A victory for the top…
Olympiacos was the big winner of the derby against Panathinaikos (78-77) and now has the advantage for winning the top ranking spot in the Regular season of the League. The top spot that is also accompanied by the absolute home court advantage till the end of the play-offs.
In a packed Peace and Friendship Stadium, the Piraeus team started out with heart and complete focus. Mantzaris was amazing at defense and Spanoulis together with Printezis showed the way at offense.
The tremendous Olympiacos defense gave Ivkoivic’ team a small lead that became wider at in the second quarter.
Defense also paved the way for the “reds” in the second half as well and took the lead up to 19p. (61-42) at the beginning of the fourth quarter. The “reds” suffered a kind of a block at that point and Panathinaikos slowly closed the margin with consecutive three-pointers.
The conclusion was exciting with Kostas Sloukas making two free throws 24’’ before the end, making a 78-75 score and then Mike Batiste closed the game at one point with a buzzer beater, despite the original view of the guests that the shot was for three – points and that the game would go to overtime.
Olympiacos got a big victory, however did not manage to cover for the four point difference of the defeat in OAKA and has now to remain undefeated till the end of the Regular season.
Τhe quarters: 22-15, 43-31, 59-42, 78-77
Per quarter: 22-15, 21-16, 16-11, 19-35
Οlympiacos (Ivkovic): Hines 6, Law 6, Antic 7(2), Spanoulis 10, Dorsey 6, Κeselj 6(1), Gecevicius 5(1), Printezis 13(3), Papanikolaou 1, Mantzaris 11(3), Sloukas 7
Panathinaikos (Οbradovic): Perperoglou 10(2), Batiste 16, Logan 7(1), Τsartsaris 3(1), Diamantides 11(2), Vougioukas 12, Κalathes 3, Κaimakoglou 5(1), Jasikevicius 3(1)
DUSAN IVKOVIC: «It was a fair victory and I really would like to congratulate my players. It wasn’t just a derby. Panathinaikos has proved to be at an excellent shape during its European games. We have had many problems. Antic was at the hospital just before the game, and while Papadopoulos had wanted to play, he wasn’t ready. We controlled the game for the three quarters and did not allow our opponent score more than 42 points. However, we made the same mistake we did in the last couple of minutes in Istanbul and this is something we have to work on. We allowed Panathinaikos who was trailing to come back in the last quarter. This is because our players are inexperienced and thought that victory was sealed. They did not play good defense, we did not find solutions for the match ups and this is something we have to work on too. We are in advantage right now and we keep on working. We should always keep in mind that a game against Panathinaikos only ends at the buzzer.
It doesn’t matter now whether I had asked for a foul or not at the last play… I knew we needed to win by five, but we chose to play the last play with no foul. We could have fouled them, but the way the game went we chose not to do so. What matters is that we beat Panathinaikos who is at a very good shape. I think that time is in our favor. We have had some very serious problems with the two point-guards, but tonight Mantzaris and Law played great games. The thing is to play as a team.
What should I say about the refs? I can find at least 15 plays where I think we were wronged. I did not see any anti-sportsman foul, but I’m going to watch the video again, and if it is one, I’ll admit to it. I don’t wish to comment on what Obradovic has said, I don’t want to talk about the refs».
VANGELIS MANTZARIS: «First of all, I would like to congratulate my team for the great victory. We started the game strong, we led by 19 points, but we almost went to overtime. We have to see what’s wrong and improve on that».
GIORGOS PRINTEZIS: « We were better and deserved the victory. The problem is that we find it hard to cope when the opponent presses all over the court. We missed some free throws there as well as our concentration and got a one point game. But we had controlled the game easily for most of its part.
The next game we play in Rhodes against Kolossos is very important for us to make the first place of the regular season, we definitely need to win.
Η ομάδα δεν έχει ταβάνι. Καταφέραμε και φέραμε τον κόσμο στο γήπεδο με την προσπάθεια μας και τον έχουμε κάνει να γουστάρει να μας βλέπει να παίζουμε μπασκετ. Αφήσαμε μια πικρή γεύση στους οπαδούς μας, γιατί χάσαμε την διαφορά αλλά θα πρέπει να κοιτάμε την ουσία, ότι καταφέραμε δηλαδή και κερδίσαμε το ντέρμπι
There is no ceiling for this team. We managed with our effort to bring our fans to the gym and they like what they see. I guess they are kind of disappointed for not making the difference as well, but we have to focus on the essence, which is victory».