Olympiacos trounces CSKA, eyes repeat!
Reigning champion Olympiacos Piraeus has the chance to become the first repeat champion in eight years after it rolled past CSKA Moscow 52-69 in the first semifinal at the 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four at The O2 in London. The Reds never trailed after the first quarter and led by double digits throughout the second half. Olympiacos will target its third continental crown against the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between FC Barcelona Regal and Real Madrid in the title game on Sunday. Kyle Hines paced a balanced Olympiacos attack with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Pero Antic added 13 points for the winners and seven other players netted between 5 and 8 points, including newly crowned bwin MVP Vassilis Spanoulis, who tallied 8 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to reach his third final in as many Final Fours. Sonny Weems led CSKA with 13 points and Victor Khryapa scored 11. CSKA coach Ettore Messina lost for the first time in 10 Euroleague semifinal appearances. Olympiacos rolled ahead with 8 straight points to finish the first quarter and extended its lead to 13 before taking a 28-40 advantage at the break. The lead reached 17 by the end of the third as the Reds repelled any and all CSKA comeback attempts. With its sizeable traveling support singing in the background, Olympiacos finished in style and rolled into Sunday’s title game.
First quarter: Olympiacos finishes quarter on 0-8 tear
Weems nailed a long jumper to score the first points of the Final Four, before Georgios Printezis opened Olympiacos’s account with a layup. The opening minutes were packed with action as Weems countered with a triple, but Kostas Papanikolaou drove baseline for a big dunk . After Victor Khryapa hit another shot from downtown for CSKA, Spanoulis scored a layup, missed his additional free throw, but Printezis was there for a put-back. The Reds grabbed their first lead of the night on the next possession when Printezis added another close-range basket for 8-10. Khryapa answered with a long jumper, and after Acie Law made a driving layup, Weems hit a triple over Spanoulis for 13-12. Nenad Krstic added to CSKA’s tally with a dunk after a nifty assist from Zoran Erceg, but in the meantime Law, Spanoulis and Stratos Perperoglou went 6 for 6 from the foul line. Olympiacos went on to finish the quarter scoring 8 unanswered points, as Hines made a basket-plus-foul, and the Olympiacos faithful erupted when Kostas Sloukas hit a triple in the dying seconds of the quarter to give the Reds a 17-24 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Reds stretch advantage to double figures
Khryapa started the second quarter with a three-pointer, but Hines scored from close range and Antic from downtown to make it 20-29. Aaron Jackson briefly cut into the lead with a triple of his own, but a long jumper from Antic and a fastbreak layup from Law extended it to 23-35. After Coach Ettore Messina called for timeout, Sasha Kaun tried to get CSKA going with a slam dunk on one side and blocking couple of shots on the other. But Giorgi Shermadini muscled his way for a put-back-plus-foul and a 13-point advantage. Kaun continued to hustle, making a reverse layup, but Sloukas nailed a jump shot just inside the arc before both teams went into a two-minute scoring drought. Khryapa split free throws with 11 seconds to go, rounding out the scoring as Olympiacos grabbed a 28-40 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Champs squash CSKA’s comeback attempts
A driving layup by Spanoulis opened the third quarter, and a Papanikolaou triple made it 28-45. In the first five minutes of the quarter, Weems went 4 for 4 from the foul line for the only CSKA points. Shermadini was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Kaun, who made both free throws to cut the deficit to 34-45. But Moscow turned the ball over yet again on the ensuing possession, missing a chance to cut the margin to single digits. And Hines, who had grabbed the steal, made them pay with a long jumper to increase the gap to 13. Two Khryapa foul shots made it 36-47 before an Olympiacos timeout with three minutes left in the third. Moscow failed on three more occasions to inch below that magical 10-point deficit with Theo Papaloukas, Weems and Krstic all missing before a Hines put-back and an Antic triple had the reigning champs back up 16 points – 36-52. Krstic continued Moscow’s free throw woes by missing both foul shots with 5.6 seconds left in the quarter. Antic showed how it’s done with one foul shot with 0.2 seconds to give Olympiacos a 36-63 lead through three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos marches on
At the start of the fourth quarter, Perperoglou and Hines scored from close range to put Olympiacos up 36-57. The reigning champs were not letting down defensively, not allowing a field goal until a fast break layup from Jackson. But Perperoglou answered right back with a triple for 40-60 with seven minutes to play. CSKA tried to make a final push by playing half-court pressure. Andrey Vorontsevich made a runner off the glass and Teodosic hit a triple for 47-62. But a pair of free throws from Antic, after an unsportsmanlike foul from Teodosic, coupled with two offensive rebounds, helped Olympiacos eat out the clock and keep it at safe distance. In the final minutes, Spanoulis made a layup and Antic added a put-back for 49-69 before a triple by Vladimir Micov rounded out the scoring.
Friday, May 10, 2013