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A defeat in Madrid

Olympiacos lost 88-71 to Real Madrid in Spain and is now trailing the play-off series 1-0. The next game is set for Holy Thursday (17/4) at 20:00 once again in Madrid.

Olympiacos lost 88-71 to Real Madrid in Spain and is now trailing the play-off series 1-0. The next game is set for Holy Thursday (17/4) at 20:00 once again in Madrid.

Our team did not start well defense wise. The home team took advantage of the fact and managed to build a safety net from the very early stages of the game, with the first quarter ending 27-12 for Real Madrid.

Giorgos Bartzokas continued with numerous rotations in the next quarter. Simmons, Sloukas, Spanoulis and Printezis did a great job and the ‘reds’ stepped on the gas and came close to the Madrid team. With continuous threes by Spanoulis the Back2Back European Champions tied the game 41-41, but the hosts run a 7-0 streak and half-time ended 48-41.

The difference was up to 10 points (51-41) at 22’ and at 14 (60-46) at 26’. However, our team tried to make a come-back and closed in at 68-56 with the quarter ending 70-56 for Real Madrid.

In the last quarter, each time the Back2Back European Champions were trying to get back into the game, the Spaniards with improbable shots were gaining on score and psychology. Following a three by Mejri the difference climbed to +18 at 35’. Our team tried to contain the difference, but was not successful and was defeated 88-71.

The quarters: 27-12, 48-41, 70-56, 88-71.
Real Madrid (Laso): Draper, Fernandez 20 (4), Reyes 9, Diez 2, Mirotic 15, Rodriguez 12 (1), Darden 7, Llull 12 (2), Bourousis 6, Slaughter 2, Mejiri 3 (1).
Olympiacos (Bartzokas): Petway 6 (2), Shermadini 5, Dunston 6, Spanoulis 18 (4), Perperoglou 2, Papapetrou 2, Sloukas 7 (1), Simmons 8, Printezis 10, Mantzaris 5 (1), Lojeski 2.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “Congratulations to Real Madrid. They lead 1-0 after tonight’s game, proving that they wanted the victory more than we did. We did not play as decisively as we should have to win. We did not have the right approach to the game. We had stressed that we should not have allowed Real score easy points in the transition and allow the rhythm to open up, but we did not do this and the tempo went up due to our mistakes in the offense. We made 15 turnovers, 11 of which were steals that allowed fast breaks for our opponents. Our approach had not been right and if we wanted to have any luck in the game, we shouldn’t have allowed easy points on their part. In this stage of the competition, despite of winning or losing, it is very important how you prepare for the next game. So, we have to prepare properly for the next game. We’ll prepare the way we have to, to challenge our potential for victory here”.

Asked whether it was Rudy Fernandez the one to hurt Olympiacos the most, Giorgos Bartzokas answered that “he’s a quality player, he made some personal plays, it was something we were expecting from him. Real has many players to gain scoring from, we should have been the ones ready to react”.

The Greek coach was asked about Giorgi Shermadini not playing after the beginning of the game and whether the Georgian center was suffering any injuries. “We played a certain type of defense with our tall players; there was nothing wrong with Giorgi. It was a tactical decision and that’s why he did not play again”.

Finally, the 48year old coach was asked if Vassilis Spanoulis was too alone in the game. “No, I don’t think this was the case. We depend on team game, the main expression of this in scoring and creation being Spanoulis, but when we win games everyone has contributed. The thing is that some of our players that remained inactive tonight shall have to enter the equation in the next game and help us.”

GIORGOS PRINTEZIS: “We still stand enough chance to qualify. We now have to look into our mistakes because we play on Thursday and there is no time to think about a lot of things. We made quite a few mistakes, they had easy fast breaks and scored easy baskets, and they also made some difficult threes that added on their psychology. The series has still way to go. We are up against a very good team, but there is still a lot of way to go”.