| Olympiacos advanced to the Euroleague Final Four for the first time in a decade by edging Real Madrid 75-78 in the Spanish capital on Thursday to win its best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs series 3-1. Zoran Erceg was the game hero, scoring all of his 7 points in the last four minutes, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute. Ioannis Bourousis paced the winners with 25 points on 9-for-11 two-point shooting, taking over in the absence of injured center Nikola Vujcic. Lynn Greer added 12 while Yotam Halperin had 10 for Olympiacos. Louis Bullock scored 19 points for Madrid and Felipe Reyes added 12. Olympiacos overcame an early deficit with a 0-8 run that Halperin capped with a three-pointer that gave the guests a 10-14 lead. Theo Papaloukas - who reached his seventh consecutive Final Four - and Bourousis helped Olympiacos to stay ahead, 16-20, at the end of the first quarter. Madrid played with extraordinary intensity in the second quarter with Tomas Van den Spiegel and Jeremiah Massey together on court. A 13-2 run that Kennedy Winston capped with a transition layup gave the hosts a 35-26 lead, which Madrid turned into a 41-33 edge at halftime. Bourousis and Giorgos Printezis brought Olympiacos back to life after the break, 49-48, but Reyes and Winston helped the hosts to stay ahead, 58-54, after three quarters. A three-pointer by Greer completed the guests' comeback, 59-60. Madrid found a go-to guy in Bullock, but Bourousis and Erceg tied it at 70-70 with a minute to go. Erceg struck from downtown while free throws by Greer sealed the outcome down the stretch.
Alex Mumbru got Madrid going with a three-pointer before Printezis and Reyes traded layups to make it 5-2. Bourousis dunked, but Bullock answered from downtown to give Madrid an 8-4 lead. Axel Hervelle got the crowd involved with a put-back dunk, however Josh Childress took over with a spin move in the low post - and the free throw that came with it. A layup by Printezis soon gave Olympiacos its first lead, 10-11. Madrid could not get its shooters involved while a three-pointer by Halperin capped a 0-8 Olympiacos run. Hervelle stepped up with a free throw that Childress beat with an acrobatic layup. Marko Tomas provided a highlight with a wild three-point play to bring Madrid back to life, 14-16. Papaloukas shined with a reverse layup only for a six-meter jumper by Winston kept the hosts close. Olympiacos adjusted its man-to-man defense late in the first quarter and Papaloukas fed Bourousis for a layup to boost the Reds' lead to 16-20 after 10 minutes.
Papaloukas paced Olympiacos with a fallaway jumper early in the second quarter. Madrid tried to run the court with Massey and Van den Spiegel together on court. The hosts kept missing shots until a high-flying put-back dunk by Massey brought Madrid within 3. Bullock took over with a driving layup-plus-foul to tie it at 22-22. Childress scored in penetration but Winston and Massey answered with back-to-back layups to help Madrid regain the lead. Van den Spiegel finished a fast break alleyoop dunk that saw Olympiacos call timeout. Another breakaway layup by Bullock capped an 8-0 Madrid run. Bourousis stepped up with a jump hook, but Sergio Llull answered from downtown and fed Winston with a transition layup for a 35-26 lead. Bourousis scored again, but Reyes answered with a put-back layup. Halperin buried a triple, but Massey scored around the basket. Madrid kept playing with outstanding intensity and free throws by Bullock made it a double-digit game, 41-31. A driving layup by Greer brought Olympiacos within 41-33 as a 18-meter bomb by Winston did not count as Madrid had previously called timeout.
Bourousis shined with a power put-back layup immediately after the break that Raul Lopez erased with a five-meter jumper. Halperin took over with a driving layup and Printezis scored around the basket to give Olympiacos some hope at 43-39. Madrid adjusted its defense and soon started to play up-tempo. Hervelle rescued the hosts with a fast break layup that an unstoppable Bourousis matched with free throws. The Reds kept playing physical defense while a jump hook by Bourousis saw the hosts call timeout at 47-45. Reyes tried to change things with a jumper, but the Reds kept playing with high intensity now. Printezis stepped up with a put-back layup and added as foul shot for a 49-48 deficit. Reyes sank a jump hook while Winston downed a long jumper to give Madrid some fresh air at 53-48. Bourousis and Massey traded foul shots while Winston had a huge block on Printezis, drew a foul and gave his team a 56-50 lead. Papaloukas buried a wide-open jumper before a tip-in by Van den Spiegel and free throws by Greer fixed the score at 58-54 after three quarters.
Van den Spiegel made a free throw early in the fourth quarter, but a big block by Vasilopoulos allowed Bourousis to get a three-point play in the other end. Bourousis also had a huge block on Van den Spiegel and a seven-meter bomb by Greer completed the guests' comeback, 59-60, with eight minutes to go. Bullock sank free throws as the game turned into an outstanding physical battle. Once again Bullock struck from downtown to give Madrid a safer lead, 65-60, with under six minutes remaining. Olympiacos called a much-needed timeout and Childress quickly scored in penetration. Greer added a stop-and-pop jumper to turn the game into a thriller, 65-64. Reyes hit free throws right before fouling out, but Erceg and a jump hook by Bourousis put Olympiacos back ahead, 67-68. Bullock answered from downtown only for free throws by Erceg to tie the game at 70-70 with 1:11 to go. Lopez missed a three-point shot and Erceg buried one from the right wing, causing Madrid to call timeout down 70-73 with 36 seconds remaining. Bullock missed an off-balance shot and Greer hit free throws to make it 70-75. A three-point play by Van den Spiegel got Madrid within 75-77 with 10.3 seconds to go, but a foul shot by Greer gave the Reds a 75-78 edge. Madrid had a final chance to tie the game, but Bullock had the ball stripped on the final play
Thursday, April 02, 2009