Olympiacos coach Giannis Sfairopoulos believes that a player like Vassilis Spanoulis might never come around again.
This comes after a relatively quiet Spanoulis came alive in the fourth quarter to score 11 points plus the game changing three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left to end the game with 13, plus give Olympaicos a 70-68 win over CSKA Moscow.
“Spanoulis is our leader,” stated Sfairopoulos. “He’s a player that you can not find these types of players anymore. [He’s] a player that you can hope to find one [for every] I don’t know how many years.
“For sure when you are a leader, everyone is focused defensively on you and this is what CSKA was doing. They were trying to stop him.”
And CSKA did – for three quarters.
“He’s a clutch player,” CSKA forward Andrei Kirilenko said, as the ex-NBA veteran is denied of another opportunity of a Euroleague title yet again by Olympiacos.
“We focused on him and we did a great job but the thing about Spanoulis is that he doesn’t let his head drop. If he’s having a bad game, he continues to push you and he keeps playing. We just didn’t have answers for him down the stretch.”
Unfortunately for CSKA, they haven’t had answers for Spanoulis or Olympiacos for the last three Euroleague Final Fours that they were both involved in.
Spanoulis fed Georgios Printezis for the infamous game-winner in 2012 and he also helped Olympiacos claim another win a year later.
Fast forward two years to tonight, and the evergreen captain took his defender in isolation, and buried a clutch triple.
“I knew the shot was coming,” Olympiacos’ Brent Petway said.
“I knew it was coming because he is famous for that step back shot, and when he shot it, I always think it’s going in and when he shoots it in the fourth quarter, I always think it’s going in.”
And Spanoulis has a chance to make it three Euroleague crowns in four seasons on Sunday, when his side face the hometown Real Madrid, who ousted Fenerbahce in the second semi-final.
It’s 2013 in London all over again for Olympiacos. They outlasted CSKA Moscow on Friday, now Real Madrid await on Sunday.
Can Spanoulis add another chapter to his glittering career?