Olympiacos bounced back from its initial loss in the 2009-10 Euroleague regular season and improved to 2-1 by downing previously undefeated Lietuvos Rytas 97-73 at home on Wednesday night. Both teams tie for second place in Group A, each with a 2-1 record and right behind undefeated leader Unicaja, that hosts Efes Pilsen tomorrow. Linas Kleiza led the winners with 20 points. Josh Childress added 18 on 6-of-6 two-pointers while Milos Teodosic had 12 for Olympiacos. Milko BJelica led L. Rytas with 16 points. Arturas Jomantas added 15 while Steponas Babrauskas had 12 for the guests. Childress had 10 points in the first quarter while Teodosic beat the buzzer with a wild three-pointer to give Olympiacos a double-digit lead, 25-14, after 10 minutes. Olympiacos kept playing hard at both ends, taking advantage of its outstanding athleticism, while Kleiza had 12 points in the second period to break the game open, 52-31, at halftime. L. Rytas managed to get within 56-44 midway through the third quarter but Theo Papaloukas, Nikola Vujcic and Childress fueled a 17-2 run that sealed the outcome late in the third quarter.
Olympiacos head coach Panagiotis Giannakis opted to use Sofoklis Schortsianitis in the starting lineup and get him one-on-one situations in each and every play. He got his team going with a power layup but a running jumper by Martynad Gecevicius tied it at 2-2. Childress and Aron Baynes exchanged baskets but a triple by Bojan Popovic gave L. Rytas its first lead, 4-7. L. Rytas excelled at double-teaming Schortsianitis so Olympiacos changed its game plan, playing more up-tempo. Childress dunked it while a jump hook by Schortsianitis gave the Reds a 8-7 edge. Bjelica stepped up with a close basket but Childress followed an off-balance jumper with free throws to restore a 12-9 Olympiacos lead. The Reds tried to improve their ball circulation with Vujcic and Papaloukas on court now. Kleiza struck from downtown and soon added a layup to boost his team's lead to 17-12. Papaloukas took over with a layup-plus-foul, as L. Rytas kept struggling to score now. Childress and Baynes traded dunks and a wild buzzer-beating three-pointer by Teodosic fixed the score at 25-14 after 10 minutes.
The Reds kept trying to play up-tempo early in the second quarter, with Papaloukas and Teodosic together on court. Jomantas tried to change things with a driving layup but Panos Vasilopoulos and Teodosic kept the Reds way ahead, 28-16. L. Rytas could not find the way to the basket while Kleiza struck again from downtown to break the game open, 32-16, after a 6-0 run. Jomantas kept pacing the guests but he didn't find much help around. Childress dunked it again but Olympiacos had already entered the foul bonus. Popovic hit 4-of-4 free throws but Von Wafer and an unstoppable Kleiza gave the hosts an 18-point lead, 39-21. Bjelica shined with a three-point play but L. Rytas only managed to trade baskets now. A reverse layup by Patrick Beverley made the guests call timeout at 45-25. Olympiacos kept taking advantage of its athleticism, using short possessions and quickly finding good options in offense. Kleiza shined with a coast-to-coast three-point play and added a fast break layup to keep the Reds out of trouble, 52-31, at halftime.
Bjelica scored in transition immediately after the break, as L. Rytas tried to play with more intensity at both ends now. Olympiacos struggled to find Schortsianitis down low while a three-pointer by Gecevicius gave the guests some hope at 52-36. Yotam Halperin immediately answered from downtown and Childress added a free throw to keep Olympiacos way ahead, 56-36. Babrauskas fired in one from downtown but Olympiacos stick to its game plan, with Vujcic on court to open the court for its wing players. Bjelica scored again while Donatas Zavackas sank a corner triple to make the Reds call timeout at 56-44. Teodosic sank a triple and fed Vujcic for an easy basket, allowing the Reds to get back the game momentum. Kleiza and Childress soon joined the three-point shootout to boost the hosts' lead to 69-46. Vujcic kept pacing Olympiacos while Papaloukas capped a 17-2 run with free throws. An acrobatic driving layup by Jomantas got L. Rytas within 75-50 after three quarters.
The outcome was clear already but L. Rytas now tried to trim its deficit to avoid a huge disadvantage in multiple-way ties at the end of the regular season. Teodosic, however, stepped up with consecutive layups and collected a steal that allowed Wafer to make it a 29-point game, 83-54. Popovic tried to speed up the game tempo but Olympiacos kept making the most out of its physical game. Another dunk by Childress boosted the Reds' margin to 86-56. Jomantas and Gecevicius kept trying to change things for L. Rytas but it was already too little, too late for the guests. Olympiacos confirmed its status as a top candidate to win Group B while L. Rytas must forget about this loss right away and learn from its mistakes for its upcoming home game against Partizan.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009