The home side was made to fight but eventually Olympiacos did enough to see off Anadolu Efes in a fiery Game 5 at the SEF. Emmet Ryan shares his observations from a thrilling decider
There was lots of Billy, a good dash of Cedi’s great hair, and some poor decision making that was balanced by all out bravery. It was a bit of a hot mess basically so let’s get too it.
Vassilis Spanoulis does it again
Billy just plain brought it from the off. His final line, 22 points, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 4 turnovers, was about as Spanoulis as it gets. He was risky, sure, but he balanced it with just getting the job done when it mattered. Down the stretch there was some uncharacteristically poor shot selection but he did the damage he needed to do when it mattered. Spanoulis drew 10 fouls on the night, a season high, as he kept bringing the heat to Efes on D. When Efes wouldn’t go away, he found a way to keep them from catching the Reds, with a neat dime to Georgios Printezis taking the pressure off in the fourth quarter. It’s Spanoulis in a must-win game, we’re used to it by now but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
Credit Efes for bravery…
Yesterday’s preview hoped against hope for a war and Efes did their part to make it one. Cedi Osman countered Spanoulis’ early surge with a three, a couple of fast-break dunks, and a heap of energy. The kid still doesn’t look ready for the jump but this series has shown he’s a lot closer than he was at the start of the season. On multiple occasions when the game looked lost, Brandon Paul came up with the goods from deep. The old Efes would, as Alex Proshuta pointed out on Twitter, have wilted under the early Oly surge. This Efes team stayed with Olympiacos and their sheer energy alone was almost enough to shut them down.
…but not for their decision making
While the referees were definitely too whistle happy in this one, too many times Efes players put themselves in boneheaded situations. Dunston picking up his fourth and fifth fouls needlessly, following that up with a technical so the Reds got an extra shot, was the classic example. Alex Kirk likewise put himself made too many high risk calls. The breaks may not have gone the way of the visitors but they did all they could to ensure they got into trouble. This was not a night for high basketball IQ on the whole but Efes did nothing to help themselves.
Lots of love for the second units
A big part of why this game stayed close for as long as it did was how both benches really brought it throughout. Brandon Paul has already got his share of love here but he got plenty of help from Tyler Honeycutt and DeShaun Thomas at each end. Throw in Oly’s Erick Green, two huge threes from Ioannis Papaptreou, and Nikola Militunov doing his beautifully ugly thing who all did their part. The stars may have shone in this game but the other guys made it one. See you in Istanbul.