It was time for a little bit of relief in Piraeus on Friday night after Olympiacos defeated Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 94-79 to snap its seven-game losing streak.
"We broke a streak, and it feels a lot better than what I thought it would," Shaquielle McKissic, the top scorer for the Reds, said. "It feels good. I can finally get some sleep tonight."
A win was Olympiacos's 300th in the EuroLeague this century. It also gave the Reds the slimmest of hopes to rejoin the playoff race with six games to play and a 12-16 record. However, in terms of current season, there was more to it than just the team's first victory since January 19.
"It was important for us to play with an unselfish attitude, share the ball," head coach Georgios Bartzokas said. "We had 24 assists, and that was the key of the game."
Although that number of 24 assists won't jump out of your screens, it is a season-high number for the Reds. They previously dished 21 assists three times this season, but never more than that. During its seven-game losing streak, the teams averaged just 15.9 assists per game.
Kostas Sloukas and Vassilis Spanoulis each finished with 7 assists. Sloukas facilitated Olympiacos offense in the first half, dishing 6 before halftime, and Spanoulis had 5 in the final two quarters.
What ball movement did was create easy scoring situations close to the basket, allowing Olympiacos to convert 75% of its two-pointers, making 27 of 36 shots. That was not only a season-high, but also the second-best two-point accuracy for a club that played in 513 games in the competition this century.
Especially efficient were the big men, Livio Jean-Charles, Kosta Koufos and Octavius Ellis, who went a combined 9-for-11 from close range. The trio also pulled down 11 rebounds to help Olympiacos control the glass.
With the Reds committing just 8 turnovers, it was hard for this game to finish any other way than seeing the Olympiacos losing streak finally get snapped.