First step to the final…

Olympiacos did what was needed against Panionios and by playing a much better game in the second half reached an easy victory 83-67.

Olympiacos did what was needed against Panionios and by playing a much better game in the second half reached an easy victory 83-67.

The “reds” made 1-0 and on Thursday they receive the “red-blue” for the second semifinal aiming to a second victory.

The Dusan Ivkovic team began with no concentration at all, mainly in defense, and just like the previous game against PAOK in Pilea, gave the opponent the right to get into rhythm. Just before the end of the first half however, the Piraeus team upped their tempo and at the beginning of the second half created a safety lead which was maintained till the end of the game.

The quarters: 23-23, 42-38, 67-54 , 83-67
Οlympiacos (Ιvkovic): Hines 8, Law 5, Antic 9(1), Spanoulis 13(6 fouls won), Dorsey 13 (7 rebounds), Κeselj 9(1), Gecevicius 10(2), Glyniadakis, Printezis 12, Papanikolaou, Μantzaris 2, Sloukas 2
Panionios (Mpartzokas): Xanthopoulos 8(1), Keys 14(2), Αthanassoulas 2, Dimpler 17(2), Κavvadas 6, Ιoannou 5(1), Sarikopoulos 2, Nadjfei 7(1), Paragios, Barlos 6.

DUSAN IVKOVIC: We were bad in the first half just like in the second game against PAOK; our defense was not good at all. The defense has been having problems especially following pick n’ rolls and it kind of makes some sense. We changed the rhythm in the second half and won fairly, while I prepare the team game by game and now we are going to prepare for the second game. Congratulations to Panionios for their route”

Commenting on the HEBA decision not to have any final game taking place before the Final Four, he said: “If this series ends at 3-0 – of course it can take us five games – but if both series end at 3-0, then it will not be good at all for the team to have 12-13 days without games. I said in Thessaloniki whatever had to be said. If HEBA decided on Saturday that we had to play on Tuesday, then what is there for me to say? Since there is not going to be a finals game before the Final Four, then why don’t we play against Panionios every three days instead of every two. I don’t know what the truth is. Panathinaikos and Olympiacos voted in favor of having games played. So, is it PAOK and Drama that play in the Final Four? I cannot understand that, really”.

Next, the Olympiacos coach commented on the statements made by Zeljko Obradovic: “I don’t understand it. I returned with Obradovic from Thessaloniki on Saturday, saw the derby and decided that there can be derbies played before such important games. And now about the rumors and about who voted in favor and who voted against, I just don’t have anything to say. I don’t read the papers, I don’t read anything. There’s nothing to say now… I’m always here to talk and I’m not hiding from anyone”.

GIORGOS BARTZOKAS: After reaching our goal, which had been making the final four of the League and securing playing for the Eurocup, we are called to play against a team with very high ambition. We have to be tough on ourselves and endure for long periods in the game. In the long run, what counts is the lack of solutions coming from the bench. We really matched up against Olympiacos in rebounding. It’s a tough court for our shooters, because the fan tributes are situated far. We really tried, because we managed to put pressure on Olympiacos. We don’t want for the series to be procedural. It’s good to play against the best for as long as you can.

The Panionios’ coach was asked about the HEBA decision not to have play-offs finals before the Euroleague Final Four: “Joining the competition between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos puts you against a lot of people. We were called to play three games against Rethymnon in a very short period; I know how badly we want the League to be over in favor of the National team. Since there is so much pressure to end the League early because of the National team, then why can’t we have the finals earlier? We would also like to have a longer time span for the third place finals against Kolossos. I don’t know exactly if the problem lies in equal or double standards.

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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