CSKA survives Olympiacos’ comeback to snap skid

2021-02-25T21:53:08+00:00 2021-02-26T01:49:23+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

25/Feb/21 21:53

Eurohoops.net

CSKA and Olympiacos gave us a fight to remember down the stretch.

By Eurohoops team / info@eurohoops.net

Mike James drained 2-3 free throws with two seconds to play to give CSKA Moscow a 75 – 74 win over Olympiacos Piraeus in one of the most dramatic and exciting finales in EuroLeague this season.

Giorgos Printezis made the game-winning attempt on the other end and the ball rattled out of the rim. His Olympiacos had made a stunning comeback from down 25 points in the second half to even get the lead in the fourth period in an effort to return to victories. The Reds ultimately suffered their seventh loss in a row and are now seeing their playoff chances getting extremely slim.

James finished with 15 points and six assists while Johannes Voigtmann scored 14 points for CSKA. Army Men newcomer Gabriel Iffe Lunderg had a really solid debut with 13 points on 3-6 3-pointers and four rebounds, scoring nine in the first half as his team got a 26 – 44 lead.

“I haven’t practiced and I haven’t played for a while, so it was good to play back with my team and it was good that we won,” James said. “We needed to win, we have been displaying a lot of ups and downs lately, so it was good we won it.”

It was Shaq McKissic (career-highs 24 points, four steals) who ignited the comeback for Olympiacos. The American guard erupted with three steals and nine unanswered points to push his team towards closing the third period down 49 – 59.

Olympiacos continued to eat pieces of its deficit until it went ahead for the first time in the game thanks to a 3-pointer by Sasha Vezenkov for the 69 – 68 with three minutes to play. Both teams exchanged buckets and it was Printezis who put the hosts up 74 – 73 with 12 seconds remaining.

On other end, James draw the foul by Spanoulis on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws was all that CSKA needed to escape with a win.

“[This win] feels really, really good,” Lundberg. “We played a really good game, especially in the first half, we played defensively really well, we were locked in and executed coach’s game. I’m happy to be here. I think I will adjust fast and I hope so. Everyone was very welcoming towards me, coaches, players, the whole club, so I’m very appreciative for that.”

Two halves, two stories

CSKA Moscow coach Dimitris Itoudis pointed the vast discrepancies in the two halves of the game, with his team dominating the first two quarters and Olympiacos responding with a powerful reaction after the break.

“During the game, it’s been two different faces, two different approaches and mindsets regarding us and Olympiacos,” Itoudis said. “The first half belonged to us; we dictated the tempo with our great defense, deflections, we forced turnovers. We controlled the rebounds and we had 13 assists for 3 turnovers, pretty much not giving them points on the open court, which is something they depend on a lot, on their primary or secondary breaks. The third quarter started pretty much the same; we went up by 25 points, bu Olympiacos still had a last statement in defense, putting Vezenkov on our creators, trying to switch the ball, and that is something we were practicing in the last practices. They managed to stop our creativity, stop our mobility, forcing turnovers and running in open court situations.

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball