| Olympiacos downed the still-winless Entente Orleanaise 84-88 to claim second place in Group B at 4-2 and edge that much closer to a Top 16 berth. Orleans had already fallen once to Olympiacos in Week 1, but tonight’s contest was from another planet. The home team had built a 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter before Linas Kleiza exploded for all 19 of his points in the game in the final eight minutes to turn the tide in the Reds’ favor for good. The maestro of the attack was former Euroleague MVP Theo Papaloukas, who tied a single-game Euroleague record with 14 assists. The only previous 14-assists game belongs to Tyus Edney, who accomplished the feat with Benetton Treviso against Olympiacos in February 2004. Playing without Josh Childress, Olympiacos lived from the low post and three-point line, hitting 13 of 21 triples. Yotam Halperin led the winners with 22 points. Milos Teodosic and Ioannis Bourousis scored 11 points apiece and Papaloukas added 7 points and 5 rebounds. Justin Doellman paced Orleans with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Austin Nicholls and Anthony Dobbins seconded him with 12 points, while Ryon Coville and Adrien Moerman had 11 and 10, respectively, in a losing effort.
Patrick Beverly struck first for Olympiacos with a quick layup to start the game and Sofoklis Schortsanitis powered in for 2 points the next trip down. Cedrick Banks got a short jumper to fall and Dobbins converted in transition to tie the game. Doellman scored 4 straight on a floater and a dunk to grab an 8-4 lead for the home team. Schortsanitis used his body to score inside and end the 8-0 run. Ludovic Vaty kept Orleans going with a jumper, but Schortsanitis banged away in the paint for 2 more. Dobbins drained a three from the wing and Doellman flew in and got a tough layup to fall that made it 15-10. Nice ball movement earned Vaty a trip to the line where he made both foul shots. Papaloukas made 2 of his own from the line, but Aldo Curti nailed a three-pointer to give Orleans an 8-point lead. Halperin got 2 from the free throw line. With Schortsanitis getting a breather on the bench, Bourousis scored a layup, but Moerman hit a three to extend the lead. Halperin got free on a back door cut for the layup, but Orleans went into the second up 27-18 on a buzzer-beating jumper by Vaty.
Curti hit a layup to start the second, Laurent Sciarra added 2 free throws and Nichols dropped a three to give Orleans a 34-18 lead. Schortsanitis went 1 for 2 from the foul line and Papaloukas got a jumper to bounce in as the 24-second clock was winding down. Excellent ball movement found Schortsanitis to deep in the blocks to stop from laying it in for 2. Bourousis found Papaloukas open for a deep three, but Moerman matched him with a bomb from the corner. Teodosic hit back with a three of his own. Doellman made a pair of free throws, but Nikola Vujcic scored a layup. More good passing left Halperin open for a three on the wing to cut the Orleans lead to under double digits at 42-34. Sciarra got 2 points from the line, and Nichols made an impossible fadeaway on the baseline. Halperin nailed another three from the win to keep Olympiacos close. Sciarra then hit a tough bank shot, but Vujcic made 2 free throws and Orleans went into halftime up 48-40.
Dobbins and Halperin got the only buckets during the defensive opening minutes of the third by exchanging three-pointers. Doellman added another long-range bomb to get the lead back into double digits for Orleans. Halperin and Nichols both hit free throws. Doellman nailed another deep three-pointer that swelled the lead to 59-45. Out of a timeout, Teodosic bracketed a layup by Covile with a pair of three-pointers to pull Olympiacos back into the game. His teammates caught on and nice passing ended in a layup from Halperin, leading Orleans to call for time. Halperin drained a three from the corner to cut the lead to 6, before Curti hit back from downtown. Halperin then found Panagiotis Vasilopoulis for the layup, but Moerman converted a steal into a layup to end the third 66-58.
Covile drew first blood in the final stanza scoring a tough inside basket surrounded by Olympiacos defenders. Moerman added a pair of free throws to establish a 70-58 lead before Kleiza, scoreless until then, rolled off 3 straight three-pointers to cut the lead to 3 points. Out of a timeout, Dobbins attacked the basket for 4-straight points on a dunk and a strong layup. Bourousis and Covile exchanged scores on the inside. Kleiza drove in for a spinning layup and followed with another three-pointer from the side to get within 76-74. Bourousis made a free throw and after he missed the second, Kleiza was there to put it back in to take a 76-77 lead at the 3:41 mark. Dobbins and Bourousis traded layups, but Kleiza, completely on fire, hit another three from his spot in the corner. Bourousis then dunked to give Olympiacos a 6-point lead with under two minutes to play. Nichols grabbed a defensive board and went coast-to-coast for a layup-and-foul, which he converted for a 3-point play to reduce the lead to 81-84. Bourousis made a huge block of a shot by Doellman to seal the win. Halperin was fouled intentionally, and he made both foul shots. Bourousis dunked to put the exclamation point on the huge road win.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009