Bartzokas: “When we got the lead, there was no chance for us to lose”

2024-05-08T23:18:52+00:00 2024-05-09T00:07:06+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

08/May/24 23:18

Olympiacos advances to the Final Four of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague for a third straight season

By Eurohoops Team/

After taking the first lead midway through the fourth quarter, head coach Giorgos Bartzokas was sure Olympiacos could hold on against FC Barcelona in packed Palau Blaugrana on Wednesday.

“We were nervous, which was normal. The importance of the game was huge,” he mentioned after celebrating a berth to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four for a third straight year, “We managed to stay close, playing very good defense. Finally, when we got the lead, there was no chance for us to lose the game. We kept playing great defense, we shared the ball.”

“We won this game here. Congratulations to Barca. They have a great team. For us, it was a really tough effort,” added the Greek play-caller on facing his former team in a back-and-forth best-of-five series.

Nikola Milutinov posting a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double was the key player for Bartzokas in deciding Game 5. “We needed a little improvement in offense and we found it in the last five minutes of the game. We made some tough shots. It gave us the win,” said the Serbian center.

“It is a very emotional moment, just because all the odds were against us. That is what war is all about,” mentioned Shaquielle McKissic after scoring nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter of a low-scoring affair.

A rematch of the championship game of the 2023 Final Four follows for the Greek club in the form of Real Madrid. Archrival Panathinaikos Aktor is set to face Fenerbahce Beko in the other Semifinal of the Final Four.

Until the Reds took over with 4:59 left in the fourth period, the Catalonia powerhouse never trailed but failed to deliver a knockout blow. “It was a tough and tight game. They made two threes at the end that killed us,” reacted play-caller Roger Grimau.

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