Euroleague: Olympiacos’ struggles continue
Three games made up the schedule on Thursday in the Euroleague Last 16 as day two of Round 3 continued with more dramatic action around the continent. It was a night where all away teams claimed victory.
Barcelona put a second consecutive defeat on current champions Olympiacos by claiming victory on the road in Group E. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv also collected a road win in Group F by downing Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, while Lokomotiv traveled to Galatasaray and came away with a narrow victory.
Olympiacos vs. FC Barcelona, 72-81
It has been a poor start to the Last 16 by reigning double Euroleague champions Olympiacos after the team lost to Spanish powerhouse Barcelona in Greece. The Reds have now slipped to two consecutive defeats after completing the Regular Season undefeated with 10 from 10. The Greek giant will have to improve from its current 6th in the Group E standings if the club wants to make it three Euroleague crowns in a row. Barcelona has been improving throughout this season and consecutive road victories over Fenerbahce and Olympiacos have sent a message across Europe and put the club top of Group E at 3-0.
The home team took early control of the game in a first quarter that seemed to signal the Greek team was in the mood; the period ended 23-18. Barcelona got closer in the second as Juan Carlos Navarro´s scoring took hold, but Olympiacos showed experience to see out the first half in command of the game, although the lead was slender at 34-32. Navarro´s ascension in the game continued as the seasoned guard started controlling the clash. The Spanish visitors took hold of the lead and went into the fourth stanza holding a solid 48-55 advantage after 30 minutes. Barca went 8-points clear early in the 4th and continued to hold the hosts at bay throughout the last period to secure an impressive away win.
Navarro paced the winners with 21 points while Brad Oleson secured 14.
Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis grabbed 17 each in the losing effort.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv, 78-87
Israeli former Euroleague champion Maccabi Electra Tel-Aviv went 3 for 0 at the top of Group F by defeating Lithuanian powerhouse Zalgiris on the road. Electra has recovered from an indifferent start to the Euroleague campaign by topping Group D, starting the Last 16 in good form, and by winning seven games in a row. The club now sits atop Group F with a 3-0 record, while Zalgiris stays in last place with 0-3.
The Zalgiris Arena was treated to the home team taking early command of the game with a high quality first quarter which was won 25-19. That six point advantage after 10 minutes was maintained during the second quarter and was even extended to 8 points with the halftime score standing at 46-38. With the home team cruising it seemed the Lithuanian fans would go home happy, but Tel-Aviv emerged for the second half in better shape. During the third the visitors tracked down the points deficit thanks to a 2-14 run and had the game tied through three quarters at 63-63. The Zalgiris scoring had ground to a halt and Electra capitalized with 24 points to 15 in the last quarter to snatch a vital win.
Devin Smith topped Tel-Aviv with 15 points, all of which came in the second half, while he also added 8 rebounds to his contribution. Shawn James and Alex Tyus claimed 10 points each while Yogev Ohayon scored 10 and tied a Maccabi Electra record by delivering 11 assists.
There were other record tying accolades for Zalgiris as Justin Dentmon supplemented his 21 points with a record tying 10 assists in the losing team. Paulius Jankunas also finished on 21 for the hosts.
Galatasaray Liv Hospital vs. Lokomotiv Kuban, 62-63
The surprise package of the Euroleague this season continued to shock by recording an impressive road win over Turkish giant Galatasaray. It was the first win of the Last 16 for the Russian team and improves their record to 1-2 in fifth place. Galatasaray has struggled in this phase and sits in 7th place after losing three on the bounce (0-3).
The game followed the same pattern as the other contests on the night as the home team took an early lead with Galatasaray snatching the first quarter by 20-12. The eight point lead was slowly chipped away in the second quarter as Lokomotiv came into the game, although the Turkish hosts still held the lead at halftime (35-32). Galatasaray opened a seven point cushion midway through the third at 51-44, but the visitors responded to put the game even at 51-51 heading into Q4. The game was on a knife edge but once again Gala opened a lead early in the fourth to take a 57-51 advantage. Once again the Russians fired back but were trailing 62-60 with just 0.4 seconds on the clock. Mantas Kalnietis rose from beyond the arc to nail a three pointer on the buzzer to secure a last gasp win for Lokomotiv.
Derrick Brown secured 16 points and 5 steals, while Kalnietis scored 13 for Lokomotiv, with 11 of his haul arriving in the second half.
Carlos Arroyo and Pops Mensah-Bonsu were the standout performers for Galatasaray again with the former nailing 19 points/6 assists and the latter securing 10 points/7 rebounds.
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