In 2013, Giorgos Bartzokas emerged victorious in the EuroLeague with Olympiacos Piraeus, triumphing over Real Madrid. A decade later, the Spanish powerhouse had their revenge, sealing the win in a captivating contest that unfolded until the final moments.Numerous pivotal plays and decisions worked in favour of Madrid, granting them the opportunity to secure their 11th continental title. Bartzokas acknowledged specific instances while highlighting his team’s errors during the crucial moments.
“The manner in which we lost this game is profoundly disheartening,” expressed the Greek tactician in an interview with NOVASPORTS.
Reflecting on past events, Bartzokas recalled a similar scenario from the previous year’s semi-final, where Olympiacos suffered defeat against Anadolu Efes due to Vasilije Micic’s game-winning 3-pointer.
“We maintained control of the game, but we faltered on three shot attempts and three possessions,” he continued.
“Sergio Llull’s basket was exceptionally challenging, with Moustapha Fall defending him. Nevertheless, it found its mark, and that was that. Real Madrid resorted to zone defence for 38 minutes because they were unable to play man-to-man.
“We had plenty of open shots, but we squandered 4-5 wide-open opportunities that could have shifted the balance in our favour,” the consecutive Coach of the Year Bartzokas said.
“Taking into account the missed shots and Sergio Rodriguez’s 3-pointer, everything that could have caused us to lose the game occurred.”
Bartzokas admitted that he briefly considered fouling Real Madrid during their possession with 12 seconds remaining on the game clock.
“We were one point ahead,” he defended his decision not to send Madrid to the free-throw line.
“Although they made a highly difficult shot, Llull had not scored another basket until that moment. He is a top-class player who lacks a sense of danger. It was a contested shot that found its mark.”
With 3.2 seconds remaining, Olympiacos found themselves in a challenging situation. Real Madrid held a one-point lead (79-78), and the inbound pass naturally went to Kostas Sloukas, the team’s reliable playmaker. However, unlike the previous instances in Istanbul and Game 3, the Greek guard couldn’t replicate his heroics.
“We devised a play, and Kostas executed a pull-up shot under favourable circumstances,” Bartzokas commented on the last possession of the game.
Overall, Bartzokas acknowledged that Olympiacos displayed commendable defence in the final moments. “But Canaan faced a rejection in the pick-and-roll by Tavares, and Sergio Rodriguez capitalized with that crucial 3-pointer,” he reflected.
In a season filled with notable achievements but tinged with disappointment, Bartzokas emphasized that everyone on the team would evaluate the positives and negatives once the Greek league concludes.
“We are deeply saddened, but we must accept it,” he conceded.
“Life moves on, yet the heads of our players in the locker room are currently bowed. We played exceptional basketball and demonstrated our prowess. I extend my gratitude to the devoted fans of Olympiacos who travelled from all corners of Greece,” expressed the coach of the EuroLeague finalists.