Bamberg's shooters steal late victory over Reds!
A trio of three-point strikes in the final 90 seconds lifted Brose Baskets Bamberg to a dramatic 72-71 victory over visiting Olympiacos Piraeus on Thursday to make the playoffs race in Group F even closer. Both teams are now 4-6 with just four games to play. They won't know until this week's games end if they are tied for seventh or sixth place or whether they are one or two victories out of the playoff positions. After Daniel Theis got Bamberg closer with a three-pointer, Bamberg still trailed by 5 points, 66-71, with under 1 minute left. Nikos Zisis hit his only basket of the game, a triple, with 41 seconds left. After a defensive stop, Brad Wanamaker passed corner-to-corner to Janis Strelnieks, whose game-winner from behind the arc fell with 4.7 seconds left. Wanamaker and Leon Radosevic led the winners with 11 points each, while Strelnieks and Nicolo Melli each had 10. Olympiacos got 19 points and 10 rebounds from Georgios Printezis, 17 points from Othello Hunter, plus 15 points and 9 assists from Vassilis Spanoulis. But the Reds went home empty-handed after not making a 23-5 advantage in free throw attempts work for them by making just 15, or 65%, for the night.
First quarter: Spanouls passes Reds in front
A steal at one end leading to a Spanoulis-to-Printezis three-point connection at the other got Olympiacos off on the right foot. Almost 3 minutes passed before Lucca Staiger did the same from the corner for a 3-3 tie. After Spanoulis led Hunter for a dunk, Staiger fired again from downtown, providing Bamberg's first lead. A three-point play the hard way by Radosevic made it 9-5 before Hunter returned the favor and Printezis twirled for a go-ahead layup at 9-10 for Olympiacos. Wanamaker answered from mid-range and Daniel Hackett backed in for a jump hook as the lead changed hands twice, as it would again when Melli downed free throws. Bamberg's passing game soon found Staiger in the corner for his third triple of the first quarter and a 16-12 advantage. Printezis's put-back, steal and three-pointer in a span of 30 seconds regained a 16-18 advantage for the visitors. Hakeem Warrick of Olympiacos hit a free throw for his first Euroleague point ever before Melli matched his 1 of 2 at the other end. Hackett fed Printezis for a back-door layup that Strelnieks matched with a pull-back shot to finish the first quarter 19-21 in favor of Olympiacos.
Second quarter: Bamberg rallies from 8 down
Warrick was perfect at the foul line to up the lead to 19-23 to start the second quarter. Patrick Heckmann drilled a corner triple to keep Bamberg close, but Spanoulis hit a long two-pointer in response. Darius Johnson-Odom went one step further for a triple that boosted Olympiacos ahead by 22-28. Hunter scored inside on what was the sixth assist already by Spanoulis. Heckmann kept the home fires burning with a strong layup that Radosevic soon copied to make it 26-30. Spanoulis bounded out of a timeout and buried a triple from the top, while Radosevic got the roll on a baseline jumper at 28-33. After Hunter's free throw, Radosevic scored inside again before Darius Miller did the same for Bamberg to make it 32-34. Strelnieks stepped back to hammer a game-tying jumper, but Hunter fed Printezis for a huge dunk to keep Olympiacos ahead. Melli's turnaround shot tied it again and then Radosevic hit his own as Bamberg jumped ahead 38-36. A huge block by Melli preserved the lead, and after Printezis split free throws, the hosts went into halftime ahead 38-37.
Third quarter: Reds run, but not away
Printezis missed 2 free throws but got his own miss and Spanoulis drove to take the lead for Olympiacos at the start of the second half. When Hunter hit both of free throws, the visitors were ahead 38-41. Wanamaker broke Bamberg's drought with a game-tying triple from the top but otherwise points were hard to come by until Spanoulis fed Printezis for a go-ahead layup. Kostas Papanikolaou then turned a steal into a fastbreak layup and a 41-45 Olympiacos edge. Printezis hit both free throws after his fourth and his team's 10th offensive rebound. next, Spanoulis hung in the air from a jumper at 41-48. Miller got a tough basket for Bamberg, but Warrick then made 3 of 4 free throws for the game's highest lead yet, 43-52. Strelnieks gave Bamberg new life with a corner three-pointer of his own before assisting Melli on another to make it 49-53.
Fourth quarter: Bamberg shooters rock the house!
A tip-in by Theis to open the final quarter got Bamberg closer but Hunter broke loose for a dunk in response. Radosevic pulled a monster offensive rebound and fed Wanamaker for a three-pointer at 56-58, but Hackett went the other way and drove for a strong layup to keep Olympiacos a step ahead. Dueling blocks by Radosevic and Papanikolaou preceded Spanoulis with a patented layup, but Wanamaker answered with another shot from downtown at 59-62. Printezis made a great feed to Hunter for a dunk that Melli answered with a turnaround. When Spanoulis fed Hunter for an even better dunk, Miller answered with a smooth baseline jumper. Spanoulis had seen enough and drilled a triple to make it 63-69 with less than 2 minutes left. But Bamberg would not say die. First Theis, with 1:22 left, and then Nikos Zisis for another three-pointer, with 41.7 seconds left, suddenly reduced the difference to 69-71. After a miss by Spanoulis, Bamberg had a 26 seconds left and a chance to tie or go ahead. A corner-to-corner pass from Wanamaker found Strelnieks open and he drilled the go-ahead triple at 4.7 seconds left. Olympiacos inbounded the ball three times to Spanoulis, but Bamberg committed both fouls it had to give before the Olympiacos guard lost the dribble off Melli's foot, leaving Bamberg to celebrate a crucial and miraculous victory!
Thursday, March 10, 2016