Reds snap skid, down Zvezda
Olympiacos Piraeus snapped its seven-game losing streak and kept alive its playoff hopes with a 94-79 win over visiting Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Friday night. The win moved Olympiacos up to a 12-17 record, while already-eliminated Zvezda saw its own losing streak extended to eight games, dropping to 7-21. Olympiacos led the entire first half and, after Zvezda took a slim lead after the break, the hosts used a 12-1 run bridging third and fourth quarters to pull away and close out the victory. Shaquielle McKissic paced Olympiacos with 20 points. Sasha Vezenkov netted 17, while Kostas Sloukas had 14 points and 7 assists in the winning effort. Marko Simonovic netted 19 points, making 5 of 8 three-pointers for Zvezda. Ognjen Dobric had 11 points and Jordan Loyd finished with 10.
Olympiacos caught its rhythm on offense from the get-go. A three-pointer from Vezenkov and a pair to follow him from McKissic made it 13-6. Branko Lazic and Simonovic nailed their own shots from deep for the visitors, but Sloukas pulled all the strings on the Reds' offense, scoring 7 points, including a three-pointer, to make it 24-16. Marko Jagodic-Kuridza had a three-point play for Zvezda, but Vassilis Spanoulis took it to the rim twice to give Olympiacos 30-19 after 10 minutes. To open the second quarter, Georgios Printezis worked the low post to make the historic shot that made him the EuroLeague's all-time leader from two-point territory. But Dobric had 7 points on the other end, including a three-pointer, that helped get Zvezda within 36-32. Olympiacos dominated inside on the offensive end, with Livio Jean-Charles and Sloukas scoring twice each at 48-40. Simonovic answered with back-to-back threes for Zvezda, however, trimming the difference to 53-48 at the half.
Langston Hall and Loyd lowered that difference right after the break. Soon, Hall's fastbreak layup and a long three from Lazic got Zvezda in front 58-59. McKissic and Simonovic traded their fourth three-pointers each, making it 63-64 midway through the third. Kosta Koufos and Ognjen Kuzmic did the same inside before Olympiacos went on an 8-0 run with Vezenkov's triple and a last-second layup from Jean-Charles making it 75-67 after 30 minutes. Giannoulis Larentzakis opened the fourth quarter with a triple for Olympiacos at 78-67. Zvezda ended the hosts' 12-1 run with a three-point play from Dobric and Simonovic's fifth triple to cut the difference to 82-75. Landry Nnoko's dunk made it 84-79 with 3:12 to go, but McKissic drove for an and-one basket to help restore a double-digit margin. The Reds scored the final 10 points of the game, making the final score the largest margin of the night, too.
Printezis two-point king
Georgios Printezis became the all-time leader in two-point shots made when he scored in the low post with 9:19 to play in the second quarter, passing the previous leader Ante Tomic, who has 1,137 two-pointers made.
Olympiacos made 27 two-point shots on 36 attempts, good for 75.0%. That's the first time this season Olympiacos shot better than 70% two-pointers in a game. Remarkably, it is also the second-best two-point accuracy in 513 games this century for the Reds.
Dishing it well
Olympiacos dishes 24 assists, another season high. Vassilis Spanoulis and Kostas Sloukas had 7 apiece. Equally important, the Reds committed just 8 turnovers, which is only the second time this season they turned the ball over fewer than 10 times.
Simonovic ties Zvezda mark
Marko Simonovic knocked down 5 triples, tying Zvezda’s single-game club record for triples made. This is the 14th time a Zvezda player hit 5 three-pointers in a game this century and the fourth time Simonovic did so in his 84 appearances with the club.
Both teams will be at home next week in Round 29, with Zvezda welcoming Khimki Moscow Region on Thursday and Olympiacos hosting Zenit St Petersburg a day later.
Friday, March 5, 2021