Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos advance to EuroLeague championship

May 19, 2023, 9:56 AM | Updated: 11:13 am

KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - MAY 19: Sasha Vezenkov, #14 of Olympiacos Piraeus in action during Turkish Airl...

(Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

(Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

Following a slow start that saw Olympiacos enter the halftime break staring at a 41-29 deficit, Sacramento Kings prospect Sasha Vezenkov and his teammates flipped the switch in a big way during the second half.

Olympiacos quickly erased the double-digit deficit and didn’t stop there as they outscored AS Monaco 27-2 during the third quarter.

A 12-point deficit turned into a 13-point lead entering the fourth, one that Olympiacos wouldn’t relinquish en route to a 76-62 win on Friday night in Kaunas, Lithuania.

With the win, Olympiacos has advanced to Sunday’s EuroLeague Championship game against the winner of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

All eyes in Sacramento have been on Vezenkov over the past two weeks as the talented forward has helped his team advance to the final stage of the EuroLeague season.

While Vezenkov struggled to find a rhythm early, the 27-year-old found his shot during the second half, finishing with a game-high 19 points (13 during the second half), six rebounds, and three assists on seven-of-14 shooting from the field and two-of-six from three-point range with Kings’ associate head coach Jordi Fernández in attendance.

“I think this was one of our best defensive performances this year,” Vezenkov said postgame of Olympiacos’ lock-down efforts during the second half.

Vezenkov and Olympiacos out-dueled former Kings forward Chima Moneke, who finished with two points for an AS Monaco team that was outscored 47-21 during the second half.

Over 37 appearances in the EuroLeague this season, Vezenkov averaged 17.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 65 percent on two-point field goals and 39 percent from beyond the three-point arc en route to securing the EuroLeague MVP award.

The Kings hold the 27-year-old’s NBA rights thanks to a draft day deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers last June, and there have been multiple reports that Vezenkov is inching closer to making a commitment to Sacramento that would bring the forward over for the 2023-24 season.

Fans will have to wait a bit longer for Vezenkov to decide whether he will make a move to the NBA, as Olympiacos will play in the EuroLeague championship at 10:00 AM PST on Sunday morning.

Sacramento Kings Offseason Schedule

  • Thursday, June 22– 2023 NBA Draft
  • Friday, June 30– Free Agent negotiating period begins
  • Thursday, July 6– Free Agents can begin signing deals
  • Friday, July 7–Monday, July 17– NBA Summer League in Las Vegas
  • August TBD– 2023-24 NBA regular season schedule release
  • September TBD– Sacramento Kings training camp begins

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