Mike James CSKA
Photo: Euroleague Basketball

CSKA Moscow dominated the match against Olympiacos this time avoiding the usual ending their games against the Greeks have. Coach Itoudis and his players played exceptionally after the first quarter on both offense and defense and managed to defeat Olympiacos Piraeus, 80-61, on Thursday night (3/12). Olympiacos blacked out after the first half and saw their coach being banned at the end of the third quarter.

CSKA’s usual suspect, Mike James was the top scorer for the Russians with 16 points and 7 assists, with Tornike Shengelia adding another 10. For Olympiacos, George Printezis and Hassan Martin had 10 points respectively.

The Match

In the first quarter, Olympiacos started with a four point lead (2-6), moving around the ball and bringing energy on the defensive end. Both teams wanted to pass the ball inside the paint and score, something that seemed to work in the first minutes of the game (6-8). That’s when Kostas Sloukas and Nikita Kurbanov with a three pointer each started warming up the game from the perimeter (9-11). Livio Jean-Charles with the basket and the foul brought the score to 9-14 with Kostas Papanikolaou hitting the triple to make the 9-17 and putting CSKA into some early trouble. Shengelia replied with two triples in a row, stopping Olympiacos’ run (15-17) with Vassilis Spanoulis scoring for two (15-19). Mike James was the one who put CSKA into the leader’s position with a triple, to end the first quarter, 20-19.

In the second quarter, Olympiacos retained their lead with two free throws from Sasha Vezenkov (20-21) but both teams missed their first offensive efforts in this quarter. An unsportsmanlike foul from McKissic, gave CSKA the opportunity to create score in this second quarter with 2 free throws from Bolomboy and a two pointer from Hilliard (24-21). CSKA extended their lead (26-21) and with Mike James stretched their lead even further, 28-21. With Larentzakis stepping on the court and making the steal Olympiacos registered their first field goal in the second quarter (28-23) but missed the triple. With CSKA leading by 9 points and 3 minutes remaining until the end of the half, Olympiacos scored for two with Hassan Martin, but CSKA ended the first half leading by ten points (39-29).

Photo: Euroleague Basketball

With CSKA Moscow having their largest lead of the match (12 points), the two teams couldn’t find their way to the basket after two minutes of play in the third quarter (41-29). Big shot on a big moment for Olympiacos and Kostas Papanikolaou who made the triple to create score for Olympiacos in the second half (41-32). CSKA’s great passing game led to a triple from Hackett (44-32) bringing their lead back to double digits. CSKA’s defense couldn’t let Olympiacos find its way to the Russian basket and gave the hosts the chance to fire from three with Hackett and get the largest lead of the night. Olympiacos seemed lost, saw their coach getting double technical foul, leaving the arena and ended the third quarter trailing by 18 points.

CSKA seemed unstoppable in the fourth and final quarter with Joel Bolomboy showing his range of angles (60-38). Olympiacos, without coach Bartzokas on their bench seemed lost, turning the ball over despite some individual efforts from Vassilis Spanoulis and George Printezis. CSKA Moscow never looked back, kept their lead close to 20 points and ended the game against Olympiacos, 80-61.