Olympiacos provided one of the biggest surprises in Euroleague Quarterfinal Playoffs history by downing CSKA Moscow 74-76 in Game 1 of their best-of-three series on Tuesday. Lynn Greer became the game hero by sinking the game-winning jumper at the buzzer. Olympiacos now has the home-court advantage in the series and will advance to the Final Four if it downs CSKA again in Athens on Thursday. Meanwhile, CSKA is in a do-or-die situation and needs to get consecutive wins to reach its sixth consecutive Final Four. Qyntel Woods paced the winners with 20 points on 4-for-4 three-point shooting, Greer added 19, Panos Vasilopoulos and 14 while Rod Blakney added 10 for Olympiacos, which won its fifth straight game. Matjaz Smodis had 21 points for the Russian champs, who had the longest active Euroleague home winning streak – 27 games – snapped. David Andersen added 15, Ramunas Siskauskas 12 and Trajan Langdon 10 for the hosts. A quick transition game and an unstoppable Vasilopoulos allowed Olympiacos to take a 20-24 edge after 10 minutes. Woods took over from that moment and got some help from Greer to make it a 14-point game, 46-60, late in the third quarter. Three-pointers by Andersen, Smodis and Langdon got CSKA within 67-72 with less than three minutes to go. Smodis tied the game with 15 seconds to go but, Greer became the man of the game with the winning jumper.
Andersen needed just 16 seconds to score on a jump hook, but Jake Tsakalidis answered at the other end and Vasilopoulos added a power basket for a 2-4 Olympiacos lead. The Reds tried Tsakalidis on Smodis as a surprise matchup, but Andersen quickly drew consecutive fouls from Woods and sent him to the bench. Blakney and Siskauskas traded triples as the score settled at 7-7. Vasilopoulos sank a baseline jumper, which Andersen erased with a jump hook. Greer made free throws and Vasilopoulos scored in penetration for a 9-13 lead. Smodis buried his trademark triple from the top of the key, but Vasilopoulos scored again to keep Olympiacos ahead. CSKA called timeout, but even after Greer shined with a floating layup. Langdon tried to get the hosts going and struck from downtown only to see Ioannis Bouroussis erase it with a three-point play for a 15-20 Olympiacos edge. Theodoros Papaloukas made free throws, but a Bouroussis dunk and Blakney driving layup kept the visitors in control. Viktor Khryapa nailed a three-pointer from the right wing to get CSKA within 20-24 after 10 minutes.
Olympiacos continued trying to score in transitions to break CSKA's usual game plan in home games, but started missing open shots. Papaloukas stole the ball and scored to get CSKA within 22-24. Greer rescued the Reds with a free throw and a three-pointer to give his team some breathing room at 22-28. Siskauskas hit foul shots, but he didn't find much help around. Greer fed Bouroussis for an easy layup only to see Nikos Zisis match with foul shots. Woods provided a highlight with an alley-oop layup, but CSKA kept getting to the line often. Smodis and Andersen hit 2 apiece to get within 30-32. Head coach Panagiotis Giannakis tried Woods on Papaloukas, while Milos Teodosic took over with a driving layup. CSKA struggled to score with Papaloukas not being able to dominate due to Woods's outstanding one-on-one defense. Woods nailed a triple to make it a 7-point game. Papaloukas scored in the low post, but Woods took revenge with a huge baseline dunk to give the Reds a 32-39 halftime edge.
CSKA improved its defense after the break and forced a 24-second violation on Olympiacos's first possession. CSKA went scoreless for two minutes, however, while free throws by Greer gave the guests a 32-41 lead. Siskauskas made foul shots and Smodis added a driving layup to get the crowd involved at 36-41. Greer silenced it with a step-back three-pointer and Woods beat the buzzer with another shot from downtown to make CSKA call timeout at 36-47. Andersen tried to change things with a turnaround jumper only for Bouroussis to answer with an alley-oop dunk. Langdon sank a huge jumper and Smodis added a power layup, but Vasilopoulos and Woods struck from downtown to make it a 13-point game, 42-55. Woods took over with a huge alley-oop dunk that forced CSKA to stop the game again, 42-57. Langdon sank a long two-pointer and Smodis added a fast break dunk, but Blakney sank his second triple for a 46-60 Olympiacos lead. Greer hit an acrobatic layup, but Andersen and Smodis struck from downtown to get CSKA even closer, 52-62, after three quarters.
Just like in its Top 16 opener against Lottomatica Roma, CSKA needed to rally from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter. Olympiacos now tried a 2-3 zone, but Smodis beat it a driving layup. Woods collected a steal and flew downcourt for a high-flying dunk only to see Siskauskas score again for a 56-64 CSKA deficit. The hosts powered the offensive boards now and Andersen sank a turnaround jumper in a two-chance CSKA offense. Zisis made free throws to get CSKA within 60-64 with six minutes remaining. Woods buried a three-pointer from the corner and Vasilopoulos soon copied him from downtown to restore a double-digit Olympiacos lead, 60-70. Greer made an off-balanced jumper, but free throws by Siskauskas and a seven-meter bomb by Langdon brought CSKA back to life at 66-72. Smodis made a free throw, but Blakney sank a jumper to keep the Reds way ahead, 67-74. Zisis shined with a three-point play and Smodis made free throws to get CSKA back in the game, 72-74. Olympiacos struggled to score when it mattered most, but Zisis missed a go-ahead shot from downtown. Woods missed at the other end, but Smodis scored in the low post with 15 seconds to go. CSKA used a non-shooting foul, after which Olympiacos opted to isolate Greer, who faked and hit the game-winner at the buzzer, allowing Olympiacos to get the win in thrilling fashion!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008