Step number two

Olympiacos bested Anadolu Efes 71-53 and made the second out of the three steps required to take him to the London Final-Four.

Olympiacos bested Anadolu Efes 71-53 and made the second out of the three steps required to take him to the London Final-Four.

The Giorgos Bartzokas’ players did not make a good start at the game. They seemed nervous and Anadolu took a 2-12 lead. That however was the only fine minute period when Olympiacos did not have the upper hand at the game. The European and Greek Champions kept complete control of it throughout the remaining 35 minutes.

The ‘reds’ were leading 35-26 at half-time and Olympiacos dominated the floor into the third quarter. Spanoulis, Antic, Hines and Sloukas had their way with the Turkish team and the lead was up by 15 points.

The Piraeus team performed an incredible show in the fourth quarter and won 71-53. Now Olympiacos will be traveling to Istanbul aiming to a victory that will give him the ticket for the London Final Four.

The quarters: 14-16, 35-26,  52-40,  71-53
Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 12, Law 3, Antic 11 (3), Spanoulis 15, Perperoglou 8, Shermadini 1, Sloukas 5 (1), Powell 4, Printezis 7 (1), Papanikolaou 5 (1), Katsivelis.
Αnadolu Efes (Mahmuti): Farmar 8, Vujacic 2, Erden 3, Tunceri, Sipp 7 (1), Gonlum 11, Savanovic 5 (1), Lucas 4, Guller 2, Barac 11.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “It was important that we protect all that we’ve painstakingly building throughout the year. Tonight we were more determined and ready. If we take out the first quarter when we lost a lot of rebounds, we controlled the game. We played excellent defense in both games and this is the marching point for us. The difference is no importance” the Greek coach said and added that “we did what we had to do and put the pressure on the side of the Efes. They have to beat Olympiacos three times in a week, which is no easy task.

Efes is a very talented team and their performance here does them injustice. We have to prepare the best we can mentally, physically and tactically to make the Final Four. Nothing is over yet and we look towards the next game on Wednesday as a final. Efes is going to come together and do their best to win a game in front of their fans. We have to be ready for that. Every game is different.

It was the best game by far in regard to the fans reactions. The team has played some good games and they are going to play even better in the future. I and my players are excited by their support. This team has made us proud. The team cannot maintain a constant high performance level. The thing is to have as many players as possible to be ready at critical games.

Circumstance is always a factor, but also is the opponent. I saw that Sloukas and Antic were good tonight. We need all our players the deeper we come into the final stretch of the season. Our basic center is Hines who usually finishes the games. The other two guys, Shermadini and Powell have different characteristics. Other times we get more help from one and others from the other. We are happy with them and it’s difficult for them to get into rhythm. Shermadini’s addition has helped us a lot into the season”.

ΟKTAY MAHMUTI:  “Congratulations to Olympiacos. We began very well, but we had problems later on, while the injury of Savanovic during the game cost us. We were trailing then, allowed Olympiacos to find rhythm and everything was over. We did not play organized in defense in the second half and this is one of the most crucial factors of the game. Vujacic has had a major operation one month ago, he has just come back and he’s not in the best possible shape”.

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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