Olympiakos basketball fans hope it’s a case that history will repeat after watching their team defeat Turkish club Anadolu Efes, 87-78 in the deciding final game of the EuroLeague play-offs to progress to the EuroLeague final four in Constantinople later this month.
The last time the Erythrolefki defeated Anadolu Efes in a play-off series was in 2012-13, when they went on to win the EuroLeague title, defeating Real Madrid in the final.
In Tuesday night’s play-off decider at Olympiakos’s Peace and Friendship stadium, both teams started the match locked at two wins apiece. In a close, tense battle, there was never more than a five-point margin between the two at each of the first three-quarter breaks with the visiting Turkish club creating some nervous moments for the home fans by taking a five-point lead at half time.
However Olympiakos began the second half strongly grabbing back the lead with a 9-0 point run from which they were never headed.
The Greek team’s home advantage, experience and depth proved telling factors in the end. Thirty-four-year-old Captain Reliable, Vassilis Spanoulis led the scoring for Olympiakos with 22 points and six assists which earned him the MVP award for the game. Speaking on Olympiakos BC’s Facebook page Spanoulis told reporters after the match, “Efes was a very, very hard opponent. They showed something different to what they [had shown throughout the season. They played a different brand of basketball – high contact, [a] very physical game. They gave us a very difficult contest. But I believe we performed very well.”
Olympiakos’s depth was on display with important scoring contributions also coming from Giorgos Printezis, Green, Birch, and Papapetrou.
The 3-2 play-off win sends Olympiakos to the final four in Constantinople where CSKA Moscow stand in their way of progress to the grand final.
Olympiakos and CSKA will face off in the semi-final on Friday 19 May while Real Madrid and Fenerbahce will go head to head in the other semifinal.
Olympiakos will be aiming to win its fourth Euroleague title.