Olympiacos improved to 2-0 with an 83-72 win over Unicaja at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Greece, on Thursday. Ioannis Bourousis stood tall with 20 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Reds, who visit co-Group A leader Cibona next week. Unicaja dropped to 1-1 before its trip to Avellino next week. The home fans built a wonderful atmosphere at the sold-out arena, but Unicaja came ready to ruin the party and led by Marcus Haislip. scored the game’s first 7 points and led 6-15 in the early going. Lynn Greer and Bourousis paced an 11-0 run early in the second period, but the game stayed close and the Reds led 39-38 at halftime. A collective team effort led by Bourousis, Josh Childress and Giorgos Printezis saw Olympiacos pull away in the third quarter. Robert Archibald and Boniface NDong continued to battle for Unicaja down the stretch, but Olympiacos was able to hold on and take an impressive win. Childress finished with 15 points, Printezis added 12 and Greer had 11 for the home team. Archibald paced Unicaja with 17 points and 7 rebounds, Thomas Kelati scored all of his 15 points from downtown and Haislip and NDong added 11 each.
Unicaja came out hot and raced to a 0-7 lead behind 4 points from Haislip. Printezis got Olympiacos on the scoreboard, but Unicaja was dictating the tempo as Kelati connected from behind the arc and Archibald and NDong dominated the paint for a 6-15 lead. Childress scored twice near the basket to cut into the lead, but Kelati from the perimeter and Haislip inside helped Unicaja push its advantage to double figures. Greer and Bouroussis managed to offer offensive solutions for the Reds to close the first quarter down just 14-20.
Olympiacos seemed determined to extend its run and baskets by Greer and Bouroussis saw the Reds finish an impressive 11-0 charge to sail in front 21-20. Kelati added another triple, but Bouroussis was there again to dunk the ball and tie the score at 23-23. Unicaja kept on connecting with the basket, though, as Jiri Welsch chipped in two baskets and Kelati hit his fourth three-pointer to give the visitors a 23-30 lead. Bouroussis stepped up once more, this time from three-point range. Then Childress threw down a pair of baseline dunks – including a tomahawk slam-plus-foul worthy of any highlight reel – to bring his team within 1. Greer tied it from the line, but Archibald answered back with a nice basket-plus-foul for 35-38 Unicaja lead. Theo Papaloukas made sure that Olympiacos was the team to go into halftime with the lead as he scored twice to make it 39-38 at the break.
Printezis finished a fast break and Bouroussis added another triple at the start of the second half to push Olympiacos to 44-38. Archibald hurt the hosts inside with a couple of free throws, but Olympiacos started moving the ball well and found open opportunities, with Printezis capitalizing by scoring a pair of baskets. The hosts controlled the rhythm as Panagiotis Vassilopoulos chipped in a three-pointer and Childress created a double-digit difference for the first time, 55-45. Still Unicaja had 10 minutes to change things as Olympiacos took a 60-48 lead into the fourth quarter.
The visitors seemed to have run out of energy as the difference kept increasing with Yotam Halperin scoring to make it 62-48. Archibald dunked the ball and drew a foul to keep his team in the picture and Kelati's three-pointer-plus-foul cut it to 63-56. When Archibald threw down another dunk, the guests had closed the gap to 5 and coach Giannakis had to call for a timeout. Childress returned for a trademark layup-plus-foul and then dunked off a great steal to push the lead to 68-58. The play of the day came from NDong, whose terrific slam-dunk drew the applause of the home crowd. Olympiacos was now ready for some show-time as Printezis ran the floor to dunk the ball and increase the margin to 77-63 as the Reds closed out their second win.
Thursday, October 30, 2008