Heading full speed to the quarter-finals
Olympiacos bested Caja Laboral 82-74 and speeds full ahead to the Euroleague play-offs.
The Piraeus team used defense to prove they were dead serious about their mission from the first quarter of the game. Kostas Papanikolaou used his tremendous energy to show the rest the way and the first quarter closed with the ‘reds’ leading 18-11. The great work in defense continued into the second quarter as well with Law taking matters into his hands and with the help of Printezis half time closed with the European Champions leading 41-27.
The Piraeus team kept complete control of the game into the third quarter and thus Olympiacos led by 12 at 30’ (62-50). The difference was as much as twenty points at 37’, following Perperoglou’s brilliant last quarter, but the Basques closed in at 8 points following a massive counter-attack, to make the final 82-74.
The quarters: 18-11, 41-27, 62-50, 82-74
Olympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 4, Law 18 (2), Antic 8 (1), Spanoulis 9 (1), Perperoglou 9 (1), Shermadini 3, Sloukas 9 (1), Powell 2, Gecevicius, Printezis 11 (1), Papanikolaou 9 (1), Katsivelis.
Caja Laboral (Tabak): Cook 3 (1), Nocioni 7, Μ.Bjelica, Cabezas, San Emeterio 7 (1), Pleiss 2, Heurtel 16 (4), Lampe 12 (1),Bjelica Ν 12 (1), Causeur 15 (2).
The group results
Maccabi Tel Aviv-Siena 92-61
Οlympiacos-Caja Laboral 82-7
Standings (In 8 games)
1. Barcelona 7-1
2. Siena 6-2
3. Οlympiacos 5-3
4. Κhimki 5-3
5. Caja Laboral 4-4
6. Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-5
7. Fenerbahce/Ulker 2-6
8. Besiktas 0-8
Next game (28/2)
Caja Laboral-Maccabi Tel Aviv
GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “We got a very important victory. We had known it was going to be a difficult game, but what counts is the victory that we succeeded playing a very good defense. Our plan was to contain turnovers and Lampe. Our opponents shot with a 53% from the three point line and thus remained in the game and closed in at 8 points at the end, taking advantage some our mistakes, three in a row and some missed free throws. But I think that all these are of minor importance. We won with the same difference we lost the first game. We had looked for victory, which has been our fourth in a row. Congratulations to the guys for their concentration and their effort in defense. We had a good rotation. Spanoulis had been sick and we wanted not to tire him and have him play the minimum. We succeeded in that and we won relatively easy. Nothing has changed after our defeat from Siena. It’s impossible to maintain a standard high rhythm after so many games. There many good teams out there and if you don’t have a good day, you are going to lose. Many things happened with that game, including the timer incident. Our winning streak could have been bigger, but this is also a good one… We have strong personalities, winners that focus on the team goal. The Olympiacos players show character and this keeps us competitive in this season’s Euroleague as well. We have a structured team, with chemistry being its main characteristic. Each new addition upsets that, that’s why the transition should be smooth. We have one more week of practices that are going to help Perkins blend in”.
ACIE LAW : “It has been an important victory and we keep that. Our main goal had been the victory. We had also wanted to win the difference but we didn’t succeed in that, but victory is what counts. We have six more games ahead of us. We look at each one separately, keeping in mind that we need to focus on what we are going to do and not on what our opponents are going”.
KOSTAS PAPANIKOLAOU: “It’s an important victory for the team. However, we kind of let ourselves down at the end since we lost the difference. When you have such a wide lead a little before the end of the game, it may be that you think that everything is over and your mind relaxes. Nobody wanted that to happen. We won by so many points we had lost in Vitoria. Nevertheless, we only focus on our team and on how we are going to win the remaining games and we don’t want to start doing math on goal averages. I’m glad I’ve helped my team. I was feeling well. What’s important is to continue as a family and focus on the next game”.
JAN TABAK: “Energy is the most important element. There are no technical or other issues to talk about. If you don’t bring out the energy, just like we had been doing at the beginning of the TOP-16, there is nothing else to talk about. We received the majority of points tonight through fast-breaks, one on one plays, or following offensive rebounds. It’s going to be difficult for us to win any more games in the TOP-16, if we allow our opponents to score more than eighty points. We have to regain concentration and play with energy. If we don’t do that, we are not going to be competitive in the TOP-16.”