By Amy Samin
In spite of an impressive 29-13 third quarter in which Maccabi took their first lead of the game, Olympiacos Piraeus defeated the home team 78-77 at Nokia Arena. Maccabi's record in the Top 16 drops to 1-4. After being down by fourteen points in the first half, Maccabi staged a tremendous
Starters for the game included team captain Lior Eliyahu, Yogev Ohayon, Devin Smith, Ricky Hickman and Darko Planinic. The visitors were first to score, but Planinic, Hickman and Smith (with a three from the top of the arc) kept Maccabi close, 11-7 after two and a half minutes of play. Olympiacos continued to rack up the points, and Maccabi struggled to keep up. With three minutes left in the period the visitors had extended their lead to double digits, 24-13. Though David Logan scored three straight baskets, two from downtown, the quarter ended with Olympiacos leading 30-19.
The second quarter started with points from Eliyahu (assist Moran Roth) and Logan but the Greeks kept their advantage, 34-25. Smith and Logan added more points for the home team, and by halfway through the period they had narrowed the gap to 35-29. But the visitors continued to dominate, and a drive by Smith and a putback at the buzzer by Planinic weren't enough, and the teams went into the halftime break with Olympiacos leading 44-33.
Maccabi came out with energy and determination after the break, with Sylven Landesberg grabbing a steal and Smith draining a three from the left corner in the first minute. Landesberg scored and James added points in the paint to make it 46-40 after only a minute and a half. Maccabi continued to show fight and heart, especially in the paint. James and Smith combined to put Maccabi within four, 48-44 after three and a half minutes. The teams traded buckets, including a putback slam by James, and points from Landesberg that made it 52-49 halfway through the period. Landesberg went on to add a catch and snoot from the right corner that put Maccabi within one, and a layup by Ohayon with three minutes on the clock gave Maccabi their first lead of the game, 56-55. The hosts kept up the energy, and a buzzer beater by Eliyahu ended with quarter with Maccabi leading 62-57.
Olympiacos showed they weren't ready to quit by going on an 11-0 scoring run in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and reclaiming the lead, 68-62. Ohayon and Smith scored to put Maccabi back within one, and a layup by Ohayon returned the lead to Maccabi. Logan sank a trey from the right wing, then made a long pass to James for the slam, 74-68 Maccabi with less than four minutes on the clock. Planinic added a putback and a point from the charity stripe to make it 76-72, but Olympiacos fought their way back to a 78-77 lead with a minute left. A last second layup by Planinic came too late, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv lost to Olympiacos Piraeus 78-77 in their fifth Euroleague Top 16 game, falling to 1-4.
Maccabi: Smith 17 points, 3 blocks; Logan 15 points; James 11 points, 12 rebounds; Eliyahu 8 points; Landesberg and Planinic 7 points each; Ohayon 6 points; Hickman 4 points; Caner-Medley 2 points.
Olympiacos top scorers: Spanoulis 24 points; Printezis 16 points.