Olympiacos down CSKA once again in EuroLeague thriller
EUROLEAGUE REGULAR SEASON - ROUND 13
|Olympiacos||88 - 86||CSKA Moscow|
|(23 - 20)
(45 - 48)
(64 - 68)
(88 - 86)
The Piraeus giants had the last laugh in Wednesday night’s clash featuring the top-two sides in the EuroLeague…
Olympiacos are back level for top spot in the EuroLeague following Wednesday night’s thrilling 88-86 defeat of CSKA Moscow at the Peace & Friendship Stadium in Piraeus.
Jamel McLean notched a double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds to pull Olympiacos level with CSKA in the standings at 10-3 – though the Russians do hold a slight advantage thanks to a superior points differential.
Sergio Rodriguez led CSKA with 23 points on the night, while Will Clyburn chipped in with a double-double featuring 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Georgios Printezis and Nikola Milutinov did not suit up for Olympiacos, joining Dimitris Agravanis and Kim Tillie on the growing list of players not available for Olympiacos coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos.
Despite the injuries, Sfairopoulos opted to use a short bench with Vassilis Spanoulis leading all Olympiacos players with just over 31 minutes logged on the night.
Olympiacos didn’t waste time setting the pace early with a 6-2 run straight from tip-off. CSKA responded with an 11-0 run to temporarily turn the tables on the Erythrolefki in the opening quarter; though Olympiacos did answer back to finish the quarter with 17-7 surge for a 23-20 lead by the end of the first frame.
CSKA fought back in the second quarter, with the Russians seemingly motivated to get revenge for last season’s Final Four loss against Olympiacos in Turkey. The Russians, even with just eight players available, managed to take back the lead in the second frame as Dimitris Itoudis’ men led 48-45 by halftime.
A tight third quarter saw neither side establish a firm lead, though a 20-19 run after halftime saw CSKA pad their lead by a point for a 68-64 advantage heading into the final frame.
Olympiacos quickly closed the gap to start the fourth quarter with key shots coming from Janis Strelnieks, before further offensive pressure from the Piraeus giants forced CSKA to take an early timeout.
Instead of CSKA coming out organized from the timeout, it was Olympiacos who looked ready to play as Olympiacos flexed their offensive prowess with a 13-0 run in the frame.
CSKA would fight back, however, as the Russians ensured there would be a tense final moments in Piraeus.
Olympiacos would keep their composure for the most part, but missed free throws made the dying moments more meaningful than necessary as CSKA found life in Olympiacos’ foul-line struggles.
Misses from Strelnieks and Ioannis Papapetrou from the stripe would go unpunished, however, as Clyburn’s three-point attempt at the buzzer went amiss to spare Olympiacos any heartbreak.
Although the win will be celebrated long into the night, Olympiacos will need to quickly refocus with the second half of this week’s EuroLeague doubleheader taking the Erythrolefki across the Aegean to face Anadolu Efes on Friday night.
CSKA will feel disappointed with their effort in Greece on Wednesday night, much do to their lack of focus in the fourth quarter which paved the way for Olympiacos’ comeback. Still, the Russians hold a hefty advantage with their league-best points differential and will look to improve on that total and their overall record when they host Khimki in an all-Moscow clash on Friday night.