Barça beat Olympiacos 68-77 this Friday, guided by Nicolás Laprovittola’s 17 points and Álex Abrines’ 16 points, in a match corresponding to matchday 2 of the Euroleaguealthough achieving its good harvest in Piraeus following an outstanding defensive performance in the final stages.
The Blaugrana team started well in the Pavilion of Peace and Friendship, entrusted to the triples of guard Álex Abrines, who there added to the success of his teammate Nikola Kalinic. In fact, an action by the Serbian forward meant the first culé arreón (5-9), gradually increasing until they enjoyed a +12 (11-23) after another basket by ‘Wolverine’ Abrines.
After the first quarter, 16-23 of the scoreboard reflected a fluid game by Barça, with Czech center Jan Vesely and German power forward Oscar Da Silva doing damage in the ‘paint’. In front, Kostas Papanikolaou and Nikola Milutinov were in charge of the scoring aspect of an Olympiacos with inflexible ideas.
The local thickness continued at the beginning of the second period, with a score of 20-35 after a triple by Argentine guard Nico Laprovittola. That set off the alarms for Georgios Bartzokas, who moved his bench to stretch his players. And thanks to a 7-0 run, guided by Moustapha Fall and Giannoulis Larentzakis, Olympiacos did not fall behind.
The work of Laprovittola from mid-range and Da Silva in the low post maintained the distance; With this, silence still prevailed in Piraeus, something unusual in a pavilion used to being a hive. Both teams took a break until halftime (34-40), although it was more due to the accumulation of errors and fatigue.
Upon returning from the locker room, the culé’s ‘damn’ became evident. The offensive appearance of Isaiah Canaan led a quick Greek comeback (44-42), answered in key moments by Lithuanian guard Rokas Jokubaitis from beyond the arc. Next to him, Laprovittola was also still in tune to give Olympiacos a run for his money.
Laprovittola and Jokubaitis, plugged in
Two free throws scored by Jokubaitis made it 44-50, but Barça once again went into a slump and conceded a 10-0 run. Alec Peters had helped achieve it, joining the catalog of red and white threats from abroad. A triple by Joel Parra stopped the visitors’ bleeding, who then resorted to a usual plan.
Balls to Laprovittola, or failing that to Jokubaitis. It was the Argentine who immediately hit another triple (54-56), facing the last two minutes of a third period that got muddy. In fact, the score did not move until the beginning of the fourth chapter, thanks to a triple by Peters answered ‘ipso facto’ by Jokubaitis.
It seemed like time for the gunslingers and Thomas Walkup wanted his share of the spotlight by scoring seven points in a row (66-59). The game was going to be quite difficult for Roger Grimau’s pupils, but Czech point guard Tomas Satoransky came to the rescue; His triple was followed by a fundamental penetration by Laprovittola (66-64).
At that moment, the Olympiacos short-circuited and received two more triples from Abrines, next to a Vesely basket under the backboard; All of this, plus great defense and intimidation on the rebound, meant that Grimau’s men entered the final minute of the match with a hopeful 66-72.
The good management of the Blaugranas sealed the victory with almost no stress, second in as many days played in the top European competition. For its part, Olympiacos experienced its first defeat of the 2023/24 season on the ‘Old Continent’.
-Result: OLYMPIACOS, 68 – BARÇA, 77 (34-40, at halftime).
OLYMPIACOS: Walkup (14), Canaan (9), Papanikolaou (7), Peters (11) and Milutinov (10) –starting quintet–; Lountzis (3), Larentzakis (5), Brazdeikis (5) and Fall (4).
BARÇA: Satoransky (5), Laprovittola (17), Kalinic (8), Da Silva (7) and Vesely (8) –starting quintet–; Brizuela (-), Hernangómez (-), Abrines (16), Parker (3), Nnaji (-), Jokubaitis (10) and Parra (3).
-Partials: 16-23, 18-17, 20-16 and 14-21.
-Referees: Pukl, Vilius and Silva. No eliminated.
Pavilion: Pavilion of Peace and Friendship.