Olimpia struggled in the first quarter of the game vs Maccabi Tel Aviv in Athens, but bounced back very strong and won 80-71 qualifying for the championship game tomorrow. The 12-point deficit (11 at the end of the first period) was canceled during a dominating second quarter when Maccabi was held to 8 points. Olimpia took control of everything, held the opponent to 10 points again in the third quarter and opened a huge lead to finish the game comfortably ahead. Maccabi was able to reduce the margin under the double-figure only at the buzzer because of a three made by Darrun Hilliard. Olimpia didn’t make any jump shots in the first, scored only off dribble drives, fast break layups and offensive rebounds. Naz Mitrou-Long changed the game offensively with three threes in the second when he was sustained by Deshaun Thomas inside game. The third quarter was when Olimpia put its hands on the outcome. Thomas again and Pippo Ricci combined to score 17 points, pushing Maccabi 12 points behind. Stefano Tonut, Thomas once more and finally Mitrou-Long with five more points closed the game off with four minutes left and the margin at 17 points. Nicolò Melli scored only 2 points but was spectacular under the boards, getting 12 defensive rebounds. The big lead allowed Coach Messina to play all his 12 players available. Olimpia didn’t have Kevin Pangos, who was left behind to nurse a minor injury, Shavon Shields and Gigi Datome. Johannes Voigtmann joined the team in Athens but he was not used.
Olimpia Milano-Maccabi Tel Aviv 80-71 (15-24; 37-32; 56-42)
Olimpia: Davies 8 (4/8, 5 r), Thomas 15 (4/6, 1/5, 4/4 ft), Mitrou-Long 19 (3/6, 4/8, 1/1 ft), Tonut 2 (1/1, 0/1, 2 a), Melli 2 (1/3, 0/1, 12 r, 3 a), Baron 7 (0/2, 1/1, 4/5 ft, 4 a), Ricci 13 (2/2, 3/5, 4 r), Biligha 2 (1/1), Hall 7 (2/2, 1/2, 4 r, 4 a), Baldasso (0/2), Alviti 2 (0/1 3pt, 2/3 ft), Hines 3 (1/4, 5 r).
Maccabi: Rowland, Baldwin 11, Martin 2, Menco 5, Sorkin 1, Pnini, DI Bartolomeo 7, Hilliard 18, Cohen 3, Agmon, Hollins 11, Poythress 12.