One victory away from the Championship

He played as the European Champion should have, played with a legendary passion, played with a heart and made 2-1. Olympiacos edged Panathinaikos 84-72 and is now one victory away from winning the Greek League. He played as the European Champion should have, played with a legendary passion, played with a heart and made 2-1. Olympiacos edged Panathinaikos 84-72 and is now one victory away from winning the Greek League.

The ‘reds’ by Dusan Ivkovic gained boost and rhythm from their wonderful fans that packed every corner of the gym and showed what they wanted from the beginning. Marko Keselj started … shooting outside the three point range, Olympiacos took a safety lead and never lost it to the end.

‘Duda’ changed systems and players but none of his players came up short thus contributing to the second victory in the finals.
Even when Panathinaikos came as close as to eight points by half of the third quarter, but it was then that the captain Vassilis Spanoulis took the matters into his hands and order was quickly restored. The lead was even 23 points with the Piraeus team stepping on the brake during the last five minutes allowing Panathinaikos to close the margin to twelve points.

The quarters: 29-18, 53-35, 69-51, 84-72
Οlympiacos (Ivkovic): Hines 6 (2st.), Law 9 (1), Antic 7 (1), Spanoulis 15 (1 3p., 4as.),Dorsey 2 (9 reb. 1def., 8 off.), Keselj 10 (1), Gecevicius 6 (2), Printezis 16 (2), Pananikolaou 6 (2 3p., 5 reb. 4st.), Mantzaris 5 (1 3p., 4 reb., 2 st.), Sloukas 2.
Panathinaikos (Οbradovic): Μaric 3, Perperoglou 9 (5 reb., 1 3p.), Batiste 12, Logan 9 (1), Sato, Tsartsaris 7 (1), Diamantides 12 (1), Vougioukas 3, Calathes 2, Smith, Κaimakoglou 9 (1), Jasikevicius 6.

DUSAN IVKOVIC: “Each game in this series has been very different from one another. The first one that we won was more controlled and we had only scored 9 points from transition in the whole game. Tonight we scored 17. We wanted to impose a higher tempo and we succeeded that in the first half. We completely controlled rebounds, made 3 turnovers and passed 10 assists. In the beginning of the second half, the game was more like the game of the second round of the regular season. We made mistakes and lost the rebounds. And when you play against such a good team as Panathinaikos, you are not allowed to relax even a little. We deserved to win and now we need to be extra careful. I think we are kind of closer to winning the League.

The main factor was that we are a younger team that wanted and could play up tempo. It’s for certain that we cannot play like that in OAKA. Tonight we had control and got help from Law. We had Mantzaris and Katsivelis in the previous games and it’s tough to coach them because they are young guys that have to put a stop to experienced players like Diamantides and Jasikevicius”.

ΚYLE HINES: “We played well, but we have to immediately focus on the next game. Panantinaikos must not come back to our gym. They are an experienced team and they are going to be even more dangerous should a fifth game was necessary. We played an almost perfect game in both defense and offense. We played at a very high level, we scored easy baskets at fast break and wore them down”.

GIORGOS PRINTEZIS: It wasn’t easy; we made it look that way. We were focused tonight; everyone did something extra to bring victory in our hands. We now need one more victory in two games, but we need to be careful, because Panathinaikos is a great team. They are the favorites to win in OAKA and tie the series, but we have to try.

It’s not just energy, because no matter how much you got, if you don’t have a clear head and you don’t shoot well, you can achieve nothing. We played very well in OAKA for 25 minutes, but this had not been enough, so we need something more on Wednesday. We have to remain focused for 40 minutes.

ACIE LAE: It was a tough game. We knew that that whoever gets the victory will be closer to the title. We wanted to impose a fast tempo and take, like it was done, energy from our fans. We played an excellent first half. Our opponents came back, but we reacted properly and got the victory in the end. We are now going to OAKA. It’s going to be a different game for sure, while our opponent is going to have the help from their fans, but we are going to fight for the victory that is going to give us the title.

It was tough to watch the game from the bench. I did not want to disappoint my team mates. But I had to come back after I had fully recovered, since otherwise, more damage could be done. Fortunately, my team mates did an excellent job during that time. Tonight I wanted my presence to be positive for my team and I think I did that”.

ZELIMIR OBRADOVIC: “Congratulations for Olympiacos for a victory deserved. We started the game very badly and with the exception of the beginning of the 3rd quarter we played bad. Something that proves Olympiacos had been more aggressive on both sides of the court is that they grabbed 13 defensive rebounds in the first half. If you add the fact that we made 12 turnovers that gives a -12 ranking then we can understand a lot. Congratulations to Olympiacos for a fair victory”.

It was the end of the '30s when the Olympiacos Basketball team was founded with players form the "Ionidio" School. Great personalities of Greek basketball wore the 'red' shirt, coaches wrote history, victories came and Olympiacos played a leading role inside and outside the Greek borders.
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