point lead. The visitors’ advantage reached 13 points again with Printezis making all 4 free throws, before Planinic’s put-back beat the buzzer for 33-44 at the break.
Third quarter: Maccabi turns it around
Smith nailed a three-pointer to kick-start the third quarter, before Sylven Landesberg’s strong finish on a fastbreak and a basket inside from James cut it to 40-46. After a timeout, Giorgi Shermadini from close range snapped the hosts’ run, but Smith got Nokia Arena on its feet with an electrifying one-handed dunk over Perperoglou before a dunk-plus-foul from James brought Maccabi within 47-50. Shermadini converted a basket-plus-foul to briefly give the Reds more breathing room, but Landesberg hit a triple from the right corner and Yogev Ohayon’s runner gave Maccabi its first lead, 56-55. After Eliyahu and Hickman extended the lead to 4 points, Printezis drove inside for a lovely floater. Eliyahu’s floater beat the buzzer giving Maccabi a 62-57 lead after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Back and forth till the final buzzer
Spanoulis, who was scoreless in the third quarter, started the fourth with a triple, and Sloukas followed it up with a triple of his own for Olympiacos to regain the lead. Shermadini’s hook-shot made it 62-65, and after a timeout by Maccabi, Pero Antic nailed a triple from the left corner for a 6-point lead. Ohayon snapped a 0-11 run before Smith’s layup-plus-foul got Maccabi within 67-68 and shifted the momentum once again. The hosts regained the lead with a layup by Ohayon, before Logan hit a triple and James made a fastbreak dunk, capping a run of 12 unanswered points that made it 74-68. James fouled out and Olympiacos cut it to 2 points with Spanoulis and Hines combining 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Planinic made a put-back, but also hit only 1 of 4 free throws, while Hines scored a put-back of his own before Spanoulis hit a jumper with 52 seconds left for 77-78. With couple of offensive rebounds from Planinic, Maccabi kept possession for the majority the remaining time, but Ohayon missed twice and Smith missed a potential go-ahead jumper as well. Papanikolaou grabbed a rebound, and got sent to the foul line with 3.5 seconds to go. However, Papanikolaou missed both free throws and Maccabi tried to race down the floor to win the game, but Planinic’s dunk came after the buzzer and Reds started their celebrations on the floor of Nokia Arena.
Thursday, January 24, 2013