2011-12Final FourSEMIFINAL B
May 11, 2012 CET: 20:00
Local time: 21:00 SINAN ERDEM DOME

Olympiacos Piraeus will play for its second Euroleague crown on Sunday after outlasting FC Barcelona Regal 68-64 in another thrilling semifinal showdown at the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four at Istanbul’s Sinan Erdem Arena on Friday. Vassilis Spanoulis starred for Coach Ivkovic’s squad with 21 points and 6 assists – the last of which to Joey Dorsey put the Reds up two possessions with 16.1 seconds to go and paved the way to victory. Olympiacos led for much of the contest, but Barcelona never fell too far behind and was always in the thick of the hunt. But in the end Olympiacos got the job done at both ends and pulled out a tough win to get back to the title game for the second time in three years. Georgios Printezis added 14 points for the winners. Juan Carlos Navarro paced Barcelona with 18 points and Boni Ndong had 10 in defeat. Barcelona was hindered by poor three-point shooting – 3 of 19 (15.8%) – which cancelled out its 33-43 rebounding edge. Olympiacos made 9 of 20 from downtown (45%).

Vassilis Spanoulis opened the game with a three-pointer and Evangelos Mantzaris also banked one in, before Pero Antic drove to the basket for a layup and an 8-0 Olympiacos lead. Barcelona was held scoreless for the first four minutes, missed all 4 field-goals attempts and turned the ball over twice as well. But Erazem Lorbek scored in the low post to end the drought, and after Spanoulis answered with a layup, Boniface Ndong had a monster slam-dunk and Marcelinho Huertas drove to the basket to cut it to 10-6. Spanoulis hit another three, but Ndong scored a basket-and-foul to keep Barca close. Both head-coaches used nine players in the first eight minutes of the game, trying to keep a high energy level, and one of the players off the bench, Printezis, made a layup and 2 free-throws to put the Reds up 17-9. Before the quarter expired, Victor Sada had a put-back dunk and it was 17-11 after the first 10 minutes.

Kostas Sloukas and Fran Vasquez made shots in the paint at the beginning of the second quarter, and C.J. Wallace and Kostas Papanikolau traded threes couple of minutes later. Navarro scored his first points of the game after more than 12 minutes of play as Barcelona hit only one of its first 10 shots from behind the arc, but made that up with 9 offensive boards in that span. Lorbek in the post, and Perovic with a mid-range jumper, brought Barcelona within 2. Navarro drove to the basket to tie the score at 24-24. Acie Law hit a jumper for Olympiacos, but Navarro answered with a triple to give Barcelona its first lead, 26-27, with a little more than three minutes to go in the half. That lead lasted only for a few seconds because Spanoulis and Joey Dorsey both found their way to the basket to give Olympiacos another 4-point advantage. Barcelona kept the pressure on the offensive boards to stay within a possession of its opponents. Ndong tipped-in Lorbek’s miss, but Olympiacos had the last word in the half when Spanoulis assisted Dorsey for a stunning alley-oop slam that gave the Reds a 33-29 lead at the break.

Spanoulis started the second half just like he did the first, with a three-pointer. Victor Sada answered with a runner, but Printezis hit another three to make it an 8-point game once again. The scoring spree continued with Navarro and Vasquez making buckets on one side, and Hines and Printezis on the other for a 43-37 lead four minutes in the second half. Pete Mickeal and Vasquez continued Barcelona’s dominance in the paint by cutting the deficit to 43-41. Printezis scored inside and Lorbek made a hook-shot from close range, only to see Papanikolau hit a three-pointer and Law sink a long jump shot to make it 50-43. Before the end of the period Navarro and Lorbek made sure Olympiacos would go into the last 10 minutes trailing only 50-47.

Spanoulis and Antic gave Olympiacos another jump-start into the quarter, extending the lead to 54-47. After Huertas made an easy layup, Spanoulis made a jumper, but Navarro hit a three to keep Barcelona close. Both teams significantly stepped up on defense, before Sada was left wide-open for a jumper and Dorsey made an uncontested dunk. Barcelona countered with Navarro’s trademark La Bomba shot, but Printezis hit a big three-pointer to make it 61-56 with four-and-a-half minutes to go. Papanikolau and Mantzaris failed to add to the tally each making only 1 of 2 free throws, so Lorbek and Mickeal cut the lead to 63-59 with 2 minutes left in the game. After an offensive foul by Law, Navarro calmly sank a pair of free throws but Spanoulis had an answer hitting a three over Huertas to give his team 66-61 advantage. In the next 20 seconds, though, Ndong drew couple of fouls and hit three of four free throws to make it a 66-64. After that one miss, Olympiacos did not manage to control the rebound but Huertas missed a three-pointer that would put Barca in the lead with 35 seconds left. Instead, Dorsey fought in the paint making a layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw leaving the score 68-64 with 16.1 seconds to go. It was all over when Ndong missed a hook-shot on the next possession. Mantzaris grabbed the rebound and an army of Olympiacos fans could celebrate.

