Olympiacos started the new season just as it hoped by pounding Entente Orleanaise 94-72 Wednesday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Greece. Linas Kleiza made a sparkling Euroleague debut with 23 points and 9 rebounds and head coach Panagiotis Giannakis made the most of his deep bench as 10 players played at least 14 minutes in the winning effort. Olympiacos dominated the glass 37-21 and shot 11 for 15 (73.3%) from the paint en route to the win. Josh Childress added 15 for the winners, while Von Wafer came off the bench for 10 in 15 minutes and Nikola Vujcic added 10 in 14 minutes. Ryvon Covile and Austin Nichols paced Orleans with 18 apiece and Cedrick Banks added 14 in defeat. Orleans will host its first ever Euroleague home game next week when it welcomes Lietuvos Rytas. Olympiacos travels to Spain to meet Unicaja.
Both teams needed a possession to work out the jitters before Kleiza drove to open the scoring. Aldo Curti buried a three to get Orleans on the board, but Milos Teodosic answered from downtown and created a steal to ignite the Reds. Childress woke the fans up with a wicked two-handed baseline slam. Covile hit a pair of free throws and Anthony Dobbins scored to keep Orleans close, but Kleiza attacked the rim for a slam to show who was in charge. Teodosic free throws made it 14-7, but Nichols answered back with a basket-plus-foul. Kleiza continued his strong opening quarter with another slam before Banks hit from downtown to bring his team within 18-15 after 10 minutes.
Laurent Sciarra came in for the second period to direct the Orleans attack and dished to Justin Doellman for an open jumper. Theo Papaloukas kept the Reds ahead with a triple, however Nicholas kept Orleans going with a basket inside. Childress cut to the basket for a pretty layup and added a long jumper before Vujcic dropped in a hook shot, causing Orleans to use a timeout to think things over. Still Patrick Beverley nailed a triple to give Olympiacos its first double-digit lead. Ludovic Vaty ended the Orleans drought, but Vujcic stretched the hosts’ lead to 12. Covile threw down a dunk and Nichols drilled a three – both in transition – to narrow the gap to 33-26. Vujcic fed a cutting Kleiza for a basket-plus-foul and then Kleiza banked in a turn-around jumper and made a pair of free throws as the Reds built a 44-30 lead by the halftime break.
Wafer attacked the basket for his first career Euroleague points to open the second half, but Covile countered with a slam at the other end. Olympiacos was just getting into a rhythm as Kleiza scored twice and Wafer nailed a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 20. Covile scored for the visitors on the offensive glass, but Panos Vasilopoulos set Ioannis Bourousis up for an alley-oop slam. Covile and Curti continued to fight for Orleans, but it was showtime for the home side as Vujcic delivered a behind-the-back pass to Childress for a basket inside. Curti hit a long jumper and Nichols made 2 free throws to get within 14, but Wafer continued to fuel the Reds’ attack with a drive for a layup-plus-foul. Vujcic's second-chance basket restored a 20-point advantage though slams by Doellman and Covile helped make it 66-49 at the end of the third.
Yotam Halperin fed Kleiza for an easy basket and then finished a fast break himself as the Reds looked to ice the game. Doellman hit back with a jumper, but Kleiza made his way to the line to add to his scoring tally. Banks hit a three only for Andreas Glyniadakis and Kleiza to give Olympiacos its largest lead, 77-54. Nichols and Doellman stepped up as Orleans scored the game’s next seven points, however it was too late for Orleans. Threes by Halperin and Vasilopoulos sealed the game with several minutes to play as Olympiacos celebrated another fine start to the Euroleague season.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009