It has been a highly-productive, Spanish-themed two-round week for Olympiacos Piraeus, which leaned on intense defense to gain an impressive 60-69 road victory at FC Barcelona Lassa on Tuesday and then turned on its offensive jets to overpower Herbalife Gran Canaria 98-77 two days later. The key behind Olympiacos's near triple figure performance in Piraeus on Thursday was its ability to move the ball quickly and accurately, leading to a new club record of 29 assists – exceeding the previous high of 28 recorded more than nine years ago against Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Predictably, the chief orchestrator of Olympiacos's smooth passing display this week was Vassilis Spanoulis, whose total of 8 assists was just one aspect of an excellent all-around showing from the 36-year-old. He also scored a game-high 21 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and claimed 4 rebounds – and perhaps just as significantly, as he has struggled in this department in recent weeks, Spanoulis only committed 1 turnover.
That all added up to a performance index rating of 31 for Olympiacos's talisman, which is the highest tally he has achieved in more than four years – he posted a PIR of 33 against Neptunas Klaipeda in October 2014. Kill Bill is back…as if he had ever been away.
Another notable aspect of the assists record is that Nikola Milutinov dished 5 of them for a new career high, showing that Olympiacos's ability to keep the ball moving did not rely exclusively on the backcourt and underlining the growing sensation that Milutinov – still only 23 years old – is rapidly developing into one of the elite big men in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. With that team defense, that team offense, Spanoulis still delivering and Milutinov getting better all the time, Olympiacos is becoming quite a force.