Vassilis Spanoulis - Olympiacos - Final Four Istanbul 2012_38802
Friday, May 11, 2012
Igor Petrinovic, Euroleague.net
Referees: LAMONICA, LUIGI (ITA), LOTTERMOSER, ROBERT (GER), SAHIN, TOLGA (ITA)
Attendance: 15262 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus17161718
FC Barcelona Regal11181817
End of Quarter1234
Olympiacos Piraeus17335068
FC Barcelona Regal11294764
Olympiacos Piraeus
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 HINES, KYLE 16:23 2 1/4     1 2 3       1     2 5
6 ANTIC, PERO 18:16 4 2/5 0/1   1 1 2       1   2 2 3
7 SPANOULIS, VASSILIS 32:39 21 3/9 4/10 3/3   3 3 6   6   1 2 6 15
9 DORSEY, JOEY 23:35 8 4/6   0/1 4 1 5 1 2 1   1 2 1 10
10 KESELJ, MARKO 12:43     0/1                     1  
13 GECEVICIUS, MARTYNAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 GLYNIADAKIS, ANDREAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS 21:44 14 3/5 2/2 2/2 1 3 4 2   2     4 1 13
16 PAPANIKOLAOU, KOSTAS 27:24 9 1/1 2/2 1/4 1 3 4   1 1 1   2 2 11
17 MANTZARIS, VANGELIS 22:21 4   1/2 1/2 1 5 6 1   1     2 1 7
18 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 7:23 2 1/2       2 2 1         2   2
55 LAW, ACIE 17:32 4 2/5 0/2         1 1 2     5 3 -3
Team           2 2 4     1         3
Totals 200:00 68 17/37 9/20 7/12 11 22 33 12 4 14 3 2 21 19 66
        45.9% 45% 58.3%
Head coach: IVKOVIC, DUSAN
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
FC Barcelona Regal
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
8 SADA, VICTOR 20:06 6 3/3 0/1   1 3 4           1 1 9
9 HUERTAS, MARCELINHO 20:19 4 2/3 0/2     1 1 2   3     3 2  
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 33:02 18 4/7 2/8 4/4   1 1 3   5     2 4 10
13 PEROVIC, KOSTA 8:32 2 1/1     1 2 3 2         3 2 6
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 15:54 8 4/7     2 5 7 1     1   1   13
18 WALLACE, C.J. 10:18 3 0/2 1/1   4   4         1 3 1 2
20 INGLES, JOE 5:00     0/1                       -1
21 NDONG, BONIFACE 15:32 10 3/8   4/7 4 1 5   2 2 1     6 14
22 RABASEDA, XAVIER DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
25 LORBEK, ERAZEM 29:40 9 4/7 0/3 1/2 4 1 5 1 1 1   2 3 2 5
31 EIDSON, CHUCK 18:26   0/2 0/2   1 1 2     1       1 -2
33 MICKEAL, PETE 23:11 4 1/7 0/1 2/2 1 3 4 1   1     3 2  
Team           1 6 7               7
Totals 200:00 64 22/47 3/19 11/15 19 24 43 10 3 13 2 3 19 21 63
        46.8% 15.8% 73.3%
Head coach: PASCUAL, XAVI

Head Coaches

IVKOVIC, DUSAN
Olympiacos Piraeus
"I expected a tough game. Ours is a young team that played against a very experienced team. I am happy that we earned this victory because we led throughout the whole game. It’s very important that we won this game against a team that is the best in the Euroleague.

"The game was very, very tough. Our defense was at an extremely high level. One advantage this team has is one word that is used very much; it’s energy. But that was very important. The key point was rebounding. We knew if we could control rebounds, there was a chance.

