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Real Madrid - Olympiacos

79-80: Madrid had the last play to down Olympiacos

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REPORT | 09/02/2018 | Edu Bueno

The Greeks' defense and some bad luck in the final play prevented the Whites, for whom Doncic was the standout performer with 27 points and a PIR of 33, from taking victory.
  • Euroleague
  • Matchday 22
  • Fri, 09 Feb
WiZink Center
79
80
The WiZink Center once again played host to another thrilling contest between Real Madrid and Olympiacos, which ultimately saw the guests take a one-point victory in a match-up in which the Whites failed to make the last play count. In the last move of the game, Doncic slipped and the foul forced by Campazzo came after the buzzer. Pablo Laso's charges gave their all and managed to haul back a nine-point difference against a fine Olympiacos side, but a run from the guests in the final stages denied the madridistas victory. The leading lights for Madrid were Doncic (27 points and a PIR of 33) and Thompkins (20 and 21).

The two contrasting styles of play were evident right from tip-off. Madrid began proceedings imposing a high tempo by grabbing rebounds in offense and sinking treys, with Doncic and Thompkins claiming six points apiece (13-9, min. 5), but Olympiacos grew into things and improved on the basis of a strong defense to nullify the Whites' offense and put the game right where they wanted it. Vigilado Spanoulis, Printezis and Milutinov became the Greeks' biggest threat as the guests took the first stanza 21-20.
 
Madrid fail to hit the note

A solid Olympiacos, who rebuffed Madrid's every attempt to haul themselves back into contention and displayed some excellent shooting accuracy, bossed the second quarter. The Wiltjer (9), Thompson (7) and McLean (5) trident starred as the Greeks produced a fine offensive display. Madrid were performing in fits and starts and a lack of consistency and with no single player pacing the team, Reyes and Doncic (seven points in this quarter) were left to inspire a catch-up (29-45, min. 20).

Real Madrid will do battle with Barcelona in the next round of EuroLeague fixtures.

After the restart, the Whites showed great aggression. Thompkins opened the scoring in the third stanza with a triple in what was a repeat of the start of the game. Madrid had now found the energy levels required for this type of game. Olympiacos's domination came to an end as the home side were beginning to click as a team. In defense, Tavares was making his considerable height tell with four blocks, whilst in offense, Doncic (21 points) was stealing the headlines alongside the American power forward (15). Madrid levelled terms three times but the guests held on to their lead to head into the final quarter on top (62-65, min. 30). 

Massive rearguard action
Madrid completed the comeback by coming blazing out of the blocks in the final quarter. The home side produced their best defensive showing, preventing the Greeks from scoring for a whole three minutes, during which time they racked up a run of 11-2 to make it 73-67 in the 34th minute to the great joy of the WiZink Center faithful, who willed their team on throughout. Madrid had done the difficult part as it's not every team that are capable of clawing back a nine-point margin against the best defense in Europe.
 
Lady luck wasn't on Madrid's side
However, there was still more to come for a team that knows all about coping with adversities. Olympiacos capitalised on a technical foul on Reyes and with Printezis leading the way, the guests responded with a run of points to head into the final two minutes on top (77-78). Strelnieks and Doncic (who was inconsistent from the three-point line) scored points from the free-throw line for their respective teams, leaving the scores at 79-80 with 15 seconds to go and Madrid in possession. Doncic took on the responsibility but a slip as he was heading towards the basket made Madrid rush the play and there ultimately time ran out before they could take a shot. (79-80, min. 40). 

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