Olympiacos rides McLean over CSKA
Olympiacos Piraeus edged CSKA Moscow 88-86 in a thriller between the teams with the top two records in the EuroLeague on Wednesday at Peace and Friendship Stadium. With the Reds’ starting frontcourt of Georgios Printezis and Nikola Milutinov sidelined, Jamel McLean took advantage of his opportunity and erupted for 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead Olympiacos, which matched CSKA for the best record in the league at 10-3. Vassilis Spanoulis produced 16 points and 8 assists for the winners, while Kostas Papanikolaou scored 15 before fouling out and Janis Strelnieks 10. Sergio Rodriguez paced CSKA with 23 points, Nando De Colo added 18, Will Clyburn tallied 13 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Hines had 11 and 8.
Olympiacos got off to a promising start with a three-point play from Spanoulis followed by a Kyle Wiltjer triple for a 6-2 lead, but Nikita Kurbanov had a pair of steals and Rodriguez 5 points in a 0-11 CSKA run to put the visitors in control, 6-13. After an Olympiacos timeout, Spanoulis and Papanikolaou sandwiched threes around a second Rodriguez triple. When Wiltjer drained his next three, it was 15-16. McLean scored 5 points in a 7-0 flourish to end the quarter with the hosts up 23-20. Papanikolaou started the second quarter with a four-point play and Ioannis Papapetrou added a triple to keep CSKA at bay. Rodriguez and De Colo kept the CSKA attack rolling, but McLean used a spin move to get to the rim for a two-handed jam that kept the fans singing at 35-28. However CSKA picked up its game at that point as Clyburn scored twice in a 0-11 run that put the visitors on top. Hollis Thompson’s layup on the halftime buzzer drew the hosts within 45-48.
De Colo started the second half with a layup, but Olympiacos stayed close behind and McLean tied it from the line, 52-52, less than four minutes in. CSKA responded with the game’s next 10 points – 4 of them from the hands of De Colo – to surge ahead. McLean scored twice to get the Reds rolling again and Spanoulis carried the hosts to 64-68 at the end of the third quarter. A steal by Papanikolaou begat a Strelnieks layup and the guard soon drilled a pull-up triple to close the gap to 71-72. Papanikolaou’s offensive rebound and three-point play gave Olympiacos the lead and the forward followed that with a triple. After a CSKA timeout, Papapetrou’s slam capped a 13-0 run for a 79-72 advantage. Papanikolaou fouled out with four minutes left and Rodriguez nailed a three to make it a one-possession game. After Hines split free throws it was 81-79, but CSKA did not score for the next two minutes, while free throws by Spanoulis and Hollis Thompson put the hosts up 5. De Colo netted a three to make it 86-84 with 14.9 seconds to go. After a series of free throws, Clyburn missed a wild three from halfcourt at the buzzer and Olympiacos collected the victory.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017