By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The second win of Olympiacos in the EuroLeague regular season was a triumphant one. The Reds beat defending champion CSKA Moscow 84 – 79 on the road to improve their record to 2-3 and hand the Russian side their first loss of the season in the competition.
It was a kind of a 2019-2020 breakthrough game for two Olympiacos players specifically. Brandon Paul scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds for a career-high 24 PIR while Kevin Punter added 16 points.
“We told ourselves that we needed to steal a game on the road, and there’s not much of a better game to steal than this one,” Paul said to EuroLeague TV after the game. “We just came out with a lot of energy, a lot of passion, a lot of fire, and we controlled the game from the start. We did a good job scouting, and we limited their second-chance opportunities. I think rebounding, at the end of the day, was a big key for us. I don’t think a lot of people believed in us, so we had to believe in ourselves”
Paul also made a crucial 3-point play to put his team at a 3-possession distance, 69 – 76 with 2:13 remaining. Darrun Hillard responded for the hosts but then Vassilis Spanoulis drained what was the dagger of the match from beyond the arc. His team remained safe and sound until the end.
Mike James (22 points, six rebounds, five assists), Kyle Hines (19 points) and Hillard (17 points) stood out from CSKA that saw guard Daniel Hackett getting injured in the first half never to return. Olympiacos forward Kostas Papanikolaou was also sidelined at the break.
Giorgos Printezis dropped 11 points (he also had five rebounds) for the winning squad. Nine of Printezis’ points arrived in the second quarter to push Olympiacos to a comeback from 11 points down, 29 – 18 and towards a 39 – 43 halftime lead.
Age is but a number
Spanoulis once again hit a big bucket for Olympiacos down the stretch as he has done numerous times in his career. At 37 years of age, the three-time Final Four MVP doesn’t think of how old he is, but how to deliver for his team.
“I still have the energy; I don’t think of my age,” Spanoulis said to EuroLeague TV. “I just try to enjoy basketball and feel like a kid on the floor, and go into every game to win. What we are doing is a team sport, so it is important that the entire team gives a little bit to get a big win like tonight. The coach had a great game plan, we followed it. This is our most important win this year. Everyone helped and gave the maximum.
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball