Steeled Zalgiris performance ends Olympiacos’ EuroLeague season
EUROLEAGUE PLAY-OFFS - GAME 4
|Zalgiris||101 - 91||Olympiacos|
|(23 - 22)
(51 - 37)
(78 - 56)
(101 - 91)
Olympiacos’ bid for a second straight EuroLeague Final Four is off the cards following a series defeat to Zalgiris Kaunas…
A 101-91 defeat at the Zalgirio Arena in Lithuania on Thursday night saw Olympiacos lose not only game four but also their playoff series as the Erythrolefki were sent packing from the EuroLeague on the heels of a 3-1 series defeat.
Needing a win to force a decisive game five in Piraeus next week, Olympiacos failed to pull-off a comeback as the Erythrolefki slumped to a third defeat of the series – their fifth against Zalgiris this season.
Olympiacos coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos demonstrated the need for urgency in his game plan with both Bobby Brown and Georgios Bogris not afford any playing time as the Greek coach opted for a shortened bench.
Vasslis Spanoulis led all Olympiacos scorers on the night with 19 points and 6 assists, while Janis Strelnieks added 17 points off the bench.
Despite finally finding an answer for Zalgiris big man Brandon Davies, who was limited to just 9 points on the night, Olympiacos struggled to contain Zalgiris playmaker Kevin Pangos as he notched 21 points to lead the home side in scoring.
Edgaras Ulanovas also proved to be a thorn in Olympiacos’ side as the Lithuanian notched 20 points to further compound problems from the Piraeus giants.
Knowing that a win could secure passage to the club’s first Final Four since 1999, Zalgiris started brightly as the home side looked to avoid a return to Piraeus next week. Olympiacos kept the Lithuanian giants in check, however, as a 23-22 run for the home side kept Olympiacos within striking distance after the first quarter.
It didn’t take long, however, for the wheels to fall off for Olympiacos as Zalgiris demonstrated their ruthlessness in offense in the second quarter en route to a 28-15 run in the frame.
Staring down a 51-37 deficit at halftime, things only got worse for Olympiacos in the second half. Zalgiris continued to dominate on the offensive end and another strong quarter from the home side stretched the Lithuanians’ lead to 78-56 heading into the final frame.
Olympiacos gave a valiant effort in the final frame to allow for some damage control on the scoreboard, but a 35-23 run in the fourth quarter came as far too little on a night that the Piraeus club needed perfection.
The win sees Zalgiris become the first side to clinch a berth in the Final Four, with the Lithuanian side managing the feat for just the second time in club history – the first and only previous occasion came en route to Zalgiris’ triumph in Munich in 1999.
With European obligations now behind them, Olympiacos will shift its focus back to domestic duties in hopes of making a strong run in the Greek Basket League playoffs.