Real Madrid is alive and kicking in the fight to make the 2009 Final Four after beating Olympiacos 71-63 in front of 11,500 fans in Game 3 of the Quarterfinal Playoffs in the Spanish capital on Tuesday. Madrid registered its first win in the best-of-five playoff series and hosts Game 4 on Thursday. Olympiacos needs one more win to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1999. Louis Bullock led the winners with 22 points and Felipe Reyes added 21 and 9 rebounds for Madrid. Ioannis Bourousis led Olympiacos with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but nobody else registered double digits for the Reds, whose star center Nikola Vujcic left the game with an injury late in the first quarter. Alex Mumbru and Bullock combined for all the points in an 11-0 opening run. A three-point play by Reyes soon made it an 18-point game, 22-4. A fast break dunk by Sergio Llull gave Madrid its biggest lead, 33-12. Zoran Erceg and Bourousis brought Olympiacos back to life while consecutive three-pointers by Panos Vasilopoulos and Theo Papaloukas got the Reds within 65-60 with a minute to go, however Jeremiah Massey and Raul Lopez allowed Madrid to seal a well-deserved win.
Mumbru got Madrid going with free throws, as Olympiacos opted for a small starting lineup with Giorgos Printezis at power forward. Bullock took over with consecutive three-pointers for a 8-0 Madrid lead. The Reds went scoreless for more than two minutes while an acrobatic three-point play by Mumbru made Olympiacos coach Panagiotis Giannakis call timeout at 11-0. Josh Childress tried to change things with a put-back dunk that Reyes matched with a five-meter jumper. Vujcic scored around the basket, but Olympiacos could not adjust its man-to-man defense. Reyes stepped up with free throws and added a driving layup to make it 17-4. Madrid excelled in defense while a big basket by Massey and a three-point play by an unstoppable Reyes boosted the hosts' lead to 22-4, after a 9-0 run. Childress took over with a layup-plus-foul and Lynn Greer struck from downtown to bring Olympiacos back to life, 22-10. A free throw by Kennedy Winston and a left-handed driving layup by Childress fixed the score at 23-12 after 10 minutes.
Olympiacos opened the second quarter with a 24-second violation that allowed Tomas Van den Spiegel to give Madrid a 25-12 margin. Van den Spiegel soon added a layup in transition and Marko Tomas led the hosts' defense by stopping Papaloukas. Olympiacos lacked ball circulation and was held scoreless for more than five minutes. Meanwhile, a power layup by Mumbru broke the game open, 29-12. Hervelle nailed a floating jumper, as the Reds even missed free throws now. Llull sent the crowd to its feet with a fast break dunk that capped a 10-0 Madrid run. Erceg scored in transition - Olympiacos's first points in this quarter - while Bourousis added a layup for a 33-16 deficit. Bullock stepped up with a big basket that Greer erased in the other end. The Reds switched back to man-to-man defense off a timeout but kept struggling to score despite slowing down the game tempo. Bourousis made free throws but Reyes beat the buzzer with a tip-in for a 37-20 Madrid lead at halftime.
Madrid tried to use longer possessions after the break, trying to look for open shots. Bourousis shined with a coast-to-coast layup, but free throws by Bullock restored a 17-point Madrid lead. Milos Teodosic took over with a floating layup as the Reds slowly improved their defense. Madrid could not find the way to the basket while trying to run the game clock down, while free throws by Bourousis brought Olympiacos closer, 39-26. Reyes hit foul shots, but Printezis answered from downtown to get Olympiacos within 12. Madrid called timeout after which Massey and Bourousis traded layups. Reyes shined with a jump hook and Bullock added an electric driving layup to give Madrid a 47-33 margin. Erceg silenced the crowd with a triple, but free throws by Bullock gave Madrid some fresh air. Erceg helped Olympiacos with a second-chance layup that Bullock bettered with a layup-plus-foul. Bourousis scored down low for a 52-41 Olympiacos deficit after three quarters.
Papaloukas fed Bourousis for an alleyoop layup that brought the Reds within single digits, 52-43. Papaloukas soon added a driving layup, but free throws by Reyes kept Madrid way ahead, 54-45. Panos Vasilopoulos beat the shot clock with a step-back triple that Bullock matched with foul shots. Greer insisted from downtown to make it 57-51 with seven minutes to go. Both teams went scoreless for more than two minutes until Reyes fed Bullock for a backdoor layup, good for a 59-51 Madrid edge. Olympiacos needed a quick comeback to keep its options alive in the final four minutes and Childress tried to ignite it with free throws. Reyes copied him at the other end while Massey shined with a power layup, good for a 63-53 Madrid lead. Reyes collected a steal and fed Mumbru for a fast break layup, but Vasilopoulos answered from downtown for a 65-57 Olympiacos deficit. Papaloukas joined the three-point shootout to get the Reds event closer, 65-60, with a minute remaining. Massey scored in penetration but Greer got Olympiacos within 67-61 with 45.5 seconds to go. Free throws by Lopez sealed the outcome, as the Madrid fans saw that their team would keep fighting for Euroleague glory!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009