Champs edge Caja Laboral in high-scoring showdown
Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus opened its title defense by downing Caja Laboral of Spain 85-81 at home at the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Thursday. The Reds used couple of second-quarter runs to erase an early 20-28 deficit. Georgios Printezis scored 7 points in a 16-1 spurt that gave Olympiacos control of the game and Final Four MVP Vassilis Spanoulis and Stratos Perperoglou each hit a triple in 10-0 run to finish the first half. However, Maciej Lampe scored 14 of Caja Laboral’s 29 points in the third quarter enabling the visitors to come back from a double-digit deficit, but led by brilliant Spanoulis and with clutch triples from Pero Antic and Kostas Sloukas, Olympiacos held on for the victory. Printezis finished as the Reds’ leading scorer with 17 points on 3-for-4 three-point shooting. Spanoulis scored 16 and dished out 6 assists, while Perperoglou added 14. Lampe was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points, Brad Oleson added 13 and Andres Nocioni, Fernando San Emeterio and Nemanja Bjelica each scored 11 in defeat.
First quarter: Laboral strikes first
Oleson started the scoring with a three-pointer, but Kostas Papanikolaou and Spanoulis promptly answered and Joey Dorsey scored twice for an 8-0 Olympiacos run. San Emeterio and Nocioni made it 8-7 before Spanoulis and Papanikolaou hit back-to-back three-pointers, giving the home side a 14-9 advantage after five minutes. Printezis and Kyle Hines traded layups with Nemanja Bjelica and Nocioni, before a basket by Fabien Causeur sparked a 0-10 run capped by couple of Carlos Cabezas layups for an 18-23 Caja Laboral led at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: 16-1 run gives Reds the lead
In the opening minute of the second quarter, Bjelica extended the visitor's lead with a layup and Cabezas made it 20-28 with a three-pointer. However, Olympiacos answered with 16-1 run. It all started with a Printezis layup and back-to-back three-pointers by Kostas Sloukas and Printezis. With Perperoglou and Spanoulis hitting 2 free throws each, and Antic scoring inside, the home side opened a 7-point lead. It was, time for visitors to shine as Bjelica and Nocioni each hit a triple to bring Laboral to 38-37 with two and a half minutes left in the half. However, Olympiacos used the remaining time to open a comfortable lead with 10 unanswered points, including triples by Spanoulis and Perperoglou that gave defending champions a 48-37 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Lampe, Oleson put Laboral back ahead
The visitors kept trying to push the tempo and it paid off. Oleson’s fast-break layup opened the scoring in the second half and San Emeterio followed it up with a three-pointer from the left corner. Spanoulis scored a driving layup for the first field goal of the second half for Olympiacos, but Oleson came up with basket-plus-foul and Lampe scored inside to make it 51-48 with two and a half minutes gone in the quarter. Acie Law replied by going coast-to-coast for a layup of his own, but Lampe scored 6 points including a long jumper to tie the game at 54-54. Spanoulis hit a three-pointer on the other end for the home side to regain the lead, but San Emeterio free throws and a Lampe triple gave Laboral its first advantage since the second quarter. A Lampe basket in the low post made it 57-61 with little over three minutes to go in the third quarter. However, Printezis scored 8 points, including two three-pointers, to put Olympiacos back up 65-64 before Bjelica made couple of free throws to give visitors 65-66 advantage entering the final 10 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Olympiacos prevails
Perperouglu hit a baseline jumper to open the scoring in the fourth quarter. Lampe and Dorsey exchanged baskets inside while Spanoulis drove for a layup and a 71-68 Olympiacos lead. Oleson and Perperoglou traded jumpers followed by Bjelica and Hines trading layups. A Thomas Heurtel turnover led to Olympiacos taking a 5-point with little less than five minutes to go in the game. Laboral had chances to reduce that deficit, but Lampe missed a free throw and Bjelica missed an open three-pointer. Antic punished those misses by hitting a lucky triple for an 80-73 advantage and after a long Laboral possession resulted in no points, the big man used Spanoulis’s brilliant assist for a monster dunk and a 9-point lead with two minutes remaining. Nocioni gave the visitors hope with a layup and Huertel hit a three-pointer with 36 seconds left on the clock to cut the lead to 82-78. After a timeout, Spanoulis found a confident Sloukas for a three-pointer that put the game out of the reach for the visitors. Huertel did make layup-plus-foul and Hines missed 4 free throws in final 15 seconds for Olympiacos, but Nocioni missed a fast break layup and San Emeterio missed a three-pointer that could have made it an interesting ending.
Thursday, October 11, 2012