Olympiacos gave the away sides something to cheer about as they prevailed 76-63 over Barcelona to level their Euroleague quarter-final Playoff series at 1-1.
The hosts have defended their territory so far but Olympiacos, winners in 2012 and 2013 were not prepared to go home with a 0-2 deficit looming.
Instead, they took the game to Barcelona, and a 35-25 lead at half-time was a deserving reward for their efforts. Most were expecting a comeback from the Liga Endesa champions in the second half, but Olympiacos were stubborn. They were not to be denied.
“We improved a lot of things, but we won only one battle, and we have to continue,” said Georgios Printezis, who led Olympiacos with 22 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s a long series, Barcelona is a very good team, especially away. So we have to forget this now and continue in the same way. Today it was me. Next day it will be somebody else. At Olympiacos, that’s the way we play. We won the game by defence, and we just played like Olympiacos today.”
Vassilis Spanoulis added 16 points for the victors with Juan Carlos Navarro equally that mark set by Spanoulis for Barca.
Where Barcelona look to take back home court advantage in Greece, Real Madrid will head to Turkey with a 2-0 lead as they defeated Anadolu Efes 90-85.
But Real had to come from behind in order to claim the win, as a Cedi Osman three-pointer handed the visitors a 60-45 lead with 4:08 left in the third. The home fans looked concerned and coach Pablo Laso called time to rally his troops.
And rally, he did. Slowly but surely, Madrid fought their way back, and a three with 2.1 seconds left in the third from Sergio Llull narrowed the gap to 66-63 heading into the fourth. And from there, the hosts edged the game and secured a 2-0 lead.
In a bid to become the first team to qualify for a home Final Four since Panathinaikos in 2007, Sergio Llull starred for Madrid with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists, while reigning Euroleague MVP Sergio Rodriguez scored all of his 11 points in the final three minutes.
Thomas Heurtel, who amassed 16 points and set a Euroleague Playoffs record with 15 assists.