Montepaschi Siena edged Olympiacos 81-80
Bo McCalebb made a game- and perhaps season-saving steal at midcourt to preserve an 81-80 Montepaschi Siena home win over Olympiacos on Friday night and even their playoff series at one victory each. A pair of missed free throws by Igor Rakocevic with 5.8 seconds left gave Olympiacos the ball back, but as Georgios Printezis dribbled across halfcourt, McCalebb came out of nowhere to steal the ball cleanly and dribble untouched as time expired. Only then could the Siena fans, who had seen their team lose a 10-point fourth-quarter lead in Game 1, breathe easily. Heading into Friday's fourth quarter, Siena led by 14 points, 67-53. Olympiacos rallied again, but saw a piece of good luck turn bad on McCalebb's heads-up play at the finish. As such, Games 3 and 4 in the best-of-five series will be played next Wednesday and Friday, respectively, in Piraeus, Greece. McCalebb led the winners with 21 points, while Ksistof Lavrinovic added 18, Rakocevic 13 and David Andersen 12. For Olympiacos, Printezis was the top scorer with 15 points. Pero Antic had his team's first 11 points, but didn't score again, while Acie Law matched him and dished 5 assists for the Reds. Siena survived a huge 17-2 disadvantage in offensive rebounds by turning the ball over just 7 times in the game and shooting 23 of 38, or 60%, on two-pointers.
Antic got off to a red-hot for the visitors, opening the game with a triple on Olympiacos’s first possession. After McCalebb got Montepaschi on the board, Antic scored another basket and made free throws for a 2-7 Olympiacos lead. David Moss sank a foul-line jumper, but Antic was fouled shooting a three and added 2 more free throws. Soon after, he drew Andersen’s second foul, the score was Siena 6, Pero Antic 11. Free throws by Moss and Lavrinovic brought the hosts within 1. Kyle Hines buried a long baseline jumper to become the first Olympiacos player other than Antic to score. Moss banked in a short jumper to give Montepaschi its first lead, 14-13. A three-chance Olympiacos possession resulted in a Kostas Papanikolaou three-pointer. McCalebb darted through the Olympiacos defense for a tough layup to get the crowd pumped up at 18-16. Law went up strong at the other end to tie the score. Another McCalebb drive and free throws by Rakocevic left Siena ahead 22-18 after 10 minutes.
Law scored and then assisted Lazaros Papadopoulos early in the second quarter, but in between Lavrinovic connected from behind the arc. Then Rakocevic converted a three-point play as Siena went ahead 28-22. Despite a bucket from Printezis, Siena continued to roll as Lavrinovic nailed a three and Nikos Zisis attacked the basket to raise the difference to 9. Lavrinovic remained hot with a long jumper before Rakocevic capped a 12-2 charge. Joey Dorsey tried to revive the Reds with a slam to make it 37-26 midway through the second quarter, but Tomas Ress matched him with a slam at the other end. Printezis fired in a triple to make it a 10-point game. Andersen continued the Siena march with an assist to Zisis and a three-pointer of his own. Papadopoulos and Andersen traded baskets. Rakocevic lifted the difference to 16 as the locals sang. Printezis nailed a three to make it 48-35 at halftime.
A free throw by Hines and a baseline drive and slam by Marko Keselj let Olympiacos cut the difference to 10 points, 48-38, to open the second half. When Keselj then drilled a three-ball from the corner, Siena head coach Simone Pianigiani had seen enough and called a timeout. After almost 4 minutes, McCalebb flashed to the basket for Siena's first points since halftime. When he got loose again to reverse a layup on the break, Siena was back up by double digits, 52-41. Vassilis Spanoulis answered for Olympiacos, which then got 2 free throws from Keselj on an offensive rebound as he drew Shaun Stonerook's fourth foul and made it 52-45. McCalebb took over then, however, drilling a pair of triples and feeding Andersen on a lob in between as Siena got to 61-49. Olympiacos had its own go-to guy, Keselj, who dunked again in traffic, but McCalebb would not be denied, scoring on another break, while Lavrinovic reappeared with a short jumper to force an Olympiacos timeout at 64-52. Free throws by Moss and Rakocevic gave Siena its highest lead yet, 67-53, after three quarters.
With memories of their comeback from 10 down in the fourth quarter of Game 1, the Reds got this one going good, too, as Dorsey put back an offensive rebound and Law dropped a lane jumper to make it 67-57. Rakocevic drove to end a two-minute scoring drought by Siena, but Law quickly answered with his own basket. Lavrinovic settled the hosts with a jump hook only to see Kostas Papanikolaou better him from downtown, making it 71-62. Rakocevic connected with Lavrinovic on the next play, but a rebounding miscue let Dorsey score and draw Lavrinovic's fourth foul. Out of a timeout, Printezis buried 2 free throws and a short jumper, and suddenly, it was 73-69 with under 4 minutes to play. Almost 2 tense minutes passed until Andersen got the free throw line and hit both tries, for a 75-69 score, but Law fed Hines on the two-minute mark to make it a two-possession game again. After a shot-clock violation by Siena, Printezis fed Hines for an open layup, but he missed the extra free throw. At 75-73, Moss slipped but somehow got the ball to Andersen, who was fouled and made 2 of 2 free throws again. At 46 seconds, Law completed a three-point play after backing down McCalebb, for a one-point difference, 77-76. McCalebb's drive 20 seconds later yielded 2 perfect free throws, although the second bounced in. Spanoulis hit 2 free throws at 79-78 with 17 seconds left, after which Olympiacos immediately fouled McCalebb. He made the first, missed the second, but when Stonerook grabbed the rebound, Siena was able to take more seconds off the clock until Andersen made 1 of 2 for an 81-78 lead with 9 seconds left. Printezis was fouled and made both with 7 seconds left and an 81-80 scoreboard. Now, Rakocevic went to the line and missed both shots with 5.8 seconds left. The rebound was grabbed by Olympiacos, but as Printezis came across halfcourt with the ball, McCalebb stole the ball from behind and dribbled out the clock to send his team to Greece next week with a victory in hand.
Friday, March 23, 2012