Olympiacos, a blowout 113-80 home winner over Union Olimpija
Olympiacos stayed perfect at home and assured itself at least fourth-place standing in Group A by rolling up a 113-83 victory over visiting Union Olimpija on Wednesday. Olympiacos will at least share fourth place with a 5-4 record, same as Zalgiris Kaunas, but both could tie for third if Tau Ceramica loses on Thursday. Union Olimpija lost its fifth game of the last six, fell to 3-6 and is looking at a steep uphill climb to the Top 16. Consistently unstoppably scoring by Olympiacos, which put in 25 points or more in every quarter and all at high percentages, proved too much for Olimpija over the full 40 minutes. Giorgos Printezis and Kostas Vassiliadis paced five double-digit Olympiacos scorers with 21 each. Arvydas Macijauskas added 18 for the winners, Marc Jackson 12 and Jake Tsakalidis 10. Olimpija got 20 points from Maurice Bailey, 18 from Jasmin Hukic, 17 from Marko Milic and 12 from Goran Dragic. Olimpija battled right through the middle of the third quarter, when it drew within 4 points, 61-57, but a 12-0 run by Olympiacos opened the flood gates and there was no closing them the rest of the way.
Giorgos Printezis begun the game hot on both sides of the floor, impressively stopping Marko Milic and then connecting on his own shot to get the hosts started. Macijauskas kept up that tempo, adding a basket-plus-free throw for an early 5-0 Olympiacos lead. Printezis made it 7-2 for the home team, but soon three-pointers coming from Jasmin Hukic and Ronell Taylor allowed Olympija to come as close as 9-8. When Dragic connected and Hukic sank a free throw, the visitors had their first lead, 11-12. It was time for Olympiacos to answer back with a quick and fascinating 11-0 run thanks to a couple of free throws by Macijauskas and 3 consecutive triples coming from big men Printezis, Marc Jackson and playmaker Rod Blakney to make it 22-12. Hukic broke the scoring silence for Olympija from behind the three-point arc, but the hosts remained in charge as Macijauskas, Jackson and Blackney kept Olympiacos rolling to a 28-17 lead after one quarter.
The difference kept rising as Macijauskas added a new basket to open the second quarter. Olimpija needed hope and got some as Chris Booker found the net, Milic put through an offensive board and Hukis bombed again from the arc to make it 33-24. Soon, however, Panagiotis Vassilopoulos and Giannis Bourroussis combined for 4 straight points to help Olympiacos sail to 37-24. Hukic stayed warm from the three-point line with his fourth triple already for 37-27, but Vassiliadis came in off the bench to continue in the same rhythm for Olympiacos. The visitors were not done, however, as Milic, Maurice Bailey and Hasan Rizvic combined for 7 unanswered points to trim the difference to 41-36. Vassiliadis answered with a triple and Jackson scored inside to rebuild the double-digit Olympiacos lead at 46-36. Vassiliadis stayed hot with the last three-pointer of the second quarter, giving him 10 points on perfect shooting in 6 minutes of play, and sending the Reds to the lockers with a 10-point-margin, 53-43.
The rhythm slowed a bit down in the third quarter. Hukic remained the go-to guy for Olimpija, scoring baskets that trimmed the lead to 56-52. Macijauskas nailed a good triple in response, but otherwise the Reds were not finding easy shots now against the Olimpija defense. Milic's basket and a three-pointer by Dragic brought Olympija as close as 61-57, but this prove to be but a scare. Soon, Olympiacos reacted by reeling off a decisive 12-0 run punctuated by 5 points from Vassiliadis that meant a 73-57 scoreboard. Olimpija was struggling to get connected before Milic stepped up, but the Reds again answered back immediately and when Vassilopoulos fired in a three-pointer the difference climbed to 78-61 after 30 minutes.
Vasiliadis gunned his fourth triple to open the fourth quarter at 81-63. Tsakalidis scored in the paint to send it to supply the biggest difference until then, 84-63. Bailey and Milic seemed to prevent Olympiacos from running even further away by cutting the difference to 85-72. But, there wasn't enough time left for Olimpija to seek a miracle. As such, the Reds went on a scoring binge. Vassialiadis scored a basket-plus-free throw while Blakney, Tsakalidis and Printezis added easy points to make it 96-75. Before anyone knew it, the Reds were soaring over 100 points for the third time in five home games this season and looking to rest up for more such fun in 2008.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007