Reporting from Istanbul: Antonis Stroggilakis
In a game decided in the last two minutes, the final score was 82-78 thanks to a big three by Erick Green that gave a crucial 79-76 lead to Olympiacos with 40 second left on the clock, after a 76-76 tie by Milos Teodosic.
Teodosic, however, who had an amazing game with 23 points – his best ever in a Final Four – lost the shot which could have given a 80-79 lead to CSKA. Vasilis Spanoulis made one out of two foul shots after Teodosic’ miss (80-77), Cory Higgins was fouled but made also one and the game was over with Green making two more foul shots.
Spanoulis who had in total 14 points, took charge in the last quarter and gave to Olympiacos a 76-73 lead making clutch plays at crunch time as usual. Giorgos Printezis and Kostas Papanikolaou with 14 points carried Olympiacos during the first three quarters, while Vangelis Mantzaris added 13 crucial points as the Greeks tied a Final Four record with 14 made threes.
The first half was a dogfight with CSKA Moscow having a 18-12 lead after the first period. Yes, it was a low scoring affair with Olympiacos having open shots but starting the game with just one made three in seven attemps.
Finally thanks to the first made three by Vangelis Mantzaris, Olympiacos trailed by two (22-20) with six minutes left for the end of the first half. The answer by CSKA Moscow was a 8-0 run (30-20) which ended by an other three made by Giorgos Printezis (30-23).
Still, CSKA Moscow was hot and Milos Teodosic with two threes of his own gave to the “Army Team” a double digits lead again (37-25). The first half ended with Dimitris Agravanis beating the buzzer with one more big shot beyond the arc, cutting the lead to three (40-33) and giving hope to Olympiacos.
The Reds managed to make it a three points game (46-43), but CSKA Moscow kept things under control and build a 11-point lead (57-46) with Teodosic having 17 points. Papanikolaou was everywhere on both ends for Olympiacos, trying to keep his team alive as the Greeks ended the third quarter trailing by four thanks to two more big threes by Mantzaris (64-60).
True to its nature, Olympiacos never gave up and made it a one point game (65-64) after the first made shot of Spanoulis in the game. A little bit later Spanoulis tied it all at 69 and set the stage for the thrilling finale!