Superb “Perpe” and “Sherma”
Olympiacos beat Aris in Thessaloniki 85-68 and reached 20 victories after 21 games for the League. Perperoglou and Shermadini were the best.
The European and Greek Champions did not get a good head start in the game resulting in defensive problems. Spanoulis was creating and Shermadini was executing in offense and Olympiacos was leading 18-17 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter brought more defensive problems and the team of Giorgos Bartzokas went to the locker rooms leading by only 1 point (37-38).
In the third quarter however, playing actually good defense, Olympiacos opened up the margin and led by 18 at 30’ with Stratos Perperoglou and Giorgi Shermadini playing an excellent game. The Piraeus team simply maintained its lead in the fourth quarter reaching the final 84-68.
The quarters: 17-18, 37-38, 46-64, 68-84
Aris (Αngelou): Pelekanos 10 (1), Vezenkov 7 (1), Tsiaras 3, Αsimakopoulos 14 (2), Κarapostolou 8, Charisis 4, Bohoridis 6 (1), Sarikopoulos 4, Mourtos, Verginis 12 (2), Dimas, Τsakaleris.
Οlympiacos (Bartzokas): Hines 12, Law 10 (2), Antic 3, Spanoulis 13, Perperoglou 15 (1), Shermadini 13, Sloukas 11 (1), Perkins 2, Papanikolaou 5 (1), Georgakis, Κatsivelis.
KOSTAS SLOUKAS: “First of all, today is a historical day for Aris. We ought to wish happy birthday to a great club. As far as the game is concerned, we came out with two faces. There are quite a few excuses, mainly due to injuries, since we now play with two big guys on the floor and today Antic got injured as well. But we are not going to come up with excuses. We had a good second half, methodical, stuck with our plan and won relatively easy. We wish Aris all the best for what comes up next. We have four finals ahead of us and two to make the Euroleague”.
GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: “I would also like to wish a happy birthday to the great club of Aris, one of the greatest for Greek Sports. I wish them longevity and to overcome the problems they’ve been facing in all sports. Now, about the game, it was a match where both teams had to deal with a lot of absences. Both teams tried to readjust roles and positions, we play at the moment without Powell and Mavroeidis, two players that play the center position, which causes a lot of problems for us, we were also missing Printezis and Antic got injured as well and we had to play at all times with only guards and forwards and one center. Printezis absence is a very important one for us, he’s the top scorer of our team in the Greek League and the one player that usually no team in Greece can match up his energy which always opens up the game for us, also with the transition and his game in the post. I hope that tomorrow he joins practice and helps us because we have crucial games ahead and it would be good if we played them with the fewer problems possible. As for the game, Aris played an organized game, they created a lot of problems for us in the first half with their post offense, and we should have reacted better there. Starting the second half with a lead was very fortunate for us. The third quarter was decisive because we built a 20 points lead due to playing good defense. We controlled defensive rebounds, where Aris had eight offensive ones only in the second quarter and we finally won quite comfortably despite Aris’ effort to make a come-back at the end. I would like to wish all the best to the coach and Aris and I wish to repeat that we have big challenges and huge games ahead of us. I hope Antic doesn’t have anything serious , he got hurt in a leg to leg collision in the quadriceps, he was in pain and could not go on”.
VANGELIS ANGELOU: “First of all, tonight is a very important day for the club, 99 years of history is something special if you only think about it. I wish to thank the fans for being here tonight and honored this day and with great respect I would like to say that if Aris is the Emperor and if basketball is like chess, then the King is on the chessboard. That means the game is not over yet, there is a battle going on to keep the team on its feet. In regard to the game, I think Giorgos (i.e. Bartzokas) has said it all. In the third quarter with 3/15 shots and seven turnovers and 7-8 defensive mishaps, unprecedented ones, there was no game for us anymore. And we had to reassign roles as well. Vezenkov played for three quarters at the “3” position and only at the end he played the “4”. Bohoridis never entered the game, Pelekanos made a moving effort after only having …half a practice, at some point he tried to manage the game as if he were healthy and at some point he got his other foot sprained. What we keep is the effort and we wish to thank the fans for the support, we are going to try and keep the team at a competitive level to the end. Good luck to Olympiacos. I cannot say that the game against Ikaros is not an important one; it is important but not decisive just yet. We are going to deal with it in that fashion and organize it accordingly, we are going to have three practice sessions and we’ll see who’s healthy and decide what we are going to do. I feel that our experienced players got a feel tonight of what’s the problem with our team. When we play teams that rank better than us, we have endurance problems and we need to find out which is the best distance from the … fireplace. We either get burned or we get cold. That means we cannot manage either frustration or excitement. Tonight, when we were leading by 5 we made some mistakes and then were trailing by 1 when we could have been leading by 12. I have talked with my experienced players and I’m confident they can deal with it and we’ll keep trying to deal with it to the end”.
SOTIRIS KARAPOSTOLOU: “We had prepared for the game well and showed we were after the victory in the beginning. We made a good start, we did what we were supposed to do both offensively and defensively but we lost our concentration in the beginning of the second half, made a lot of mistakes in both offense and defense and I think that defeat was the fair outcome for us in the end. We forget about this game, we have 3-4 days ahead of us to prepare for the game against Ikaros where we need to go and win the game”.