Euroleague : Olympiacos and Real Madrid strike first

Louis de Kergorlay

In the remaining Euroleague quarter finals, Olympiacos beat Monaco (71-54) while Madrid overcame Maccabi Tel Aviv (84-74).

Last night must have looked like a dream night for Greek side. Under the eye of recently honored legend Vassilis Spanoulis, Olympiakos came strong on the defensive side to preserve their home advantage against Monaco. After an early lead taken by the visitors (15-11), the Greeks took back the control of the game in the wake of Shaquielle McKissic and Giorgos Printezis (12 points each). The defense was also crucial as the Frenchs were limited to just 21 points in the 2nd and 3rd quarter. As expected, the main threat on Monaco’s team was point guard Mike James. He walked out as their top scorer but he only had 10 points in the game.

Olympiacos coach, Giorgos Bartzokas, was very pleased with his team defensive effort before game 2 on Friday night (6 P.M CET).

“I think our defense was really solid the whole game. [Thomas] Walkup did an excellent job, but as a team, we protected our basket. We didn’t allow transitions or the two-point shots they are very strong at. They usually score a lot of shots inside the box. So, we did a great job. It’s just the first game of the series. Next game, I would like to avoid a little the turnovers we made and just be a little bit more patient because we were rushing, trying to finish the game in the first quarter. This is always like this, you need to be patient.”

Madrid vainquishes feisty Israeli side

This Wednesday match between Madrid and Maccabi was a much more closely fought one (84-74). Fabien Causeur came big with 20 points (7/11 with 4/6 from three) alongside 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Fellow frenchman Guerschon Yabusele was also crucial with his 15 points and 4 rebounds. Maccabi had the likes of Scottie Wilbekin (20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists) and Roman Sorkin (12 points, 5 rebounds) but could not overcome the Spanish team effort in the second half to preserve their homecourt advantage.

Madrid’s coach Pablo Laso was pleased with his team collective performance.

“I saw my team very concentrated the whole game, and that is something that we were talking about before the game. That feeling that you can play good, you can play bad, but you are focused for 40 minutes. That is something that we showed today. I am happy because, in the end, it is a team’s thing. I am very happy for Fabien [Causeur], for sure, very happy for the guys who played well. But this one is finished. We have to think about the next one.”

Photo : Paris Lee and Kostas Sloukas (Euroleague)

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