Olympiacos edged Cibona 78-73
Olympiacos survived a tough test from Cibona Zagreb to record a 78-75 victory on Wednesday at the Peace and Friendship Stadium in Piraeus, Greece. The Reds won their eight straight game and 12th in a row at home to remain atop the Group H standings at 3-0. Cibona, meanwhile, blew a fourth-quarter lead for the third week in a row and dropped to 0-3. The two teams meet again in two weeks in the Croatian capital in a must-win game for Cibona to keep any chances of reaching the playoffs. The Reds, who were without All-Euroleague big man Ioannis Bourousis due to flu-like symptoms, needed six players scoring in double figures to offset Cibona. Milos Teodosic drilled 5 three-pointer en route to 17 points and dished 5 assists to lead Olympiacos. Nikola Vujcic came off the bench for 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Josh Childress posted 11 points and 9 rebounds. Linas Kleiza scored all of his 10 points in the last 12 minutes, while Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Loukas Mavrokefalides also had 10 apiece, mostly in the first half. Marko Tomas paced Cibona with 23 points, Jamont Gordon tallied 20 points and 5 assists, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 and Luksa Andric 12 before fouling out.
Things looked good for the Reds early as Teodosic drilled a three-pointer. Andric got Cibona on the board with a skilled drive to the basket. Yotam Halperin fed Schortsanitis for a slam. Tomas drained a triple that put Cibona ahead 5-7. Both teams needed time to find their rhythm as a number of open shots clanked off the rims. Gordon got to the line and increased the Cibona advantage, but Teodosic’s second triple kept Olympiacos close. Tomas worked the pick-and-roll for an Andric slam, but Kleiza set up Schortsanitis at the other end. Schortsanitis remained active with a blocked shot and another score as the Reds regained the lead, 12-11. Dalibor Bagaric scored a hook over Vujcic and Childress drove baseline for a slam. The lead continued to change hands as Tomas got to the basket. Vujcic scored a second-chance basket that gave Olympiacos a 16-15 lead after 10 minutes.
The Teodosic-to-Vujcic connection produced another basket, but Gordon’s acrobatics resulted in another score. Tomas put the visitors ahead once more only to see Teodosic pick up his third assist on Vujcic’s third basket. Gordon remained Cibona’s favorite weapon, but Olympiacos began to pull away with Theo Papaloukas and Mavrokefalides getting points. Schortsanitis wowed the crowd with his defense and hustle. Mavrokefalides shined with a perfect inside pass to Big Sofo for a slam and then a pretty spin move for a reverse layup that made it 30-23. A timeout helped Cibona refocus as Bogdanovic’s basket and a Tomas triple brought the visitors within a basket. Gordon leapt to swat a Childress three and after a timeout, Bogdanovic drilled a three to cap a 0-8 run and give Cibona the lead. Halperin took his free-throw streak to 20 with a pair of makes, but Gordon charged through the Olympiacos defense for a dunk and added 2 more points from the line. Teodosic narrowed the gap from the line, but Cibona remained ahead 34-35 at halftime.
Just like in the first half, the lead continued to trade hands early in the second half, Childress twisted in the lane to get 2 points for the Reds before Gordon fed Andric for a layup. Gordon passed over the defense to Andric for a slam and Bagdanovic’s jumper counted after defensive interference on Schortsanitis to make it 36-41. Bogdanovic outfought Teodosic for an offensive rebound, basket and foul. He stretched the lead to 8 with the resulting free throw. Childress ended the Olympiacos drought with a put-back and foul and Schortsanitis muscled his way for a basket on the offensive glass. Tomas sank a big three-pointer and Bagaric blocked Kleiza’s shot as Cibona kept the momentum. Kleiza was whistled for a technical foul and Tomas and Gordon made free throws as the lead hit double figures, 40-51. Olympiacos needed a big play to change the momentum and got it when Papaloukas stole a pass and set up Teodosic for a triple that awoke the crowd. Mavrokefalides’s offensive board and basket made it a 4-point game. Bogdanovic and Mavrokefalides traded points, but a Gorodn triple kept the visitors in control. Teodosic matched him to keep the Reds kicking. Teodosic fed Childress for a brilliant alley-oop slam. Tomas scored from the line, but Papaloukas dished to Kleiza for a slam – his first points of the night – and then the forward scored with a reverse scoop to tie the game. Andric drove to put Cibona back ahead and Gordon drained another three. A Childress free throw made it 58-61 heading into the fourth quarter.
Kleiza’s hot hand resulted in a short jumper and Vujcic drew Andric’s fourth foul. Vujcic soon followed with a basket-plus-foul to put the Reds ahead 62-61. Kleiza added a triple, but before Olympiacos could pull away, Tomas came through with a three-point play. Andric fouled out with six minutes to play, leaving Cibona short up front. However after Vujcic scored in the paint, Tomislav Zubcic converted a three-point play to tie the score at 67-67. Teodosic stepped up with a clutch triple and a Papaloukas steal led to a Childress slam and a Cibona timeout. Vujcic came through with a pair of buckets in the paint to stretch the lead to 9 and allow the hosts to breath a sign of relief. However Cibona continued to attack with a triple and basket from Tomas and soon a Bogdanovic three to get within 78-75. Bagaric rejected Teodosic to get Cibona the ball with a chance to tie, but Bogdanovic missed from downtown and Kleiza hauled in the rebound to protect the winning margin and keep the Reds undefeated atop Group H.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010