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Friendly games' finale with a victory

Olympiacos beat Unics Kazan 70-65 and completed its friendly games with seven victories out of eight games.

Olympiacos beat Unics Kazan 70-65 and completed its friendly games with seven victories out of eight games.

Our team, after Rethymno, beat Unics Kazan as well, for the last friendly game before the beginning of the official games for the new season. Cendrick Simmons and Giorgos Printezis did not play against the Russian team.

The 'reds' delegation is returning to Athens Saturday evening (4/10) and focusing on the first official game of the new season against Panathinaikos for the Greek Cup's quarter finals.

Our team began the game well. The 'reds' playing quite good defense managed to keep the Russians at 16 points and thus leading 18-16.

Olympiacos' defense became tighter in the second quarter. Spanoulis, Lojeski and Hunter offered offensive solutions and thus Olympiacos managed to lead 35-29 by the end of the first half.

Unics Kazan closed in 39-38 following a partial 4-9 streak and four minutes into the third quarter, but Dimitris Agravanis with a three point shot made the score 42-38. Our team managed to maintain the lead and was ahead 52-45 at the end of the third quarter.

Lojeski and Spanoulis took over in offense during the last quarter and with continuous scoring gave the 'reds' a 10 points lead (65-55). Our team played a great defensive game during the last quarter and gave Russians a very hard time. But Unics Kazan, with a 10-0 run, tied the game 65-65, one minute before the buzzer. Vangelis Mantzaris scoring one out of two free throws made the score 66-65 with 53'' to go. Then, the Greek guard played amazing defense on Langford and scored a three to make the 69-65 10'' before the end and practically 'sealed' the victory for our team that was marked with a score of 70-65.

The quarters: 18-16, 35-29, 52-45, 70-65

Olympiacos (Bartzokas): Petway 10 (2 3p, 10reb, 1bl), Hunter 8 (7 reb, 1bl), Dunston 10 (4reb, 2st), Spanoulis 13 (3 3p, 9as, 1st), Mantzaris 6 (1 3p, 1as,1 st), Kavvadas, Sloukas 3 (5as), Katsivelis 5 (1 3p, 2reb), Lafayette (3as), Lojeski 12 (1 3p, 6 reb, 2st), Agravanis 3 (1 3p, 3 reb, 2bl)  
Unics Kazan (Pedoulakis): White 12 (1), Langford 14 (1), Zisis 7 (1), Sokolov, Kamakoglou 8 (1), Bykov, Likhodei, Sanikitze 5 (1), Fisher 8, Koubanov 2, Jerrels 9 (2).

Following the end of the game Giorgos Bartzokas spoke about:

The games at Rethymno:  "Those two friendly games were very important for us. That's because we played against two teams that play different kinds of basketball. We also did not have to travel far, that is outside Greece, which was also very important. We are down the final road, but it's only logical not to be 100% ready, unfortunately the absences of Darden and Papapetrou have created a problem for us and we try to change some roles. The problem tonight was that Printezis was also out and we had not to try rotations with two forwards. On a general notice, we are happy and I think we are on the right track".

Τhe tournaments in Istanbul and Rethymno:  "The Istanbul tournament was the strongest one in Europe, here in Rethymno the games were different, but what the team needs is to become better every day and each time respond to the problems presented by the opponent. Today, Unics kept the score at very low levels, just like its coach uses to and it was a good game for us to see how we would be reacting to such a style of playing".

The game against Panathinaikos:  "It's early for both teams. Both have been facing injuries, the fact is that it's a game where I feel that under the circumstances governing it, that is without fans in the gym and the teams not being 100% ready, is going to be a game of not good quality, but what matters here is the result. We'll see. Panathinaikos is a different team this season, with a different coach and different philosophy".

VANGELIS MANTZARIS: "It was indeed a very strong friendly game against a team with a high budget and high level players. We knew this game would prepare us the best way possible in view of the game against Panathinaikos. Definitely, the fact that we have kept our basic roster intact is only good for us. I think we have included the new guys quite well and we have been preparing the best way possible for the game against Panathinaikos. We know how important this game is and we are going to win".