Olympiacos, which dispatched Asseco Prokom Gdynia 90-73
Olympiacos sits on the doorstep of a second Final Four in a row after shedding pesky Asseco Prokom Gdynia with a 90-73 home victory in Game 2 of their Playoffs series at home on Thursday in Pireaus, Greece. Olympiacos leads the best-of-five series 2-0 and can clinch when the teams meet in Game 3 next Tuesday in Gdynia, Poland. As in Game 1, the Reds had trouble shaking Prokom, which had a shot to lead late in the third quarter, but missed and let Olympiacos pull away from there. The winners were led again by Linas Kleiza, who piled up 26 points and 9 rebounds. Theo Papaloukas came off the bench to hit 4 of 6 three-pointers on his way to 20 points. Milos Teodosic had 14 points and 12 assists, his career high and the third-most in playoffs history. Josh Childress rounded out the effort with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Qyntel Woods was again everywhere for Prokom, with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Daniel Ewing added 19 points for the guests and Ratko Varda 10, but Prokom will go home searchign for its first-ever playoff victory to keep the series alive.
Both teams changed starters for Game 2, with Olympiacos bringing out Scoonie Penn at point guard and Prokom opting for Jan Jagla at power forward. Nonetheless, Kleiza picked up where he left off in Game 1, swishing a three-pointer to open the scoring. Daniel Ewing had that honor for Prokom with a fastbreak layup. Schortsanitis and Childress exchanged free throws with Ewing before the Reds suddenly soared on consecutive triples by Kleiza and Teodosic at 12-4. After a Prokom timeout, consecutive offensive reounds let Woods rock the rim with a spin and dunk. Jagla put back another offensive rebound, but Schortsanitis at the other end did the same, while Kleiza hit a two-point jumper for the first double-digit advantage, 18-8. Ewing got loose for another fastbreak and a follow-úp dunk, but in between Teodosic popped a jumper. And Kleiza would not be denied, who scored 3 points the hard way to make it 23-12. Woods took a basket back for Prokom, but Boruousis matched it and Olympiacos ws in charge, 25-14, after 10 minutes.
The beat went on in the second quarter as Papaloukas drove for a layup and dunked, exchanging the same baskets with Woods, before Teodosic's next shot upped the difference to 31-18. Woods kept up his rhythm at the foul line, as Papaloukas kept up his by feeding Mavrokefalidis for a layup. Kleiza returned with a short jumper and now Teodosic found Mavrokefalidis with a nifty pass to make it 37-20. Ronnie Burrell got back 3 points for Prokom, but Childress insisted for an inside basket and Papaloukas erased Varda free throws with a jumper and a dunk to maintain the Reds comfortably ahead, 44-27. Or so it seemed, until Woods and Varda started shredding the Olympiacos defense and getting to the foul line for a sudden 0-8 run to lower the difference to 44-35. Olympiacos took a timeout after which Teodosic hit Yotam Halperin cutting for a lyup. But Ewing had the last say, from three-point distance, to leave a 46-38 scoreboard at the half.
The second half started with Prokom keeping its momentum on a steal and dunk by Logan. Neither team could find the basket then until Jagla stole and hit a baseline jumper that made it a whole new ballgame at 46-42. When Logan fed Adam Lapeta for a transition dunk, however, Childress responded with a triple from the corner that let the Olympiacos fans release a breath. But Prokom was feeling good, and when Ewing's inside basket was followed by Logan drilling from the arc, it was all tied up, 49-49. Free throws by Teodosic off an intentional foul kept Olympiakos in front during a couple tense minutes before the Reds looked to get Kleiza re-started. His short jumper and free throws made it 55-49, but Ewing drilled a corner triple in response. Kleiza got back to the line, staying perfect there, while Woods twirled in the lane for a beatuiful basket and Logan fed Varda for another to make it 57-56. Prokom's miss trying for its first go-ahead shot all game was punished by Papaloukas feeding Teodosic for a fastbreak triple that forced a timeout by the guests at 60-56. Adam Hrycaniuk scored inside for Prokom and Childress for Olympiacos to serve up a 62-58 difference at the end of three quarters.
The tandem of Nikola Vujcic and Papaloukas set up the latter's triple to open the final quarter, but Woods banked in from closer to keep Prokom within 65-60. Kleiza found a new way to score, with a sensational baseline dunk and bonus free throw, before Childress blocked Varda and sent Papaloukas for a fastbreak triple to restore the first double-digit lead in some time, 71-60. But no one was forgetting Game 1, least of all Prokom, which got an inside drop-in from Varda before Kleiza stole from him for another dunk. Teodosic passing to Papaloukas and Vujcic on consecutive fastbreaks kept the Reds rolling and forced another Prokom timeout at 77-62 with 6 minutes left. Fatigue looked like a factor now for the guests, but they quickly got a three-point play from Woods. When he added a free throw and Ewing a triple, Prokom was again within single digits, 78-69, with under 4 minutes remaining. Unlike in Game 1, however, Olympiacos took care of the ball and got free throws from Childress and Teodosic to keep the difference out of danger. When Papaloukas buried a three-pointer at 84-69 with 2 minutes left, it finished off the victory with the Reds no doubt dreaming more than ever of Paris and the Final Four.
Thursday, March 25, 2010