Olympiacos Piraeus won back-to-back Turkish Airlines EuroLeague titles in 2012 and 2013, rallying from double-digit deficits to become European champion. That group of players called themselves "The Comeback Kids", and one member of that side, Kostas Papanikolaou, played a critical role in Friday's semifinal triumph over AS Monaco. Now, thanks to that triumph, Olympiacos has the chance to win its fourth EuroLeague crown.
Down 29-41 at halftime, Olympiacos needed a go-to guy to bring the Reds back into the game. Papanikolaou is in his first year as team captain, following Georgios Printezis's retirement last summer, and took lit the flame for this comeback with a three-point play, which was massively celebrated by the Olympiacos faithful, before draining a three-pointer. He got help from Sasha Vezenkov and Moustapha Fall to put the Reds ahead, 43-41, following a 14-0 run to begin the third quarter.
However, Olympiacos didn’t stop there. When Elie Okobo tied the game with a dunk, Papanikolaou answered with an off-balance basket, sparking a 13-0 run that put the game beyond doubt. Olympiacos outscored Monaco 27-2 in the third quarter, and those 2 points are tied for the lowest score by a team in any quarter in the EuroLeague. Ever.
"I don't know what to tell you, man, emotions are still high," Papanikolaou said afterward. "Great comeback, great tenacity, great fighting spirit in the team. We showed character, that's what is important. Congratulations to everybody in the locker room. They did their best to win this game."