The “reds” did what they had to against Ilysiakos and sealed the first place of the League’s Regular season with 25 victories and just one defeat. Olympiacos edged the “yellow-blacks” 83-57 securing the home court advantage till the end of the play-offs beginning with the games against PAOK.
The Dusan Ivkovic players began the same way they have been doing for several weeks now no matter the opponent. Seriously and focused. The result? They were leading at the end of the first quarter 23-11 and half into the second one 31-13. They pulled on the brakes at that point with no reason allowing the home team to run an initial 12-0 streak and making a five points game by the end of the first half (28-33) with a partial 15-2.
However, at the beginning of the second half, order was completely restored. At the beginning of the second half, the Dusaqn Ivkovic players ran a 7-0 streak and maintained a wide lead to the end giving the Serbian coach the opportunity to use all his players and mainly Panagiotis Vassilopoulos who returned to action after 14 months and nine day!
The Greek forward received a warm applause from everyone in the gym both when entering and when scoring his first basket.
The quarters: 11-23, 28-33, 36-54, 57-83
Per quarter: 11-23, 17-10, 8-21, 21-29
Ilysiakos (Flevarakis): Spanos, Papanikolopoulos 11(1), Nana 9(1), Chatzis, Apostolides 3, Τhompson 19(3), Κaselakis 4, Tsaprounis 2, Galiotos 7, Κampouris, Theodorou, Τsiakos 2.
Οlympiacos (Ivkovic): Hines 12, Law 7(1), Antic 6(1), Spanoulis 5(1), Vassilopooulos 5(1), Dorsey 2, Κeselj 11(3), Papadopoulos 10, Printezis 7(1), Papanikolaou 6, Μantzaris 9(3), Sloukas 3(1).
DUSAN IVKOVIC: I would like to sincerely congratulate all my players and associates for making the first place of the Regular Season. I believe we are going to be ready for the play-offs as well. We did not control the game well today, especially in the first half. There was no good reaction, we lost rebounds, but we played better in the second half. We now continue working and we are going to work up until Saturday. Happy Easter to everyone and congratulations for the great effort.
PANAGIOTIS VASSILOPOULOS: It was a game we wanted to win to be first for sure and take the home court advantage for the play-offs. We began poorly, but we got better in the second half. There the difference in quality and the bench between the two teams was obvious and I hope we continue the same way in the following games and in the play-offs. We want the championship. It’s a very nice and weird feeling at the same time coming on the floor again. I wouldn’t wish all that even for my enemy. It’s like I started playing basketball for the first time in my life today. What I’ve been through was very tough. I’m glad to be here and to be able to help my team as much as I can to achieve our goals.
ΚOSTAS FLEVARAKIS: Olympiacos deserved qualifying to the Final and congratulations on that. They deserve to be among the four best teams in Europe, although I think they also are the best shaped team at the moment. It’s not easy playing with against a much better team, without fans and after a 3,5 weeks break, such a game is a mountain to climb. But I think we stood our ground for 28’. The last quarter was procedural. Congratulations to all my associates, from the first to the last person on the team, they all went above themselves.
LEONIDAS KASELAKIS: It was a very difficult game and we knew it. We gave some problems for Olympiacos to solve in the beginning, but then the difference was obvious. We have been competitive for 90% of the games we played. I wish to thank the fans, the coach and the President for the chance they gave me. I want to wish Olympiacos my best and wish for Panagiotis (i.e. Vassilopoulos) to be healthy because health is the most important thing.