Vassilis Spanoulis’ impressive fourth-quarter performance and Erick Green’s big three-pointer led Olympiacos to another Euroleague Final (the fourth one in the last six years), as the “Reds” prevail over CSKA Moscow (78-82) in Euroleague’s first semi-final.
The 35-year-old player scored 14 points and took over in the fourth quarter, when everything was on the line. Alongside their captain, co-captain Giorgos Printezis (14 points) and Kostas Papanikolaou (14 as well) were equally tremendous for the Greek team.
On the other hand, Milos Teodosic again was impressive for the “Bear, despite his injury, (22 points, four three-pointers), with Nando De Colo adding 16 for the Russians, who saw Olympiacos eliminate them for a fourth straight time in the Final-Four.
In the beginning of the game, CSKA made a better start (7-2), but the “Reds” responded immediately and took a two-point lead (7-9).
However, the defending champions exploited the Greek team’s mediocre offensive performance and closed the first quarter in front by six (18-12), thanks to an 11-3 run.
Later, Olympiacos played better defensively and cut the Russians’ deficit to two (22-20), with Vaggelis Mantzaris hitting a three-pointer, but Teodosic took over and scored 11 points to let his team earn a 13-point advantage (40-27), after an 18-7 run.
Again, though, the three-time Euroleague champions fought back and were down by seven (40-33) at the end of the first half, thanks to a 6-0 run of their own.
Ιn the second half, the “Reds” started executing better offensively and came closer to their opponents (46-43, 48-44), behind two crucial three-point shots by Papanikolaou and their effective post-up game.
CSKA Moscow, though, retained control of the situation, thanks to some decent offensive plays, and was in front by 11 (60-49), with three minutes to go in the third quarter. The “Reds” responded again, though, and were down by four (64-60), after 3 minutes in the game.
In the fourth quarter, it was a close derby between the two clubs, with Spanoulis tying the game twice (69-69, 71-71), with three and a half minutes to go in the game.
The latter gave his team the lead with another three-pointer (73-74), for the first time since the beginning of the game (7-9), but Teodosic again tied the game with his fourth three-pointer (76-76).
It was Erick Green’s shot from beyond the arc, though, that made the difference for the “Reds” (76-79), as Teodosic missed a crucial three-pointer, with six seconds to go, and Spanoulis hit one free throw to seal the deal.