Olympiakos is one step from the Euroleague Final Four in Madrid after downing Barcelona on Tuesday for the second time in four days, to edge ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five play-off series.
The Reds survived a second-half comeback by its visitor to win 73-71 in front of a capacity crowd at the Peace and Friendship Stadium and hold on to the home advantage so that it can advance to the Final Four if it wins again on Thursday in Piraeus, in Game 4.
Led once again by an impressive Giorgos Printezis, scorer of 19 points in the night, the Greek league leader dismissed an early Barcelona lead (8-4) to go ahead 26-23 after the first quarter.
A solid second period brought its half-time lead to eight points (44-36), but Barcelona bounced back in the third to go ahead by one point (60-59). However the players of coach Yiannis Sfairopoulos were not to be denied on the night and held off another Barcelona comeback at the end to win by two, as the last-gasp three-pointer by Alex Abrines did not find the target for the Catalans.
Olympiakos skipper Vassilis Spanoulis appears to be back at his best after his injury, as he scored 15 points and distributed eight assists.
Barcelona had a worse shooting rate (22/56 field goals) than Olympiakos (24/51), but its technical supremacy in things like rebounds (33 against Olympiakos’s 31), assists (20 to 19), turnovers (seven to 10) and steals (five to three) shows that the Spanish side is more than just capable of bringing the series back on level terms on Thursday.