"Tomorrow we have to rest and prepare for a much different game. For the final, I think that it is a very, very short time. We have to be ready like all finals. Nobody expected us to be here and nobody expected us to be in the final."
PASCUAL, XAVI
FC Barcelona Regal
"We were unable to enter the game the way we wanted. And the price we had to pay was really high for this mistake. Our game play was lower than what we have displayed over the course of the season. We were caught unprepared. With more three-point shots we could have won the game, but I believe that Olympiacos rightfully won the game.

"We were physically prepared. But we made a lot of mistakes, also physically. We surprised ourselves because we played below the level we played the whole season. Final Four games are always difficult if you can’t keep up your level.

"We have to wait 48 hours to avenge this nightmare. People who have been following us throughout the year know we are a lot better than we played today. But this is what sports are about. But this shouldn’t have turned out like that. "

Players

MANTZARIS, VANGELIS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"It was a great win. We were underdogs but we believed in ourselves and played very good defense. For sure the start of the game was important. We controlled the rhythm in this game. That was our plan because we knew it would be hard to play an up and down game against Barcelona. They killed us in rebounds, that was our problem today, but that was because of the missmatches. We played good pick and roll defense, managed to scored and got this win."
PRINTEZIS, GEORGIOS
Olympiacos Piraeus
"Every since the beginning of the season everybody was saying we were outsider. We showed again that we are a team that gives all the effort in the gym, we play good, we play with lot of energy and we have passion to win the games. We started this game well, with a lot of energy, but that is because we have a very good coaching staff and we have been working hard from the start of the season. That is most important, we don't feel any pressure, we enjoy our games and if we continue to enjoy we are going to win our games."
ANTIC, PERO
Olympiacos Piraeus
"It's a great feeling to finally make it to the finals of the Euroleague after all these years in European basketball. I had many offers during the summer but I chose Olympiacos and I'm very happy with it. I care about chemistry the most and that's what we have here. A group of guys that like to fight and we also like to hang out together after the games. I played with Billy in the past and I know him very well. It's great to play with someone like him in the same team. Our fans were amazing as always. They were our sixth player tonight. Now we need to face CSKA. They are a very strong team. Maybe the strongest in the Euroleague, but we'll come ready. We'll rest tonight and start to think about them tomorrow."
HINES, KYLE
Olympiacos Piraeus
"What a game... It was so tough but we had a very good time out there. Our coach prepared us very well for this game. We knew what we wanted to do and we executed it. We are a great team. Always stick together and that's what we did today as well. We fought for 40 minutes and stayed together. Our fans made us feel like home. They were amazing and gave us a great-great push. We lost to CSKA twice in this season but we're not giving up. We showed already that we can beat any team and we're coming to win on Sunday. To make the Euroleague finals already in my second season in this competition is amazing feeling. We have one more step and we'll do our best to make it."
DORSEY, JOEY
Olympiacos Piraeus
"It was a very intense game. Barcelona is a very good team with a lot of good players, but we never gave up and felt that we're not as good as they are. We have a lot of good players and everyone knows his role. We went on the floor to fight and execute what we've been practicing on for the last days. It's a great feeling to be in the final already in my first year in the Euroleague. It's a very tough competition and the higher the level the tougher the games. We'll be fighting against a top team in CSKA but we're coming to win on Sunday. The atmosphere was great. I'm happy I had a chance to help my team to get as far as the title game."
LORBEK, ERAZEM
FC Barcelona Regal
"We never managed to play our game; they didn't allow us to do it. The game was played the way they wanted and we made too many mistakes, especially on defense. We allowed too many offensive rebounds. That was the key to the game, not only in the fourth quarter, but throughout the entire game. They controlled the game rhythm and we couldn't stop their offense."
HUERTAS, MARCELINHO
FC Barcelona Regal
"Olympiacos was able to play at its own rhythm and find our weaknesses. They had the ability to get an 8-point lead really early in the game, and that always counts a lot in a Final Four game. We allowed too many offensive rebounds and did not have our best shooting night. It all adds to a lot of things like one-on-one situations and turnovers. We were nervous throughout the game. There are too many factors for this loss, you cannot name just one."
NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS
FC Barcelona Regal
"We were not able to play the way we wanted lately. Truth to be told, Olympiacos was the best team on the floor and controlled the game. Now we will have to play the third place game and try to win it. It is difficult to think about it after a loss, but that is the way things are. Right now I feel bad, not only physically, but mentally. Nothing feels good right now."