Olympiacos made it to the Top 16 in Group A by edging mighty CSKA Moscow 71-67 in Athens, Greece on Thursday night. Olympiacos improved to 7-4 and joined a four-way tie for the second place in the Group A standings along with Zalgiris Kaunas, Tau Ceramica and Montepaschi Siena, who all also qualified for the Top 16 this week. Meanwhile, CSKA dropped to 9-2 but still has a two-game lead ahead everyone else in the Group A standings. Milos Teodosic led the winners with 20 points on 4-for-4 two-pointers and 3-for-5 triples. Ioannis Bouroussis added 18, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks while Georgios Printezis had 11 points for the Reds. David Andersen led CSKA with a double-double of 21 points and 12 rebounds while Trajan Langdon added 17 points on 5-for-9 three-pointers for the guests. Bouroussis and Teodosic allowed Olympiacos to get a 39-33 edge at halftime. Langdon singlehandedly brought CSKA back in the game, 46-46, but free throws by Roderick Blackney gave the Reds a 67-59 edge with less than 3 minutes to go. A rain of three-pointers and a layup by Ramunas Siskauskas brought CSKA within 69-67 with 22 seconds to go, but Printezis dunked it to seal the Reds' win in style. Arvydas Macijauskas was awarded with Euroleague MVP honors for November before the games tip-off while a full-packed Piece and Friendship Stadium was singing his name, but this was his only presence on court tonight as he was sidelined due to an ankle injury.
Bouroussis opened the score with a one-handed dunk and Blackney added a basket in the traffic for an early 4-0 Olympiacos lead. Siskauskas posted for a nice hook to open the scoring for CSKA. Qyntel Woods and Langdon exchanged three-pointers to make it 9-7. Nikos Zisis came in off the bench for the visitors to tie it with a jumper, before Blackney copied him to make it 11-9. Siskauskas and Zissis put in consecutive baskets to put CSKA in front for the first time at 11-13. Zisis added another layup in the traffic for a 4-point edge, capping a 0-8 stretch for the Zisis and the visitors. Olympiacos reacted with baskets from Woods and Printezis make it even at 15 points after 10 minutes.
A difficult triple by Lynn Greer put the Reds ahead again at 18-15 and when Bouroussis tipped in the ball; Olympiacos was in the middle of a hot scoring run. Printezis added points from the free throw line and Teodosic from behind the arc increased the Reds’ streak to 14-0 for a 25-15 Olympiacos lead, during which CSKA was held scoreless for five minutes. Andersen offered solutions for the visitors, but Olympiacos was still playing excellent defense and creating good opportunities on the offensive end as the lead grew to 30-17 with baskets from its frontline of Bouroussis and Printezis. Andersen stepped up for CSKA with three straight baskets to cut it to 34-27. Olympiacos was now the team having trouble finding its way to the basket. When Siskauskas hit a triple, the visitors had come as close as 34-30. Teodosic scored 5 points of his own, interrupted by a basket-plus-free-throw by Andersen, to make it 39-33 at halftime.
Bouroussis opened fire form behind the three-point-line to start the third period, but Langdon was heating up. He hit 3 triples and a two-pointer for 11 points in less than four minutes, allowing CSKA to tie the game at 46-46. Woods and Andersen exchanged baskets inside and Printezis connected too; however Teodosic was in shape and completed a nice basket-plus-foul for a 53-50 Olympiacos lead. Bouroussis dropped in a big triple to the thrill of the crowd as Olympiacos rebuilt a 58-51 lead after 30 minutes.
A three-pointer at the shot-clock buzzer by J.R. Holden in the beginning of the final quarter curbed the hosts’ enthusiasm and brought CSKA closer, 58-54. Bouroussis scored on the offensive glass, but Andersen quickly answered back as baskets were now coming easy for both teams with the scoreboard standing at 62-56. Seven minutes to the end, Teodosic had to leave the court after spraining his ankle, having scored 20 points so far in his best performance in an Olympiacos uniform. Big men Bouroussis and Andersen exchanged three-pointers, but then there was more than two minutes of scoring silence for both teams as good opportunities suddenly became rare. When Teodosic stepped the floor again the fans welcomed him with warm applause Blakney popped in 2 from the charity stripe to make it 67-59, two-and-a-half minutes to go. Holden stepped up for CSKA to nail a big triple and allow the guests stay alive. Greer didn’t miss from the line, but another huge three-pointer followed for CSKA, this time by Langdon, to cut it to 69-65. Olympiacos had trouble setting up its offense, Holden missed a three-pointer, but Siskauskas stole the ball and drove for a fast break layup to bring CSKA as close as 69-67 with 22 seconds remaining. CSKA decided to play the last defense and did not foul; Greer dished to Printezis who dunked it from the baseline to end the game at 71-67 as the buzzer sounded and Olympiacos celebrated its seventh win in the season, sending CSKA to its second loss.
Thursday, January 10, 2008