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Super defense brings Unicaja down

Olympiacos brought Unicaja down 73-55 and reached three victories for the Euroleague TOP-16. Excellent defense by the Back2Baqck European Champions who did a great job in rebounding as well.

Olympiacos brought Unicaja down 73-55 and reached three victories for the Euroleague TOP-16. Excellent defense by the Back2Baqck European Champions who did a great job in rebounding as well.

Our team tried to impose its rhythm from the beginning. Shooting was poor, but Olympiacos took Unicaja where they wanted them to and the first quarter ended 17-17 with Simmons and Printezis offering offensive solutions.

In the second quarter the entrance of Begic, Petway and Sloukas significantly improved the image of the Back2Back European Champions and the team of Giorgos Bartzokas succeeded in leading 37-31 at the end of half-time.
Perperoglou and Printezis continued with the excellent offensive input while Dunston also offered solutions, Olympiacos controlled the rhythm through its defense and the difference hit two digit numbers for the first time with the third quarter ending 55-41 for the European Champions.

The ‘reds’ amazing defense continued into the last quarter and the difference reached 20 points (61-41) following a basket by Mat Lojeski at 33’. The Spaniards tried to pull the difference in and with a partial 1-7 made the score 62-48 at 36’. The players of Giorgos Bartzokas led by some super defensive play reached an easy victory at the end with a 73-55 score.

Τhe quarters: 17-17, 37-31, 55-41, 73-55.

Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Petway 3, Dunston 12, Spanoulis 2, Perperoglou 11 (1), Sloukas 2, Collins 2, Simmons 6, Begic 6, Printezis 16 (2), Mantzaris 3 (1), Katsivelis 3 (1), Lojeski 7.
Unicaja (Plaza): Vidal, Urtasun 8 (2), Suarez, Granger 2, Vasquez 4, Toolson 5 (1), Koozminskas 8, Dragic 5 (1), Hettsheimeier 4 (1), Caner-Medley 11, Stimac 8.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “The way we had evaluated the meaning of the game, we knew that a victory would be very important, just like any other Euroleague victory at this phase since they can create optimism and give confidence and we did it. I think we are in a better place than where we had been 20 days ago. By completing one game we stop thinking and we are looking at the next. The way we defended discouraged Unicaja from playing its game, a very good team at offensive rebounding and also very good at blocking away from the ball. I think that we controlled that and got the victory. We did not have many players performing great on an individual level but we played very well as a team. Petway is multi-faceted player and Katsivelis was very important for last season’s win of the Euroleague. The way we play, we need all players ready both mentally and physically. You prepare for a game for both the offense and the defense. As far as defense goes, you always try to mess your opponent’s game.Coaches are not always in control, it all comes down to what kind of day the players are having. If we were successful in messing up their game, then great. I think Law is 99% in need of surgery; the thing is what kind of surgery. You have to ask the team doctors and not me. And whether it’s going to be a six month or three month surgery or whatever else”.

MIRZA BEGIC:  “We really wanted this victory and you saw that we are becoming better. I think the key has been our defense. It’s only logical to have a bad period in the season, that’s sports, also not such great performances are part of the game, however we are always trying to play better and improve. I personally want to help the team, no matter how much I play. The thing is that the team wins, and not what my personal performance is”.

STRATOS PERPEROGLOU: “We put enough energy in defense and kept Unicaja with low scoring. We got offensive plays through defense. That’s how we need to present ourselves with our audience. We try to improve every day, work the same way and the rotation with the injured returning has broadened our rotation. We all try to find rhythm and have a better face. It’s important that we have our fans with us in a moment of crisis. We always need them by our side. Gradually the roster gets fuller and it’s important that everyone is helping, we hope to continue the same way, everyone is important and it’s early to talk about anything else”.

JUAN PLAZA: “There’s not much to say. We lost to a very talented team. A teacher of mine has once told me that you always need to have first class players on the floor, players from the top self. Olympiacos has many such players. There’s not much to talk about, Olympiacos has won fairly. We might have had better three-point and free-throws shooting percentages, but if you lose the battle of rebounding and general ranking, you can hardly expect to win. There are no excuses, injuries are not excuses. I never used excuses, neither when I was with Real Madrid nor when I was with Zalgiris. Olympiacos has had good players; they have a team according to their coach plan to fight for the Euroleague title this year as well”.