Antonis Kalkavoras comments on the actions of Panathinaikos and Olympiacos in the 19th round. The importance of the “green” double in Valencia after a very modest performance and why the surprise victory over Monaco lifts the “red and white”.
After two days of continuous, shocking matches for the two Greek teams, Panathinaikos Finally, “the pomegranate was broken” on Spanish soil, achieving victory for the first time after 5 years and 18 consecutive defeats. Olympic He achieved 4 consecutive victories and after some time he proved that he can look the opponent he aims to be in the eye Final 4.
But the most important thing is that the “eternal rivals” continue to walk side by side, tied for fourth place in the standings, and as now in every match. EuroLeague Crucially, they have shown they have what it takes to claim their first simultaneous qualification to European Basketball's premier annual event in 12 years.
Panathinaikos: Victory with countless profits!
We do not need to say much to emphasize the multiple importance of the first victory of the “Clover” in Iberia, after this time-consuming passive delivery. Although, after the way he lost 48 hours ago Vitoriawhile also losing its leader, (slokas), due to the withdrawal of close ones.
Usually, when a team loses a match of its own and a major player at the same time, it is difficult for the sequel to do anything good for them. Especially against a very difficult opponent like ValenciaWhich has the second best defense in the tournament.
And much less than that, when his public image is not good, when he gives up 47 points in the first part and when he is its top scorer (Kendrick Nunn) is far from his best with 7 points, 5 fouls, and 3/12 shooting! And when Panathinaikos It “wasted” the momentum it gained in the third period, when it led +9 (50-59 in the 25th minute) and found itself at -7 at the start of the fourth period (73-66 in the 31st minute) and at -5, three minutes before the end.
And all this, after starting the last quarter with 0/8 shots (in the first 4.5 minutes)! Such amazing things happened tonight in “Line“, We are talking about an incredible plot but also about an undeniable display of the character of its players Ergin Ataman.
Especially from him Luca Vildosa (19 points with 5/7 threes), who benefited from increased playing time (due to his absence). behavior And his poor performance Nan) and keep it Panathinaikos “Stand up” in difficult times! In a season where nothing went right for him and on a night, if we discount his prolific display Jerrian Grant (13p, 5p, 6a), none of his other teammates lived up to the match conditions.
Moreover, this was admitted by the Turkish coach himself, who stated with a great deal of honesty that his team tonight did not deserve to win, based on the way they played. Unlike what happened two nights ago in… Basque country.
However, for better or worse, it is these games and these “bad” wins that “build” the character of teams that go far. Because they learn to win on bad nights, because they “bake” in adverse conditions and when the time comes they have the right performance to deal with decisive matches.
So, in that sense, he comes back at dawn as many times as he has won Valencia. Hit him The lessor (12p., 4r. & 2kl.), who, on a very modest night and without the charity line being his “specialty”, made the decisive mistake and had the “whites” to score the decisive shot that set up the final 82-81.
His confidence was boosted gregonis (11D, 3D, and 2M.), who was far from the goal (3/11 shots), “knocked down” the three-pointer for the tying goal (77-75), putting the “clover” back in the game, although even that Then he had 1/5!
Most important of all, is that Panathinaikos He now sits round (with Olympic And her roommates Lantern And Maccabi) is in fourth place in the standings and if he completes the sixth Devil's Week unscathed (2/2), he can reasonably hope to even gain home advantage.
After all, he has already reached +4 (in terms of wins and losses) compared to last season and first in the playoffs and then his dream Final 4Only a dream of spring cannot be considered!
Olympiacos: The win that changes the trend of the year!
Starr opened the 19th round match for the Greek teams at exactly one hour Valerowhere “should” is a bit for 4/4 (after the gila b Valencia And autonomy in Bologna), a bit of a crowded stadium, a bit of a humble image in the victory over the decimated team Armani And a little how difficult it is to fight with MonacoIt was clear that they had put a lot of pressure on his shoulders Giorgos Bartzokas And the players.
For this reason, from the gumball until the weather at chef It reminded me of the qualifying match! After all, the two teams have met 13 times (including a friendly in September 2021) in almost 2.5 years (7-6 record) and Monaco have always been one of the toughest rivals for the 'red and white'.
