Olympiakos scored a much-needed 78-77 away win at Maccabi Tel Aviv on Thursday to improve its record in the second round of the Euroleague to 2-3 and harbor genuine hopes for a spot in the knock-out stages of the competition.
Despite the absence of injured Americans Acie Law and Josh Powell, the Reds had a great first period, leading 30-19 and then 44-33 at half-time.
Yet after five three-pointers in seven efforts in the first quarter, the European champion had 14 failed efforts allowing Maccabi to crawl back into the game and snatch a five-point lead at the end of the third quarter (62-57).
Knowing that they were playing with their backs on the wall, the Olympiakos players raised their game again and matched their hosts who were unable to capitalize on the Greeks’ poor game in defense and in rebounds.
With the score already at 78-77, the Israelis had three shots off target, kept collecting rebounds, their last effort found the target but did not beat the buzzer, allowing Olympiakos to walk with victory from the Nokia Arena of Tel Aviv.
Vassilis Spanoulis was the Greeks’ top scorer on the night with 24 points, but coach Giorgos Bartzokas also owes a lot to new acquisition Giorgi Shermadini, who had nine points and nine rebounds.