Bartzokas: «My players played with heart» (vid)
The Olympiacos’ coach, Giorgos Bartzokas, congratulated his players for their fighting spirit, while focusing on the two rebounds lost that tipped the scales in favor of Barcelona.
“It was a tough game for 45 minutes. It was played possession for possession. Both teams played hard and aggressively. Unfortunately for us, I believe that the two rebounds we lost cost us the game. The first one was in the last seconds of the regulation, when we were leading by two and Larentzakis missed an open three. Right away, Martin fouled Kuric trying for the rebound, resulting in giving our opponent two free throws. The other one was in overtime, when Barcelona missed during a crucial offensive play and Fall fouled Oriola once again trying for the rebound and once again giving away two free throws. That hurt us. Had we gotten at least one of these two rebounds, or at least had we not fouled the opponent, we would have won the game. However, I need to congratulate my players. They deserved to win. They played with heart and tried to remain faithful to the game plan, against a very good and hard team like Barcelona. We have had our chances to win, however, unfortunately we lost. We need to forget about it, because in only two days we play against Zalgiris and we need to move on”.
Asked whether he’s satisfied by the way his team coped against the three Spanish teams coming down with two wins and one loss, he replied: “I’m content. All my players give their best in defense and try to follow the plan. This is not easy, especially when you play against Spanish teams that open up the tempo and try to score many points, especially in the transition. You have to execute very well in offense and ‘push’ them at offensive rebounds and play hard defense, at the same time following along tactical plans. I think that in all three games we proved to be solid with our defense. However, sometimes this is not enough. We need to be doing something more to win the game. I can’t say I’m happy to have lost, especially the way we lost the game, but I think that at this moment we can be competitive on any court and against any team. We are strong enough to play anywhere and try to win the game”.
Finally, on whether this loss is going to be a teaching moment for the ‘reds’, he said: “You always learn, either you win or lose. Maybe sometimes you get to learn more from a loss. We have to control our emotions and to be thinking that every possession is important, especially with the Euroleague. So, you mainly have to control you emotions and no matter what happens in the offense, you have to return to the back court and fight for the possession. We could be analyzing the game and learn a lot from it, if we had the time. Tomorrow though we need to be analyzing the game against Zalgiris. As a general rule though, as a team, we get to learn from each possession, from each tough loss and from every big win”.