Madrid entered the final five minutes up 62-55 and Spanoulis had a wide-open three and missed. And after Madrid did not score on three consecutive possessions, Nocioni nailed a three for a double-digit lead. A minute later he came up with a huge block on Sloukas. If Madrid hangs on, and it does have a 14-points lead with 2:34 to go, we could be talking about those two shots and that block putting the end to Olympiacos hopes.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 21:47
What time is it?
Sergio Rodriguez scored his first points in the last minute of the third quarter. We did not mention him much here, not did we write about Vassilis Spanoulis. But the fourth quarter is underway, so it is time to say that Spanoulis has only 3 points and has taken only 3 shots the entire game. He has 3 assists and 4 turnovers. And Olympiacos is down by 8 with 8 minutes to go. Is it Spanoulis time again?
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 21:28
Crazy runs at both ends
The defenses are definitely getting the better of offenses, which is what Olympiacos hoped for. And its 0-12 run, which featured back-to-back triples from Sloukas and Lojeski got the Reds’ briefly back in front as the section with their fans went crazy. Lojeski is playing great, and has taken over Rudy on defense, but Carroll is the one who got hot. Three triples in 100 seconds. Then he showed great awareness and focus to get himself open under the rim for an easy reverse layup. That made it 11 straight points and 16 for the game. It is 51-44 with 69 seconds to go in the third.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 21:21
Key defensive matchups
Coach Laso goes with Maciulis at the start of the second half. He is Madrid’s top scorer with 9 points and is guarding Lojeski, who scored 10 points in the first six minutes of the game, but none since then. While the two top scorers go against each other, Llull is guarding Spanoulis, Ayon with 2 personal fouls is on Printezis, while Reyes is battling Dunston. On the other end, Spanoulis is in charge of Rudy Fernandez, who found himself wide-open for a triple that gave Madrid its first double-digit lead of the final, 40-29.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 21:11
Madrid’s trio from the bench provides spark
Madrid went up 32-26, but Hunter came up with a huge put-back and Lafayette drew an offensive foul from Reyes, two plays that stopped Madrid's momentum. However, that basket from Hunter was the lone Olympiacos field goal in the last 5:32 of the quarter. Meanwhile, an offensive foul on Reyes was the eighth turnover by Los Blancos in the first half. They had 0 for the first 24 minutes and 14 seconds of the semifinals game. Still, a triple from K.C. Rivers makes it a 7-point game at halftime. Maciulis (9), Nocioni (6) and River (3) – all of them off the bench - scored 18 of 20 Madrid’s points in the second quarter. It is 35-28 at the break.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 20:49
Maciulis shines as Spanoulis struggles
So, after we wrote that Madrid's bench is scoreless, Maciulis and Nocioni score first 13 points of the second quarter for Madrid. On the other end, hero Spanoulis missed 3 free throws and airballed a triple. These feel like really important moments of the game as Madrid caught some momentum. So far, game is real physical, as a championship game should be. Joe Arlauckas said this week “You get to the Final Four playing beautiful basketball, but you win championships playing ugly.“
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 20:39
Benches playing big roles
Brent Petway and Hunter are playing significant roles early on. The two of them and Lojeski combined for 9 points in the semifinals, and tonight they have scored 15 of the first 21 for the Reds. However, plays by Jonas Maciulis and Andres Nocioni show just how little Madrid needs to get it going. Maciulis already has 5 points after scoring just 2 in less than seven minutes on the floor in the semis. It just show how both of the finalists have deep benches. A little more data for you, after making 22 of 27 free throws in semis, Madrid has been to the line just once – and missed – in the first 14 minutes of the game tonight.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 20:32
Foul trouble for Madrid’s bigs
Jaycee Carroll started the championship game just like he did in the semifinals. This is only his eighth start of the season. Coach Pablo Laso went with two Sergios – Llull and Rodriguez – in the backcourt in the last three minutes of the quarter, but Madrid's problems could be under the rims where both Ayon and Bourousis already picked up 2 personal fouls apiece. Madrid scored only one basket in the final five minutes of the first quarter, and Los Blanocs are still waiting for their first points off the bench. After 10 minutes, it is 15-19.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 20:20
Lojeski starts strong for Reds
Madrid forced 3 early turnovers, but the Reds' bounced back nicely, going inside to Bryant Dunston and Georgios Printezis against Gustavo Ayon, who was big for Madrid on Friday, but soon on the bench after picking up 2 personal fouls in only two and a half minutes. Madrid is trying to run the floor, but Olympiacos countered the same way and it paid dividends. Lojeski already has 10 points on perfect shooting after not being a big factor on Friday, when he played only 13 minutes and scored 2 points.
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 20:12
The champs are in the building!
We don’t know yet who will win and who will mourn a lost opportunity tonight, but either way the 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague champions are in the building. Olympiacos Piraeus was first to arrive with Real Madrid following shortly thereafter. Naturally, Vassilis Spanoulis was first off the bus to lead the Reds into Barclaycard Center, where he will put his 7-0 Final Four record on the line. Rudy Fernandez was the last player in, looking poised as he tries for his first crown. The atmosphere in and around the arena is loud and cheerful with it clear to all that history is in the making!
Madrid - Sunday, May 17, 18:35