Euroleague Play-offs, Real Madrid and Olympiacos win

Euroleague Play-offsCSKA (vs. Panathinaikos) and Fenerbahce (vs. Maccabi Tel Aviv) took control of their Euroleague Play-off series’ with victories that put both clubs ahead 2-0, and tonight it was the turn of the remaining four clubs.

Real Madrid followed CSKA and Fener’s lead by downing Andolu Efes in the Spanish capital to take a 2-0 lead in the best of five series. As for the other contest between Barcelona and Olympiacos, after being soundly beaten in Game 1 the Greek giant hit back and stunned Barca in its own court.

Real Madrid vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 90-85
Real Madrid edged Anadolu Efes for the second time this week to take a 2-0 lead in its Euroleague Play-off best of five series. The Spanish club is hosting the Final Four this season and is desperate to make the showpiece, and Los Blancos needs just one more win to achieve that goal. However, the series now moves to Istanbul, and Anadolu Efes has shown it may pose some questions yet, especially with the ferocious Turkish support behind it.

Madrid started the game in superior touch and managed to carve a 22-16 advantage as the buzzer sounded for the end of Q1. In the second quarter Anadolu exploded as the visitors stunned Los Blancos with a 15-29 run that snatched the lead through halftime (37-45). Real Madrid was on the ropes, but the hosts regrouped in the third act to win it 26-21 and make it a three point game through thirty minutes, 63-66. The momentum was with the home team and they carried it through the fourth period to reclaim the lead and eventually win the game.

Sergio Lull was a pivotal attacking force for the winners with a double-double of 18 points and 12 assists. He was followed by Rudy Fernandez with 15 points and 7 rebounds, K.C. Rivers with 14 points, and Sergio Rodriguez with 11 points.

Nenad Kristic had a vintage display with a game high 21 points, while Thomas Huertal doubled up with 16 points and 15 scoring passes. Also in double figures through the nets were Cedi Osman with 12 points, and Dario Saric with 11 points.

Barcelona vs. Olympiacos Pireus, 63-76
The series between Barcelona and Olympiacos is the only one tied in the Euroleague Play-offs so far. After Barcelona’s comfortable win in Catalonia on Wednesday, Olympiacos hit back on Friday to even the series. That puts the Greek giant in pole position as the next two games will be held in Pireus, two victories at home will send Olympiacos through to the final four.

Game 2 showcased classic Olympiacos, the giant fighting and digging deep with the odds stacked against it. The visitors edged what was a nervy first quarter to carry a 10-15 score into the second frame. In Q2 Olympiacos added another five points to the deficit with a 15-20 run that made with 25-35 through the midway point. With that double digit advantage the Greek team never looked back, winning both the third and fourth quarters on the way to a cruising win.

Georgios Printezis led the winning effort with a game high 22 points, while he also added 9 rebounds. Vassilis Spanoulis was the architect once again with 16 points and 5 assists, and Evangelos Mantzaris added 12 points.

Juan Carlos Navarro claimed 16 points to top Barcelona, followed by 14 points and 14 boards from an on fire Ante Tomic.

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