We all hoped that everything will be finalized tonight. But Pini Gershon`s prediction that the quarter final playoffs will be decided
In three games, has materialized. Olympiacos led throughout and deservedly won.
But its was very close to a Maccabi win. A three pointer by Derrick Sharp. His only one in the game, cut the margin to three points 69-66 with 1:25 minute to go. On the other end Tyus Edney missed an open shot with 2 seconds left on the 24 sec clock. But there was no one to stop Panayiotis Vasilopoulos to grab the offensive rebound score and add a free throw (72-66). The final score 76-70 and 1-1 in the series.
The 70 points Maccabi scored, are their lowest of the season. This was a result of an excellent defense by the home team especially on Nikola Vujcic. The Croat scored 23 pts in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and tonight only 2 free throws ub 36 minutes play (0-5 FG).
With 45% FG, 14 TO and only 8 assists, it was impossible to win in Piraeus. The Greeks had also an advantage in rebounding with 34 (12 offensive) to 26 by Maccabi.
The two times Euroleague Champions scored only 15 points in the opening quarter to Olympiacos 21. The hosts led 29-17 in the second before a 9-0 run by Maacabi made it 33-30. at half time the score read 35-30.
Anthony Parker scored Maccabi`s first three pointer at the start of the third period. Will Solomon gathered his fourth personal foul and was called back to the bench. Vujcic scored his only 2 points of the game with 1:50 min to the end of the third and the score read 46-42. But Quincy Lewis scored 4 consecutive points and at the end of the period Olympiacos held a 53-46 lead.
Vujcic had to leave the court for treatment of an injured hand and Maccabi had no answer to the power and strength of Sofoklis Schortsanidis who put his team 62054 up. Solomon had a great spell and made the score 64-61 with three minutes to go. But it was too little too late and Vasilopoulos offensive rebound made sure that the two teams will play the decider on Thursday at the NOKIA Arena.
Both teams had 19 shots from behind the arc: Olympiacos connected on 7, Maccabi only on 5. Maccabi excelled with their free throws – 89% to Olympiacos 81%.
Anthiny Parker had the highest Index Rating (24) of all players with 17 pts in 54% FG. 10 rbds, 2 steals, 2 asts, 1 bsts but also 4 turnovers. Will Solomon was second with an index rating of 19 from 23 pts in 58% FG, 1 ast, 10 received fouls but also 5 turnovers.
Other Maccabi scorers: Sharp 11, Baston 10, Arnold 3, Burstein 2, Shason 2, Vujcic 2 pts.
Top scorers for Olympiakos: Scortsanidis 17, 4 rbds. Lewis 14, Vasilopoulos 10, Edney 10 pts.
CSKA Moscow became the first team to qualify to the Final Four with a 75-71 win in Istanbul over Efes Pilsen. The two other series are at
1-1 . Real Madrid beat Barcelona 84-78 and TAU Vitoria beat Panathinaikos 85-79.