Olympiakos stayed alive in the Euroleague with an imposing second-half performance in Istanbul and beat Anadolu Efes 74-62 on Friday to tie the play-off series 2-2 and bring it back to Piraeus next week.
Efes had the upper hand at the start of the game and dominated the rebounds – particularly the offensive ones – to advance by 13 points (29-16) halfway through the first half.
Olympiakos gradually began eating into its deficit as the host grew frustrated with the Greek defense. At the other end of the court captain Vassilis Spanoulis scored one triple after another and Olympiakos started pulling away in the second half, as pressure grew on the hosts.
The Turkish team even missed its free throws, as Olympiakos went ahead by up to 14 points, forcing the Turkish fans to leave the stands early. They knew that the Greek champion had just denied the host’s great chance to make the Final Four on the night.
The Reds were three times more successful in three-pointers than Efes (46 percent against 15 percent) and scored their most important win to date in the Euroleague. Spanoulis made 18 points for Olympiakos including five triples.
In the Greek league PAOK and Rethymno have advanced to the second round of the playoffs that begin on Saturday.
PAOK swept Lavrio with 2-0 wins in the best-of-three first round of the play-offs and is bracing for an all-Thessaloniki series with Aris, while Rethymno needed three games to see off Kolossos Rhodes and set up a meeting with AEK.
Aris and AEK maintain home advantage in this round, which is also up to three games.