Olympiacos to Final Four as Printezis does it again
At the end of a dramatic fourth quarter that featured nine lead changes and six ties, Georgios Printezis played the role of hero again with a three-pointer on the buzzer to lift Olympiacos Piraeus over FC Barcelona 71-68 at Peace and Friendship Stadium to win their playoff series 3-1 and return to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. Printezis, who already earned legend status at his boyhood club when he scored the winning basket in the 2012 Euroleague Championship Game, finished with 14 points for the Reds. Vassilis Spanoulis led the Olympiacos attack with 17 points and 5 assists and Vangelis Mantzaris added 11 points. It was the third straight win for Olympiacos, which lost Game 1 of the series in Spain. Ante Tomic led Barcelona with 13 points, Tomas Satoransky scored 12 and Alex Abrines 11 as the team’s Euroleague season came to an end.
First quarter: Little separates the sides early
Maciej Lampe made his second straight at power forward for Barcelona and scored on the game’s first possession. Lampe then fouled his counterpart and Georgios Printezis sank the resulting free throws. Tomic and Bryant Dunston traded points in the paint before Abrines drained a long jumper. Lampe and Dunston blocked shots at each end. Printezis tied the score at 6-6. Spanoulis’s long pass led to Tremmell Darden’s tough layup and foul. Tomic made it 9-8 after five minutes. Othello Hunter sank free throws for the Reds, but both defenses made getting shots tough. Abrines ended a three-minute drought for his team with a triple to tie the score. Feeling confident, Abrines buried a second three. Kostas Sloukas lofted a pass for a Brent Petway alley-oop slam, but Brad Oleson nailed a triple to put the visitors up 4. Sloukas’s 2 free throws and another 1 from Hunter closed the gap to 16-17 at the end of the quarter.
Second quarter: Navarro, Tomic lead Barca surge for halftime edge
Oliver Lafayette’s jumper put the hosts in front before Sloukas added a jumper. Barcelona came back as Marcelinho Huertas made a baseline floater and DeShaun Thomas scored on the offensive glass. Tibor Pleiss’s free throws made it 20-23. Sloukas’s next jumper was neutralized by Thomas’s free throws. Spanoulis tied the score at 25-25 with a fade-away three-pointer. Tomas Satoransky free throws nosed Barcelona back in front, but Hunter rose for an offensive rebound and slam. Juan Carlos Navarro’s tough layup and Tomic’s nifty move in the paint gave Barcelona a 4-point cushion. After a timeout, Spanoulis missed a shot from downtown and Navarro pulled up and made his. Tomic split free throws to cap a 0-8 run. Printezis produced another of his trademarked one-handed shots, but Navarro ran the pick-and-roll with Lampe for a layup by the latter and a 29-37 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Spanoulis sends Olympiacos ahead
An Abrines put back gave Barcelona a double-digit lead a minute and a half into the second half. Mantzaris countered with a three-pointer before Mantzaris’s floater made it 34-39. Tomic split free throws as points remained tough for both sides to come by. Satoransky twisted his way through the paint for a basket plus foul only to see Petway sink a three from the wing. Tomic dunked in transition to make it 37-45. After a timeout, Petway connected on a second three. And then Spanoulis did the same. Satoransky found an opening in the Olympiacos defense for an easy slam. Hunter countered with a three-point play to make it a 1-point game. Pleiss scored on the offensive glass to keep Barcelona on top. Spanoulis’s free throws and bank shot put the Reds ahead 50-49, but Tomic split free throws to make it 50-50.
Fourth quarter: After nine lead changes and six ties, Printezis stars
Tomic put Barcelona ahead, but Printezis split free throws and then scored in the paint for a 53-52 edge. Spanoulis’s layup brought the crowd to its feet. After three scoreless minutes for his team, Barcelona Coach Xavi Pascual called timeout. Juston Doellman, who was scoreless till that point, tied the game with a three-pointer. Dunston fouled out with five minutes remaining, but Tomic missed both of the resulting free throws. A Satoransky tip-in gave the visitors the lead, but Spanoulis responded with a three for a 58-57 Olympiacos advantage. Doellman free throws gave the lead back to Barcelona. Mantzaris banked in a lead-changing three, but Satoranski matched him. Oleson free throws made it 61-64 with less than two minutes remaining. Abrines split free throws to make it a two-possession game with 1:14 remaining. Mantzaris connected on a clutch three with less than a minute to go and a poor Tomic pass led to a Lafayette steal and a Printezis slam for a 66-65 edge with 39.5 seconds to go. Navarro made key free throws, but Spanoulis scored a short jumper with 8.3 seconds left. Mantzaris fouled Navarro, who only made 1 of 2 free throws to tie it at 68-68 with 5.2 seconds on the clock. Olympiacos had tome for one last play and got the ball to Printezis, who buried a three on the buzzer as Peace and Friendship Stadium erupted with joy.
Thursday, April 23, 2015