Olympiacos KO’d GS Medical Park 88-81
Olympiacos Piraeus advanced to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs with an 88-81 victory over Galatasaray Medical Park on Thursday. Vassilis Spanoulis dominated to the tune of 20 points, 8 assists and 4 steals to lead the Reds to victory. The Reds improved to 3-3 and finished in second place in the group over Galatasaray on a tiebreaker. Next Olympiacos faces Italian champion Montepaschi Siena in the best-of-five playoffs for the second year in a row. Olympiacos led from start to finish after opening the game with a 7-0 run. It was 24-14 after 10 minutes and 43-35 at halftime. The hosts went ahead 11 early in the third quarter. Jaka Lakovic scored 8 points in a 0-10 burst as Galatasaray closed the gap to 1, but the Reds wasted no time as Georgios Printezis and Acie Law combined for the next 10 points to put Olympiacos back in control, 64-53. From that point, the Reds found many heroes to answer each Galatasaray comeback attempt and held on for a huge win. Printezis added 16 points and Law scored 14. Luksa Andric paced six Galatasaray scorers in double figures with 15 points. Jamon Lucas scored 13 before leaving with an apparent ankle injury, Josh Shipp and Lakovic netted 12 each, Preston Shumpert 11 and Furkan Aldemir 10 as Galatasaray finished an impressive first season at Europe’s highest level.
Spanoulis fed Joey Dorsey for an alley-oop slam that brought the Olympiacos fans to their feet and he soon added a three-pointer from the corner. A put-back dunk by Dorsey capped a 7-0 Olympiacos start, as Lucas quickly stepped up with a five-meter jumper. Evangelos Mantzaris buried a triple, but Gordon nailed another shot and Andric scored down low to make it 10-6. Printezis scored around the basket before an unstoppable Gordon took over with a driving layup. Spanoulis nailed his second bomb from downtown and a layup-plus-foul by Kostas Papanikolaou made it a double-digit game, 18-8. Aldemir and Shipp sank free throws before a huge slam by Dorsey and a backdoor layup by Printezis put the Reds way ahead, 22-11. Shumpert nailed a seven-meter bomb only to see Dorsey feed Printezis for an easy basket that created a 24-14 Olympiacos lead after 10 minutes.
Haluk Yildirim, making his first appearance in the Top 16, opened the second quarter with a basket. Lakovic penetrated for a wild bucket and Aldemir scored 2 from the line as Galatasaray cut into the lead. Olympiacos called timeout, but a layup by Aldemir brought the guests closer at 26-22. Kostas Sloukas answered for the hosts, however Lucas connected from downtown to put 29-25 on the board. Kyle Hines muscled his way to 3 points from the line. Ender Arslan answered for the visitors with a basket-plus-foul. Andric and Hines traded scores before a Shipp triple made it 36-33. Hines rejected Andric in transition to keep the lead and then scored down low at the other end. Then Spanoulis blocked Lakovic and took the ball coast to coast for a layup as the Reds regained a comfortable lead. Lucas got 2 free throws for Galatasaray, but Spanoulis rifled in a triple for a 43-35 halftime lead.
Olympiacos matched its biggest lead from the first half after Printezis opened the second with a big three. Galatasaray was also hot from the perimeter as Shipp and Cevher Ozer knocked down threes to get within 48-41. Spanoulis penetrated for a basket, but Lucas responded by dribbling past Spanoulis for a bucket of his own. Lucas landed awkwardly on Papanikolaou while shooting a jumper limped off the floor. Spanoulis threw a perfect alley-oop to Dorsey and Law added basket in transition to restore a healthy lead, 54-43. Lakovic scored 5 straight points as Galatasaray worked its way back, but a pair of huge blocks by Dorsey kept the visitors at bay. However Lakovic went back outside for another 3 to cap a 0-10 run and make it a 1-point game. Printezis rescued the Reds with a basket on the offensive glass and Law followed with a basket on the break. The same two players both scored from the line as the Reds went back ahead 64-53. Andric, with a three-point play, and Aldemir reduced the deficit to 65-58. Lazaros Papadopoulos had the last word in the quarter with a hook shot for 67-58.
Shumpert opened the fourth quarter with a triple, but Spanoulis and Pero Antic restored the Reds’ double-digit lead. Aldemir and Shumpert tried to rally the visitors and trimmed the gap to 75-68. Antic stood tall to keep Olympiacos in control. And then Printezis pushed the hosts back up 79-70. Lakovic drove for a big basket only to see Spanoulis just about end the game with a clutch triple, a steal and a layup to make it 84-72. Galatasaray showed its true spirit as Shipp nailed a three with two minutes left, but when Law did the same, the outcome was clear.
Thursday, March 1, 2012