Poor shooting costs Olympiakos the Euroleague trophy

Olympiakos challenged host Real Madrid for the first three quarters of the Euroleague final but eventually succumbed with a 78-59 score to the might of the Spaniards, who clinched their record-extending ninth European crown on Sunday.

The fascinating final at the Palacio de los Deportes de Madrid had the lead change hands time and again in a very entertaining game in front of thousands of traveling Greeks as well as the King of Spain.

The early Real Madrid lead was answered by Olympiakos, that went on to advance 21-15 despite having an anonymous Vassilis Spanoulis on the night.

The second quarter saw Real strangle the Olympiakos attack, that also had a very poor record in free throws (46 percent), and with a partial 20-7 score it went to the half-time rest with a 35-28 advantage.

The hosts’ supremacy through fast-breaks and offensive rebounds stretched their lead to 11 points (40-29), but the Reds came back again to lead 41-40 through 12 unanswered points, before three consecutive three-pointers by Jaycee Carroll restored the order in the final (49-43).

The great defensive work of the Greeks was canceled out by their poor shooting rates in attack, as Real pulled away during the last period to add insult to injury for the Piraeus club.

A disappointing Spanoulis, two days after his heroics in the semifinal against CSKA Moscow, scored just three points in the final with one in five field goals, being reminiscent of his showings in the Greek play-off finals of the last few years, as his marking by a taller and more energetic forward appeared to handcuff the Olympiakos captain. His frustration in the end tussling with Rudy Fernandez was quite telling for the man that Real Madrid had feared most.

Olympiakos’s Matt Lojeski was the top scorer of the final notching up 17 points, while among the new European champions is Real Madrid’s Greek center Yiannis Bourousis, a former Olympiakos player.

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