Everyone remembers the shocking development in the quarterfinal series that sent him off Olympic In the Final 4 to Belgrade (2022) in the fifth match (in his presence Kevin Durant), as well as last year's duels played by his team Princely He had won both regular season matches, and Piraeus took the bite out of his mouth in a shocking semifinal Kaunas (2023), with this unimaginable 27-2 lead in the third period!
Having watched from 7-8 meters from the ground, most of Piraeus' home matches this year, I come back to consider them their fourth win in a row (75-73), not just as the most important season, but as the season that gives them the opportunity to change her perspective.
But also because she was one of those that her coach “liked”. In fact, a few hours after the final horn sounded, the team's 58-year-old coach himself admitted as much, emphasizing the essence of his philosophy with the following sentence:I hate the word “leader”! In my opinion, he is the one who always sacrifices for the team and sets an example!“, he commented meaningfully, having seen earlier that the performance of his players indicated perhaps more than ever this year, this competitive model he envisions!
And indeed with his team Sasha Obradovic To enter the field with an intense focus on “fixing” defeat behind closed doors Maccabi In the Serbian capital and with the athleticism and physicality of its players (along with the double teams that the hosts sent to Mike James), to create many mismatches from the beginning, h Monaco In the first half, he hit nine consecutive attacks and escaped with a score of 13-21 in the eighth minute!
Even if the second unit did an excellent job (with its own unique inconsistencies Milutinov And the Brazdeikis) in defense and s Olympic The visitors were never allowed to escape with a margin greater than -6 (48-54 in the 28th minute), and from the way the match developed, it was clear that Monaco had the upper hand!
You want his amazing maturity Mosques (Even though it was blown up walk towards And Williams GossHe didn't make any bad decisions and finished the match with 7 assists and zero fouls. Who was dividing the match correctly? Do you like the nine offensive rebounds he had the most (14 in total) and the European runner-up's difficulty getting to the basket due to the defensive pressure he received?
It was clear that the Reds and Whites needed a very dynamic breakthrough than that provided by their own ability to defend! And if the third-period scoring was “saved” mainly by earned fouls and shot accuracy (7/8) in the third period, his six points are extremely valuable. Papanicolaou (8 p.) And from his distant “bomb.” CanaanIn the fourth quarter, he could see sparks in the eyes of everyone who stepped on the ground.
Who should I refer to first? to Shaquille McKissick (13 points with 3/4 triples), and he is his only player Olympiaco With the ability to change the pace of his vertical game?
His return for good was proven by the steal he pulled in the first part and the pinfall that followed (while in the immediately preceding match, at a similar point he went to a standstill)! The 33-year-old American goalkeeper had his best appearance of the year in a game that “burned” and his 3-pointer hit at 22 points, putting his signature wide in the final. 75-73.
to Thomas Walkup (9p., 7p. and 9as.), playing perhaps his busiest game of the season (“responsible” for 31 of his team’s 75 points), is closing in on a triple-double, “locking in.” Mosques (He had 10 points on 4/14 shooting) And he reminds me a lot of Thomas last year?
to Canaan (16 points on 2/5 three-pointers), who returned to the court with confidence and provided offensive security by shooting 8/8 and two three-pointers at the end of the third and fourth periods?
to Alec Peters (14p.), which develops into the most ideal internal transfer, is a silent “killer” with an unimaginable improvement over last year (15.4p. and 5.3p.) and unimaginable success rates (85.4% volume, 61% double) & 54.8% threes), does he have 7/7 threes in the second round of the contest?
Or for omen (9p., 3p. and 3as. with 3/4 vol. and 3/3 dp.), from which his whole game begins and ends in defense and attack Olympiaco;
By the way, the French center made a very difficult basket to tie it at 69-69, sending from outside to inside their best defender. Monaco (the John Brown He strengthened his very strong legs to keep him away from the basket and put his hands to snatch the ball from him to no avail), while in the last 5 matches his shooting accuracy has improved (11/13) and is not “painful”. » His team, when the opponent chooses to foul him (since the ball passes through his hands a lot)!
They were all great and contributed their best until o Olympic To reach 4/4, get a big confidence win, and “jump” 4ads while avoiding 0/2 with MonacoWhich in the multiple relationships that are likely to occur will force him to retreat…
With this rich “dowry”, the journey of the sixth “Devil's Week” begins Iberia (For matches with Barcelona And Baskonia), it seems much less dangerous… even if the “red and white” counted 4 defeats in the largest number of home matches against Spanish teams!
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