Leaving it behind and moving on
Olympiacos lost to Barcelona 90-77 in a game for the 10th day of the TOP-16 and is now focusing on the game against Siena.
Olympiacos began the game well and with Spanoulis and Printezis leading managed to lead 20-17. However, in the second quarter, the defense of the Piraeus team was not working resulting in receiving 29 points in that time and thus the team of Pascual led 46-36.
The European and Greek Champions showed great resilience and led once again, this time 60-59. But at this point, the ‘reds’ had 0/4 free throws shot by Hines and Spanoulis, a missed three pointer by the latter and thus the margin did not broaden up.
Barcelona reacted, went ahead in the score and won a final 90-77. Now the Catalans have a 9-1 record while the Giorgos Bartzokas team has a 6-4 one.
Τhe quarters: 20-17, 36-46, 62-63, 77-90
Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 4, Law 6, Antic 7 (1), Spanoulis 23 (2), Perperoglou 2, Sloukas 2, Powell 15, Perkins 2, Printezis 16, Papanikolaou.
Barcelona (Pascual): Sada 2, Huertas 5 (1), Navarro 10, Jasikevicius 6 (1), Todorovic, Wallace 6 (2), Ingles 2, Lorbek 21 (2), Jawai 8, Μichael 20, Τomic 10.
GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “We tried, but the result was not a good one… Barcelona was better than us and won. They showed their quality. We let them shoot with 72% from the 2-point range, while our main priority had been to defend the post, either with a second player or with fouls. This was a very determining element, to try and exploit the way Barcelona is defending, with Lorbek on the four who is always inside the post and gives open shots, but we had really bad percentages. With 2/17 three pointers you cannot hope for something decent. After coming back, we showed energy in defense. However, when we missed 4 free throws and an open three-pointer, instead of leading by 10 we found ourselves trailing. Should things have gone different, maybe the game could have evolved in a different manner. This is something Barcelona would have never left unexploited. This is how history was written. We needed more players in a good day and we had to defend the post. Michael’s percentages were so good that left no room for reaction. We certainly should have played better defense to claim something more. We lost by 8 in Barcelona having missed 7 lay-ups… But even this way we could still have luck in the game. Barca is very capable. We cannot match their game. Tomic and Lorbek is a pair of big guys that can be confronted with great difficulty. I don’t think we lacked competitiveness. We fought but details stopped us from gaining momentum. Shermadini have had a very high fever. He was out for 4 or 5 days and had only one day of practice prior to the game. It was a tactical move not to use him the way the game was evolving, but it was also combined with the fact that he lacked strength”.
XAVIER PASCUAL: “We would really like to thank the Greek fans of Barcelona for their support tonight, they helped us a lot. It was a very good game between two very good teams that are not just going after qualification to the play-offs, but rather after the Final Four. We played very well on both ends of the court, but we lost the rebounds in the third quarter, we did not rotate well and Olympiacos was playing excellent at that point. We played much better in the last quarter. We moved the ball better, our percentages were much better, we had foul trouble but this did not stop us and the score difference at the end shows that we got an easy win. Maybe this one of our best moments when we have a lot of smart players, but we also had a lot good and smart players in 2010 when we won the Final Four. I don’t think we are the favorites. We are at the top seeding of the group, but we still have four games to play and we have to fight hard to finish in the highest place possible. I think that both Panathinaikos and Olympiacos are going to make the play-offs, but I cannot predict what is going to happen next because many good teams are going to be there”.