Olympiacos kept the top spot in Group A and improved to 5-1 in the standings by simply overwhelming Air Avellino 91-66 in Athens, Greece on Wednesday night. Olympiacos may share first place with Cibona at the end of this round if the Croatian powerhouse downs Maccabi Electra in Tel Aviv tomorrow. Meanwhile, Avellino dropped to 2-4 and hosts Maccabi in a make-or-break game next week. Josh Childress led the winners with 13 points. Ioannis Bourousis, Lynn Greer and Milos Teodosic each added 11 while Nikola Vujcic had 10 for Olympiacos. Chris Warren led Avellino with 16 points. Eric Williams added 12, Tamar Slay had 11 while Mike Nardi got 10 for the guests, who trailed 25-22 early in the second quarter. Bourousis and Teodosic fueled a game-breaking 23-3 run that put the Reds ahead for good, 48-35. Olympiacos boosted its margin to 73-40 after 30 minutes and never looked back.
Olympiacos started with Bourousis bearing offensive responsibility as the hosts moved ahead 5-2. Soon, however, Warren stepped up for a dunk and Nikola Radulovic fired in a three-pointer to make it 5-9 for Avellino. It was time for the Reds to tighten their defense, and around a pair of Avellino misses, Greer scored the game's next 5 points to put Olympiacos in front again, 10-9. Childress had 2 layups to a single by Travis Best before Warren drilled a three-pointer from the wing to tie 14-14. Olympiacos looked inside again to find Vujcic and Schortsianitis before Theodoros Papaloukas finished the quarter with a baseline jumper and the hosts in charge at 20-16.
Schortsianitis proved unstoppable on offense with 5 quick points to open the second quarter by stretching the Olympiacos lead near to double digits, 25-16. Williams dunked twice and Best drove for the game's next 6 points as Avellino pulled within 25-22, but Olympiacos now got hot on the perimeter, too. Yotam Halperin, Bourousis and Teodosic chipped in a triple each as the Reds zoomed ahead 36-22. Warren stopped Avellino's slide at the free-throw line, but again Olympiacos reacted immediately with a layup by Bourousis and a three-pointer by Greer to go to the lockers with its biggest lead yet, 41-25.
Avellino needed to get something started after halftime, but it was Olympiacos which blasted off with a 7-0 run started by Zoran Erceg and finished from long distance by Teodosic. Williams dunked again to end Avellino's scoring silence, but Childress was ready to run the floor and score some layups using his great athleticism to let Olympiacos double the guests on the scoreboard, 54-27. Avellino seemed uninspired for comeback as the Reds enjoyed easy opportunities for open shots and the margin reached 30 points, 61-31, on a three-point basket-plus-free throw by Halperin. Even when Slay hit a triple for Avellino, Vassilopoulos matched him at the other end ti give the Reds a 73-40 lead after 30 minutes.
With the final winner already decided, the two head coaches had the opportunity to try out some plays. Every Red had seen more than five minutes of playing action before the start of the last quarter. Greer added another three-pointer to his tally to make it 76-40. Nardi and Warren combined for 6 points to cut it a bit to 80-48, but it was too little as the Reds coasted to an easy win.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008