Davies dominates as Zalgiris draw first blood against Olympiacos
EUROLEAGUE PLAY-OFFS - GAME 1
|Olympiacos||78 - 87||Zalgiris|
|(23 - 12)
(38 - 32)
(56 - 53)
(72 - 72)
(78 - 87)
Brandon Davies dominated the offensive end as Zalgiris Kaunas rallied for an overtime win in the playoff series opener against Olympiacos…
Zalgiris Kaunas extended their win streak against Olympiacos to three games this season as the Lithuanian side surged to an 87-78 overtime win in game one of the EuroLeague playoff series at the Peace & Friendship Stadium on Wednesday night.
Brandon Davies dominated in the offensive end for Zalgiris as he notched 21 points to lead the Lithuanians to a 1-0 series lead, while teammate Kevin Pangos continued his strong form on the season with a 20-point night in the port city.
With Kostas Papanikolaou not at the disposal of Olympiacos coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos, the Olympiacos benchboss was forced to improvise which also meant that star man Georgios Printezis started on the bench for the first time in two years – though the Greek international still finished as Olympiacos’ second-highest scorer with 12 points.
Vassilis Spanoulis was Olympiacos’ main source of offensive production, however, as he tallied 25 points to lead Olympiacos in scoring, while also dishing out nine assists for a near double-double performance.
In what was billed as the biggest mismatch in this season’s playoff tree, Olympiacos certainly backed up that claim in the first quarter as the Erythrolefki raced out to a 23-12 lead in the opening frame.
Zalgiris responded well before halftime, however, as a strong team talk from head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius put the Lithuanians back on track to trim the Olympiacos lead to 38-32 at the interval.
Zalgiris kept clawing back in the second half and eventually climbed in front in the third quarter, though Olympiacos ensured their lead was still intact heading into the fourth quarter.
It didn’t take long for Zalgiris to erase the Olympiacos lead in the fourth quarter as a 56-53 deficit quickly turned into an advantage for the Lithuanians. Spanoulis kept the visitors in check, however, as his clutch passing orchestrated a late Olympiacos comeback.
After a big stop on the defensive end, Olympiacos secured the final possession in the fourth quarter with Spanoulis running the court. The Greek international was unable to escape pressure from the Zalgiris defense before slipping while firing a pass to Vangelis Mantzaris; the latter’s desperation three-pointer falling well short at the buzzer.
With the game shifting to overtime, Zalgiris took an early lead off of an Arturas Milaknis three-pointer – an advantage the Lithuanians wouldn’t relinquish en route to the final buzzer.
Pressure now mounts on Olympiacos’ shoulders ahead of the second game of the series in Piraeus on Friday as the Erythrolefki look to even the series before the scene shifts to Kaunas for game three next week.