Basketball / Olympiacos, Barca vie for title
PARIS - Former Maccabi Tel Aviv players Yotam Halperin and Nikola Vujcic are in position to win their third Euroleague title, this time with Olympiacos, which takes on Barcelona tonight in the championship game. Their teammate Theo Papaloukas could also claim his third ring, having won two previously with CSKA Moscow.
Papaloukas, who tied the record this year with his eighth consecutive Final Four appearance, scored 10 points on Friday in Olympiacos' 83-80 overtime win over Partisan Belgrade. "Olympiacos is a team from my country and it's important to win with a team from your country," he said.
On paper, the league's two finalists are quite different from each other. Barcelona possesses the most vaunted defense in Europe, while Olympiacos fields the best offensive team on the continent.
In the paint, Barcelona is strong thanks to the foursome of Erazem Lorbek, Terence Morris, Boniface NDong and Fran Vazquez. Olympiacos counters with Sofoklis Schortsanitis and top scorer Linas Kleiza (18.6 ppg) as its starters.
Pete Mickeal is the glue player for Barcelona, and will match up with the less physical but more athletic Josh Childress, who fills that role for the Reds.