The ‘Legend’ qualifies for the Final Four

Olympiacos edged Anadolu Efes 82-72 and qualified for the eighth time in its history to a Final Four (fourth time in the last five years).

Olympiacos edged Anadolu Efes 82-72 and qualified for the eighth time in its history to a Final Four (fourth time in the last five years).

The game did not begin well for the European and Greek Champions since there was great anxiety that brought a lot of bad shots. It was thus Anadolu Efes managed to lead 21-23 at the end of the first quarter.

The “reds’ continued being nervous and shooting bad into the second quarter and the team of Oktay Mahmuti went to the locker rooms leading by 8 (33-41). However, the heart of the champion ‘spoke’ in the second half.
Law, Perperoglou, Printezis and Powell stepped up. And of course, the one to open them the way was Vassilis Spanoulis. The ‘reds’ leader shooting some big buckets signaled the counter attack and the third quarter closed at 54-55.

The team of Giorgos Bartzokas managed to make the big upset in the last quarter. Olympiacos scored 28 points in the last quarter and reached an 82-72 victory.

Τhe quarters: 21-23, 33-41, 54-55, 82-72.
Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 6, Law 7 (1), Antic 5 (1), Spanoulis 19 (2), Perperoglou 7 (1), Shermadini 2, Sloukas 3 (1), Powell 9 (1), Printezis 15 (1), Papanikolaou 8 (2), Katsivelis 1.
Anadolu Efes (Mahmuti): Farmar 11 (1), Erden 8, Tunceri 7 (2), Sipp 6, Gonlum 3, Savanovic 12, Lucas 14, Guller 9 (1), Barac 2.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “As you witnessed, it was a game of intense emotions. Efes, following the two games in Turkey, got rid of anxiety. So, the way to win was to show we have character. We did it. What happened in the last game in Turkey was something of a miracle and miracles don’t happen every day and this is how qualification got a sweeter taste in here, with our fans present. The club is once again among the top four team, the players and the Presidents deserve congratulating and also my associates that have worked really hard. We have played a lot of games and confirmed we deserved to be here. What happens next is another chapter; tonight we are going to celebrate this achievement. There is no reason for a technical analysis” is what the 47 year old coach had to initially say and he then stressed that “we started the second half trailing by 8, but we made our shots at the time despite not being successful in the first half, although Efes allowed us to shoot. What hurt us was that our legs were heavy due to extreme stress and we lost all one-on-one match ups. At half time, we said that we were going to play one play at a time. I feel we remained calm and I thought that we were going to come back to the game really quickly, which is what happened. You should see and acknowledge the character of some of our players that had not played well in other games but when things got tough showed what they are made of. Law, Printezis, Perperoglou and Spanoulis, the leader. Antic scored a crucial three-pointer. We have players with guts and they just need some encouragement when things get tough. “Ought to” is the greatest obstacle in sports. But if you are the champion, then it’s a motive. The pressure was not just coming from the opponent’s game, but also from people in Greece that were trying to find guilty parts whenever something wrong was happening. So, I would like to say, that although it’s only a few of them, misery is measured psychologically and not financially. We have a talented and tough team. It’s only logical to have ups and downs throughout the season. Mantzaris absence has been an almost insurmountable obstacle, but everyone has given something more to bring Olympiacos here. I would also like to say that as much as I hate being called a nobody following defeats; I hate the same being called a great coach after victories. I’m here to do a job and I would like to thank the Angelopoulos brothers for trusting me and now I get to experience these moments.”

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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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