Olympiacos claims key road win at Barcelona
Olympiacos Piraeus bounced back from a Game 1 loss in the best-of-five playoffs series by downing FC Barcelona 63-76 on the road in Game 2 on Friday. The series is tied at 1-1, but Olympiacos now has the home-court advantage and hosts Games 3 and 4 next week. Georgios Printezis recorded one of the best games of his career to lead the Reds with 22 points and just 3 missed shots plus 9 rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis added 16 points and 5 assists and Vangelos Mantzaris scored 12 for the winners. Olympiacos biggest weapon was its defense. The 63 points it held Barcelona to tied the club’s record-low in the Euroleague Playoffs. Printezis and Spanoulis shined early to give Olympiacos a 3-9 lead. The Reds excelled on defense throughout the first quarter, shutting down their opponent, while Matt Lojeski and Othello Hunter kept Olympiacos ahead, 10-15 after 10 minutes. Three-pointers by Spanoulis and Oliver Lafayette soon made it a double-digit game, 10-21, and an outstanding Printezis gave Olympiacos a 15-29 margin midway through the second quarter. Juan Carlos Navarro brought Barcelona within 25-35 at halftime - the least points by the hosts in a Euroleague home game at the break since March 2006. A rain of three-pointers by Mantzaris, Spanoulis, Printezis and Lojeski saw Olympiacos improve its margin to 45-56 after three quarters. Hunter and Mantzaris boosted the guests' lead to 50-68 and Olympiacos kept full control until the final buzzer. Navarro paced the Barcelona attack with 16 points and Ante Tomic tallied 14 points and 14 rebounds.
First quarter: Olympiacos returns to the series
Vangelis Mantzaris got Olympiacos going with a three-pointer, as the Reds held Barcelona scoreless in the opening 2 minutes. A layup by Printezis gave the guests a 0-5 lead. Navarro swished a big triple of the dribble, but unlike in Game 1, Olympiacos controlled the defensive board and the game tempo. Printezis hit an off-balance jump hook, which Spanoulis followed with his trademark driving layup for a 3-9 Olympiacos lead. Tomic stepped up with an up-and-under layup and free throws by Maciej Lampe got Barcelona within 7-9. Spanoulis found Othello Hunter for a two-handed slam and nailed a stop-and-pop jumper himself to restore a 7-13 Olympiacos edge. Tomas Satoransky split free throws, but a one-handed jumper by Matt Lojeski made it a 7-point game. Tibor Pleiss hit foul shots to bring the hosts a bit closer, 10-15, after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Reds keep rolling
Barcelona kept struggling to score early in the quarter, while Spanoulis and Oliver Lafayette buried back-to-back three-pointers off a screen, which caused the hosts to stop the game at 10-21. Edwin Jackson beat the buzzer - and ignited the crowd - with a wild triple. Printezis hit a jump hook off the baseline and a layup by Hunter boosted the Reds' lead to 13-25. Printezis dunked off a midcourt steal, but Navarro matched it with a driving basket. After Printezis banked in a close shot, Lampe scored down low and free throws by DeShaun Thomas and Satoransky brought the hosts within 19-29. Bryant Dunston took over with a wild alley-oop slam and a big block on Tomic. Navarro nailed a step-back three-pointer to get Barcelona within single digits, 22-31. Printezis answered from downtown and Lojeski split free throws, but Navarro insisted from beyond the arc to fix the halftime score at 25-35.
Third quarter: Three-pointers keep guests in charge
Satoransky scored around the basket immediately after the break, as Barcelona improved its defense, backed by a noisier crowd. A layup by Lampe soon brought the hosts within 29-35. A jumper by Tomic caused Olympiacos to call timeout at 31-35. Printezis stepped up for Olympiacos with a running hook and a floating jumper. Tomic scored around the basket, but Mantzaris did better with a three-pointer for a 33-42 advantage. Satoransky made free throws and a 'bomba' by Navarro brought Barcelona within 37-42. Spanoulis nailed a triple and improved Tomic's jump hook with another bomb from downtown that gave Olympiacos fresh air at 39-48. Marcelinho Huertas banked in a close shot and hit a one-handed floater, but three-pointers by Printezis and Lojeski caused the hosts to call timeout at 43-54. Navarro hit free throws, but Kostas Sloukas hit his trademark jumper off the dribble to give Olympiacos a 45-56 cushion.
Fourth quarter: Mantzaris threes ice the game
Hunter scored down low early in the quarter, but Mario Hezonja immediately answered with a three-pointer to make it 48-58. Hunter insisted with another layup. Huertas scored in the paint and an off-balance triple by Mantzaris silenced the crowd at 50-63 with over eight minutes left. Printezis beat the shot clock buzzer with a turnaround jumper and a three-pointer by Mantzaris boosted the guests' lead to 50-68. Navarro answered from downtown and a backdoor layup by Tomic gave Barcelona hope at 55-68. But Olympiacos kept running the clock down with long possessions and Lojeski finished one of those with a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 55-71, with under four minutes left. Tomic dunked, but it was already too little, too late for the hosts.
Friday, April 17, 2015