Last week, Olympiacos suffered its fifth straight loss in the EuroLeague and the qualification to the playoffs now is in jeopardy for the “Reds”. That said, can the Greek giants turn things around and return to their previous high standards?
With six rounds to go until the end of the regular season, the squad is still dealing with chemistry issues, with key players playing far below their standards.
At the same time, head coach David Blatt seems confused and his game plan does not work effectively on both ends of the floor.
His decisions regarding the team rotation are often controversial and the “Reds” tactics and playing style are predictable.
The match against CSKA Moscow on Friday night (01/03) was the perfect example. The Muscovites decimated the Greeks in Piraeus and forced them to their fifth consecutive loss in the competition (81-97).
Thanks to a dominant performance in the second half (31-46), CSKA Moscow took the lead and never looked back.
Even though the game was close until the middle of the third quarter (63-65), the Muscovites were unstoppable and close the match on an 18-32 run to dominate their opponents.
Six players scored in double figures for the winners, with Cory Higgins leading the way with 18 points. Sergio Rodriguez also had an excellent performance with 15 points and 12 assists.
Zach LeDay (21 points), Vassilis Spanoulis (14 points) and Giorgos Printezis (12 points) stood out for the losing squad.
The Russians, who have already qualified to the postseason, earned their sixth straight win and now have the upper hand in the battle of the second place with Real Madrid (19-5).
On the other hand, Olympiacos now has to fight for the qualification to the playoffs, currently being tied with Bayern Munich and Baskonia (12-12).
The three-time EuroLeague champions have been in free fall over the past couple of months. They play badly both defensively and offensively and easily lose to their opponents (Barcelona, Anadolu Efes, CSKA Moscow).
In January, Olympiacos was fighting for the home-court advantage, but now they have to turn things around to even reach the playoffs.
The Greek team is dealing with chemistry issues, but many players (Axel Toupane, Janis Timma, Sasha Vezenkov) don’t have a specific role in the team’s tactics.
Concurrently, Nigel Williams-Goss and LeDay are still having plenty of playing time, although their presence is often harmful for the team, especially defensively.
For their part, Giorgos Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou have made a series of mediocre performances lately (especially the former). So, only Vassilis Spanoulis and Nikola Milutinov play consistently in the last few games.
To make matters worse, Janis Strelnieks will be sidelined for the next 20 days with a leg injury he suffered during the WC Qualifiers last week. At the moment, only newcomer Briante Weber seems to have the motivation and energy to turn things around.
Olympiacos are currently lacking fighting spirit, while they are facing many problems both on and off the court. If they continue that way, it will not be a surprise if they fail to qualify to the postseason.
When it comes to EuroLeague betting tips, the “Reds” were initially considered a safe option. They were one of the favourites to qualify to the playoffs and earn the home-court advantage.
However, the current betting odds suggest that no one can be sure that the “Reds” will advance to the playoffs.
That said, the question is: Will Olympiacos recover from their deep crisis and make a come-back to secure a spot in the playoffs? Or will their season end in a disappointment? Their next two games against Buducnost and Armani Milano, both on the road, will show more.