Olympiacos downs Efes to move closer to London
Reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus moved within one victory from returning to the Final Four after routing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 71-53 at Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday night. Olympiacos now holds a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five playoffs series, which moves to Istanbul for Game 3 – and if necessary Game 4 – next week. A potential decisive Game 5 would be played again in Piraeus. After falling behind early, with some stingy defense and with Vassilis Spanoulis leading the way, the Reds went on a 28-8 charge to take 35-26 halftime lead. Olympiacos never looked back, and sealed the deal with a 13-1 run bridging the third and fourth quarters. Spanoulis led the way with 15 points and 8 assists. Kyle Hines scored 12 points, Pero Antic collected 11 points plus 7 rebounds, and Stratos Perperoglou contributed with 8 points plus 6 rebounds. Kerem Gonlum amassed 13 points plus 14 rebounds for Efes. Stanko Barac added 9 points plus 5 rebounds and Jordan Farmar 8 points and 5 assists in defeat.
First quarter: Efes jumps ahead through 0-8 run
Kerem Gonlum, who led all Efes scorers in Game 1, opened the scoring with a layup, but also committed 2 personal fouls in the first two minutes of the game. Spanoulis free throws opened the hosts' account, but Jordan Farmar made a put-back, then assisted Gonlum and Jamon Lucas for layups. Stanko Barac dominated the boards on both ends of the floor early on, then added a layup to the visitors’ tally, before Josh Shipp’s tip-in extended the lead to 2-12, the first double-digit lead of the series. Georgios Printezis snapped the run with a short floater, and Josh Powell scored inside to halve the deficit, but a triple from Dusko Savanovic kept the lead at 7-16. Olympiacos answered, though, with a jumper from Acie Law and a three-pointer from Pero Antic, before a driving layup from Spanoulis brought the hosts within 14-16 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Spanoulis, Reds turn it around
Antic sank another triple to start the second quarter for the Reds’ first lead. After Kyle Hines scored twice inside, Stratos Perperoglou scored in the low-post to make it 23-18. Barac made a hook-shot and Farmar hit a baseline jumper to cut the deficit to 1, but while the visitors mixed man-to-man with zone defense, Olympiacos used its transition game to build a 28-22 margin. Spanoulis hit a jumper and a triple on back-to-back possessions. Perperouglou’s baseline jumper and a fastbreak layup made it 35-24, capping a 12-2 run. Gonlum finished the scoring in the first half with a layup thanks to Farmar’s assist, as the hosts took 35-26 into the locker room.
Third quarter: Printezis and Hines help Olympiacos pull away
Olympiacos started the third quarter with Dimitrios Katsivelis throwing an alley-oop pass to Kostas Papanikolaou for a layup before Shipp sank a triple for Efes. After a tough shot from Powell, Efes countered through Shipp and Farmar with aggressive drives to the hoop, and split foul shots from Semih Erden cut it to 39-34. However, Printezis sank a mid-range jumper and Hines made a couple from close range, including a layup-plus-foul. Printezis added a triple too, to make it 49-34, before a Farmar jumper snapped the run. The visitors once again tried with a zone defense, and managed to hold the hosts scoreless for more than three minutes. In that time Barac and Gonlum scored inside to cut the deficit to 9, but Kostas Sloukas sank a triple as third quarter expired for a 52-40 lead.
Fourth quarter: Hosts cruise down the stretch to big win
A shot from downtown from Papanikolaou and a monster dunk from Hines opened the fourth quarter, before a layup and a three-pointer from Antic made it 62-41. Efes had not score a field goal in more than six minutes until Gonlum’s basket in a crowd for 62-45. Perperoglou made a reverse layup on the other end as the hosts were looking to close out the game, but were not letting down on defense. The margin was as large as 69-47 before Sasha Vujacic and Sinan Guler scored their first points of the night, and Stanko Barac rounded out the scoring with a baseline jump shot.
Friday, April 12, 2013