By Antonis Stroggylakisfirstname.lastname@example.org
To accomplish this historic achievement, LeDay scored 28 points (7/8 2-pointers, 2/3 3-pointers) grabbed 8 rebounds and won 8 fouls in just 24 minutes he spent on the floor, as Olympiacos reached its third straight win to improve to 6 – 4.
Buducnost, on the other hand, dropped to 2 – 8, a week after the triumph over CSKA Moscow.
LeDay “erupted” near the end of the third period to pretty much secure the victory for his team. The American forward/center pulled off some superb defensive plays and scored 15 points in the last four minutes of the quarter as the Reds reached the final stretch of the match up 76 – 51.
“We are not at 100 percent, but we are making gradual progress and in a good way“, said Olympiacos coach David Blatt after the game. “When a team averages 17 three-pointers in wins and 7 in losses, it is a pretty easy key to stress. It is not only how many they make, but also how many they try, and they tried just 19 tonight, which was a part of our defensive effort. To our players’ credit, they executed the game plan.”
This deficit was too much for Buducnost that had managed to stay competitive in the first half (44 – 37) but fell apart after the break. The Reds dominated the starting minutes of the second half until they made it a 20-point game, 57 – 37, mostly thanks to a sequence of stops on one end that led to transition baskets on the other. Meanwhile, the Montenegrin team failed to connect to the hoop, even in seemingly easy attempts but still managed to react a bit in order to cut their deficit to 13, 63 – 47. That was the moment that… “LeDay” happened though.
For Blatt, however, the MVP was Vangelis Mantzaris: “For my money, today, Vangelis Mantzaris was the best player on the floor. He was just terrific, defensively, running the game, playing for the team, making small winning plays. Those are kinds of things that make the difference in games“.
Earl Clark had 15 points while Nemanja Gordic added 14 points and seven assists for Buducnost. Vassilis Spanoulis scored 17 for Olympiacos while Mantzaris, who earned his coach’s praise, had a team-high six assists and six rebounds.
Coach Aleksandar Djikic added: “Obviously, they were better tonight. And honestly, that’s not a surprise. They are way better than we are. Especially knowing our situation with players, it is what it is. In the end, we missed wide-open shots, which helped them to score in transition. They are a very good fastbreak, early-offence team. And obviously, LeDay had his best game for Olympiacos.”