Lucas lifts Anadolu Efes over champs and into Game 5
Jamon Lucas soared to tip-in a missed Josh Shipp three-pointer with 2 seconds left to lift Anadolu Efes Istanbul to a 74-73 victory over defending Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday at Abdi Ipekci Sports Hall. The result evened their best-of-five playoffs series at 2-2 and forced a do-or-die Game 5 next week in Greece. The fourth quarter featured three lead changes, a 0-12 Olympiacos run, and Efes scoring the final 8 points of the game in what will go down as an instant classic. Jordan Farmar, who scored 6 points in Efes’s late run, but also missed a free throw to tie it with 19 seconds remaining, led the winners with 15 points. Semih Erden tallied 12 points and 12 rebounds, Dusko Savanovic also scored 12 and Luca finished with 10 points for Efes. Acie Law paced the Reds with 15 points, Kostas Papanikolaou had 14 on 4-of-6 three-point shooting, Kyle Hines added 11 points and 4 blocked shots and Kostas Sloukas scored 10 in defeat. Papanikolaou came out sharp in boosting the Reds to an early double-digit advantage. A pair of Kerem Tunceri three-pointers helped Efes get back within 1 in the second quarter, but a Papanikolaou triple lifted Olympiacos to a 38-44 halftime lead. Efes continued to fight and eventually took the lead early in the fourth behind Erden, but Georgios Printezis stepped up with half the points in a game-breaking 0-12 run as the Reds stormed ahead 62-70. In the end, Farmar started and Lucas finished a brilliant comeback to force another certain thriller next week.
First quarter: Law, Papanikolaou pace Olympiacos to double-digit lead
Lucas got the crowd involved with a pair of great defensive plays in the first minute – the second a steal and layup for the game’s first points. Papanikolaou opened the scoring for the Reds from downtown. Erden spun around Giorgi Shermadini for a basket before Printezis connected from deep. Law netted Olympiacos’s first two-point basket to make it 4-8. Shermadini took a seat with 2 fouls, but the visitors rolled on as Papanikolaou drained a three and then scored on the break to put his team up 8. After a timeout, Papanikolaou found Law for a three in the corner and a double-digit lead. Savanovic tried to change things with a jumper and Efes forced Olympiacos into a pair of turnovers. Shipp scored on the offensive glass, but Law buried his second three, 10-19. Lucas buried a long jumper and Stratos Perperoglou split free throws to leave 12-20 on the scoreboard through 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Efes cuts deficit to 1, Sloukas keeps Reds in front
Kerem Gonlum found Stanko Barac for a three-point play to ignite the Efes faithful. The center followed with a triple from the top of the key and a pair of big rebounds. Gonlum sank a pair of free throws to narrow the gap to 20-22. Sloukas countered with a three and Josh Powell buried a mid-range jumper as the Reds remained in control. Printezis delivered his third straight assist – this time to Hines –as the lead grew to 9. Farmar inspired the home side with a three-pointer and Tunceri did the same to make it 26-31 midway through the quarter. Sloukas answered with his second three of the quarter. Four straight free throws by Farmar and a block by Savanovic closed the gap. Tunceri took a baseline pass from Farmar and drilled a triple to make it 33-34. After a timeout, Sloukas stepped up once more with a jumper. Papanikolaou restored a 6-point edge with a steal, which eventually led to a three-pointer. Lucas threw down a one-handed slam and Savanovic drilled a three with 10 seconds left in the half to draw the hosts within 3. Alas Olympiacos used a timeout and Vassilis Spanoulis found Papanikolaou for an open three to boost the Reds to a 38-44 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Savanovic keeps hosts close
The teams mostly traded free throws early in the second half with the exception of a Shipp triple. A second-chance basket for Savanovic made it 45-48. Spanoulis’s steal led to a Law layup and a 6-point Olympiacos cushion. A pair of quick fouls on Law led to him taking a seat on the bench. Shipp and Farmar clawed Efes within 49-51 midway through the quarter. Sloukas fed Hines for a slam, but a Savanovic triple made it a 1-point game and brought the fans to their collective feet. After a Savanovic steal, Sasha Vujacic missed a tough layup; instead Hines quieted the arena with a layup-plus-foul at the other end. Savanovic followed with a jumper only to be matched by Sloukas. Both defenses tightened up in the closing minutes of the quarter, highlighted by a Hines block of Barac, before the buzzer sounded at 56-58.
Fourth quarter: Farmar, Lucas provide the late heroics
The arena erupted as Erden grabbed a Tunceri miss and tied the score seconds into the quarter. Erden’s second basket on the offensive glass of the quarter gave EFes its first lead since the opening minutes. The center then turned creator with a dish to Gonlum for a layup, 62-58. With the arena rocking, Printezis settled Olympiacos down with a basket and foul. Hines tied the game at 62-62. Printezis put the Reds on top once more and Hines made it stand with a nice block on Erden. Hines dunked on the offensive glass and Printezis nailed a three to extend a 0-10 run and make it 62-68. Law added a layup before Erden ended a four-and-a-half minute Efes drought. The Efes center made it 66-71 with a pair of free throws with 95 seconds remaining. Law countered with 2 free throws, but after some strong defense and a Farmar triple with 33 seconds remaining, Efes was within 2. Tunceri came up with a huge steal, got the ball to Farmar, who was fouled with 19 seconds to go. He made the first and missed the second, but Printezis knocked the rebound out of bounds. Efes had a chance for the win. Farmar drove, kicked out to Shipp for an open three. He missed, but Lucas tipped the ball in with 2 seconds to go, 74-73. Sloukas made a desperate attempt at the buzzer, but missed and Efes celebrated a memorable win.
Friday, April 19, 2013