Olympiacos crushes ASVEL in another defensive masterclass
Olympiacos Piraeus claimed another solid home win by defeating LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday night. The Reds had a slow start in offense, but the defense suffocated its opponent once again from the very beginning. A 20-10 edge after 10 minutes turned into a 39-21 halftime margin that paved the way for Olympiacos, which is now 8-0 at home and 11-5 overall. Tyler Dorsey led all scorers with 19 points in just 21 minutes. Sasha Vezenkov followed him with 15 on 6-of-7 two-point shooting, as Kostas Papanikolaou posted 13 points and 6 boards. Dylan Osetkowski poured in 13 points to pace ASVEL, as Youssoupha Fall and Marcos Knight scored 11 apiece in the losing effort. ASVEL is now 7-9, having lost 4 in a row and 7 of the last 8.
The visitors found easy baskets inside from Osetkowski and Youssoupha Fall to get an early lead. The Reds struggled in offense until Vezenkov, Papanikolau and Dorsey combined to fuel a 12-2 run to put the hosts in front, 12-6, after 5 minutes. James Gist brought ASVEL back on the scoring path, but Thomas Walkup and Kostas Sloukas extended the margin to 16-8. The guests got some stops when Kostas Antetokounmpo took the court, but it was not enough to prevent Olympiacos from achieving a double-digit lead, 20-10, at the end of the first period.
Youssoupha Fall opened fire with a layup to help ASVEL, but that was the only field goal by any team in the first 4 minutes of the second quarter. A short scoring spark behind points from Hassan Martin, Sloukas and Shaq McKissic returned a 10-point lead for the home team, 26-16, midway through the second quarter. Antoine Diot struck back with a triple, but Olympiacos took advantage of a trey by Sloukas and free throws from Dorsey and McKissic to open a solid 35-21 margin after 18 minutes. A dunk by Moustapha Fall and a long two by Dorsey made it even worse for ASVEL, which trailed 39-21 at halftime.
Dorsey showed up from deep to make it 42-21 right after the break, as Papanikolaou helped the home team keep doubling ASVEL, 46-23. Despite Osetkowski’s hustle on the offensive end, Dorsey dug it even deeper, 52-27, after back-to-back treys. Another 8-0 spark in which Vezenkov had 6 points boosted the advantage beyond the 30-point frontier, 65-34. Even though Antetokounmpo and Knight stepped up to help ASVEL recover some offensive rhythm, the Reds entered the last period with the game totally under control at 65-38.
Papanikolaou provided a fastbreak layup and a triple on a 7-0 run that made it 72-38 with still 7 minutes remaining. Elie Okobo ended with ASVEL’s drought by hitting from behind the arc, as Georgios Printezis joined the Olympiacos party by scoring once from each available spot; first he hit a couple of free throws, then added an inside bucket, and later drilled a three to set a game-high difference at 79-43, sealing another home win for the Reds long before the final buzzer.
The Reds excelled again in defense
Olympiacos Piraeus displayed a terrific defensive performance one more time, just 48 hours later they limited FC Bayern Munich to 60 points in Round 15. In this game, the Reds held LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne to 54 points, its second-best defensive performance this season after defeating Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 75-50 in Round 1. This confirmed how strong Olympiacos feels at home, as it remains perfect at the Peace and Friendship Stadium (8-0). Before this game, the Greek champs averaged 66.5 ppg on defense by holding opponents to 45.9% two-point and 26.7% three-point shooting while forcing 13.8 turnovers on them. On this night, ASVEL respected those numbers almost exactly as it went for 19-of-43 in two-pointers (44.2%), 4-of-14 in threes (28.6%) and committed 14 turnovers.
Perfect week, record win
The 89-54 (+35) victory against ASVEL became the biggest so far this season for Olympiacos, which had already collected powerful wins before against Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (75-50, +25) in Round 1, AX Armani Exchange Milan (72-93, +21) in Round 12 and against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv (90-73, +17) in Round 11. This particular week, Olympiacos showed no mercy twice in less than 48 hours, as Bayern left the Peace and the Friendship Stadium with a 23-point loss (83-60) on Wednesday. Overall, Olympiacos has averaged a 29-point difference in two games, making the fans more than confident before the next Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game against arch-rival Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Numbers don’t lie
The home team was better than ASVEL in all statistical categories except in steals, as the visitors had 6 against Olympiacos’s 5. It made no difference, though, because the Reds shot the ball better, averaging 65.7% in two-pointers, 40% from long range and 76.5% from the line compared to 44.2%, 28.6% and 44.4% for ASVEL. The rebounding battle was carnage too, as the hosts outrebounded their opponent 41-24. Even though the teams were almost balanced in assists (16 vs 14) and turnovers (12 vs 14), the total PIR of each team was a perfect summary of what happened on court this night: 107 vs 44.
Friday, December 17, 2021