Olympiacos completed a comfortable victory in the Intercontinental Cup as they stormed past Pinheiros to lift the title in Brazil. Having held an 81-70 lead from the first leg, the European champions took Sunday’s second leg 86-69 to win by an aggregate score of 167-139.
The Pinheiros defence early was way too loose and Olympiacos took advantage. The Brazilians were so determined to shut down the inside that they left the Euroleague champions with multiple options from three-point range. Olympiacos took full advantage to burst into an early lead. Pinheiros got their rotations right as the quarter progressed and the Reds were forced to be far smarter with their shots. The Brazilians didn’t over-commit to one area and Olympiacos struggled to score through the middle of the quarter but took a narrow lead into the second frame.
Mirza Begic’s off-ball movement in the second quarter impressed. The big man saw the gaps in defence and moved to exploit them. Olympiacos worked the ball to Begic but his ability to capitalise on the late D was lacking. Early in the quarter he was fed by Spanoulis on the right block but he stuttered, giving the defence time to close him down but a smart pass out to Georgios Printezis set up a three. A similar move later in the quarter should have resulted in a score for the big man. Begic again snuck into space but hesitated when he had options to either drive to the hoop or step back for the short jumper. For all his vision off the ball, Begic needed to do more with his movement to punish Pinheiros.
The difference in class become clear in the third quarter as Olympiacos showed a different level of ball movement to their opponents. The Greeks mixed up their offence to keep Pinheiros guessing and the holes opened up everywhere. It didn’t hurt that Olympiacos were utterly dominant on the boards, getting second-chance opportunities to push home their advantage. The small traveling contingent of Red fans were treated to some dominant play and the lead moved to 16 points with 2 minutes to go in the quarter. Any question of whether the trophy would be returning to Athens had been put to bed. The only matter of note from the final quarter was the great confidence on display from Begic around the bucket.
This completes a solid pre-season for the back-to-back Euroleague champions who will face plenty of questions in 2013-14. Having lost several key pieces from their success over the last two seasons, the new pieces on the Reds roster know the real work is only just beginning.
Keep an eye out this coming week for a new feature on BiE which will break down this game in greater detail.