Α left foot beginning...
Before the TOP-16 Premiere, Dusan Ivkovic kept saying that the game against Fenerbahce/Ulker would be the most difficult one up to now for Olympiacos and his was proven right. The “reds” were bad against the Turks and were edged 84-70.
Fener showed what they were made of from the beginning and playing excellent both in defense and in offense, managed to take a 26-33 lead just before the end of the first half before the “reds” answered with a 7-0 run. The derby continued up to 35’ and that moment the players under Dusan Ivkovic suffered a total black out giving the Turks the chance to gain control of the game and steadily take the lead to very high levels that make the quest for the first place of the group and a very tough one for the “reds”.
The quarters: 18-16, 33-33, 58-55, 70-84.
Per quarter: 18-16, 15-17, 25-22, 12-29
Olympiacos (Dusan Ivkovic): Papaloukas 15(2), Νesterovic 2, Spanoulis 14(1), Bourousis 7, Keselj, Pelekanos, Μavrokefalides 4, Νielsen 2, Papanikolaou 4, Erceg 10(1), Τeodosic 7(1), Halperin 5(1).
Fenerbahce (Neven Spahija): Ukic 17(1), Onan 14(2), Lavrinovic 4(1), Jasikevicius 5(1), Peker, Savas 7, Kinsey 3, Τomas 19(2), May 8, Preldzic 7(1).
DUSAN IVKOVIC: Fener prepared the game very well and won fairly. We prepared a home game. It was difficult for us to find rhythm. In the beginning, we were trailing and then we had the game under control for 35 minutes. We did not find the right solutions then. We played against a closed defense and we were very bad at three-point shots.
The last quarter’s score was 12-29 against us and it was a real shock. No one was expecting this. It’s a negative premiere result for us. We have five more games for the TOP-16 and we have to work as a team. A take the greatest responsibility for the result. I was expecting a tough game, but I had never thought we would play such a terrible last quarter. We had to find rhythm and we weren’t able to do so. It has been a tough game psychologically. Our team is not ready yet. We finished the game with four guards. I told Milos to take the difference down from eight points and it went up to 14.
The players are shocked by the last quarter. Zone defense was our last option. We decided to play zone and the players did not position themselves. We play for the fans and we tried to adjust for this game. The team was under huge pressure as it proved.
KOSTAS PAPANIKOLAOU: It was a bad game. Everyone is entitled to a bad game, but there are no excuses. We had the fans with us and we let them down. We shouldn’t let the fans drift away. We can beat Fener in Turkey by a wider margin. It’s in our hands.
RASO NESTEROVIC: It’s obvious we hadn’t been ready for that game. We completely lost focus in the game. It’s the TOP-16 and everything can happen. No one can say that they hadn’t expected this. It’s a quick round. We play six games in six weeks. We have to get it together fast and improve against Aris and Zalgiris.
NEVEN SPAHIJA: Congratulations to my team for the victory. It’s not easy to beat Olympiacos, but I think we made our best game this season and we deserved to win. We have had some ideas about how to cope against Olympiacos and 90% of what we prepared worked well. We did a very good job, but we need to keep a low profile, because there are a lot of games ahead of us and we still have a lot of work to do. We have a great advantage, but nothing is decided. The game in Istanbul is going to be a very tough one. Also, the games against Zalgiris and Valencia are not going to be easy.