Zalgiris edge Olympiacos in overtime to setup playoff matchup

Zalgiris edge Olympiacos in overtime to setup playoff matchup


Olympiacos 85 - 86 (OT) Zalgiris
(25 - 10)
(43 - 31)
(59 - 56)
(80 - 80)
(85 - 86)

Paulius Jankunas was the hero as Zalgiris Kaunas pulled off a shock come-from-behind upset in Piraeus on Friday night…

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Zalgiris Kaunas erased an early 15-point deficit to defeat Olympiacos 86-85 in an overtime thriller at the Peace & Friendship Stadium in Piraeus on Friday night.
Zalgiris completed the season sweep over Olympiacos for the first time in EuroLeague history as the Lithuanians rallied for a comeback before edging their hosts in overtime.
Brandon Davies led the scoring effort for Zalgiris with 18 points while Jankunas, whose final points were vital in the victory, chipped in with 15 points.
Vassilis Spanoulis again led Olympiacos scorers with 16 points, while Nikola Milutinov notched a near double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds on the night.
Having already clinched home court advantage, Olympiacos coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos opted to rest a handful of players including Georgios Printezis.
With Zalgiris already assured of a sixth-place finish, the Lithuanians appeared sluggish in the first frame as Olympiacos surged to a 15-point lead in the opening frame following a 25-10 run.
Olympiacos’ lead remained strong at double digits through to halftime as the Erythrolefki held on for a 43-31 advantage at the interval despite an improved effort from Zalgiris in the second quarter.
Zalgiris coach Sarunas Jasikevicius seemingly motivated his side at halftime as Zalgiris continued their comeback in the third quarter with a dominant 25-16 run in the third quarter to trim the deficit to just three points heading into the fourth quarter.
From there, Zalgiris completed their comeback in the fourth frame before Arturas Milaknis hit a three-pointer to hand Zalgiris an 80-78 lead late in the frame. A costly Zalgiris turnover, however, handed Olympiacos possession just in time for Kyle Wiltjer to tie the game emphatically before the buzzer as Olympiacos needed overtime for the second consecutive game.
In what proved to be a low scoring overtime period, Zalgiris came out with the win after a 6-5 run in the extra frame – highlighted by Jankunas’ tip-in at the rim with just 2.9 seconds left. Spanoulis, who has proved time and time again his ability to make clutch shots, was unable to steal a win for Olympiacos at the buzzer as the Greek guard saw his shot rim out as the buzzer sounded.
The defeat, coupled with Panathinaikos’ win in Milan and Real Madrid’s victory in Bamberg, means Olympiacos stay locked in at third place in the standings and will face Zalgiris Kaunas in a five-game playoff series.


by Peter Katsiris
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