Bartzokas: 'I'm concerned about the basketball we should be playing'

2022-11-04 22:48

After Valencia shocked Olympiacos in Piraeus, Giorgos Bartzokas had a lot to say about what his team could have done in order to avoid their second straight home loss.

Credit: Olympiacos BC

Olympiacos Piraeus wasted a 16-point (53-37) lead against Valencia Basket and saw the four-time EuroCup winners get away with a rather unexpected win from the Peace and Friendship Stadium on Friday night. 

That was the Reds' second consecutive (home) loss in the season, after AS Monaco beat them in the same gym last week. The Greek side only gave up the lead in the first and the last minute of the contest, as Valencia earned three free throws with less than four seconds left on the game clock. 

The game officials decided that Chris Jones was fouled by Sasha Vezenkov on a shooting attempt and hit all of his free throws to hand the Spanish team their second straight win in Piraeus. 

Player of the Game
Chris  Jones
Chris Jones
Points 17
Accuracy 4-11
Rebounds 3
Assists 7

Olympiacos finished the game with 20 turnovers, while Kostas Sloukas missed two free throws and the potential game-winner. 

"It was a game that ended in a painful way for us. Valencia got their first lead in the game three seconds before the end," Giorgos Bartzokas stressed in the postgame presser. 

When the final buzzer had sounded and Alec Peters' follow attempt was blocked by James Webb, Bartzokas entered the court to protest the no-call. 

"It's a pity but basketball finishes at the last second. We made a lot of mistakes in terms of our mentality," Bartzokas continued.

"We had the chance to finish the game in the fourth quarter. We gave them the opportunity to come back. In the end, it was a matter of one decision; by players, and referees, but it's always like that.

If you don't finish the game earlier, you pay for it. It's painful but that's the way basketball works. We've got to raise our heads. Congratulations to Valencia," the 57-year-old tactician said.

Bartzokas then went on to explain what Olympiacos could have done in order to avoid the last-second thriller. 

"Basketball is a sport where you make decisions under pressure. Missed shots like ours could have ended the game. We fouled and they earned three free throws. Sloukas took a pull-up jumper, and I am not allowed to comment on what happened.

We should have handled the game better, and moved the ball more instead of aiming so much at mismatches. We stopped playing fast and started reading the game a lot, which was a mistake. That led Valencia to have better momentum and timing," he pointed out. 

Olympiacos started the season strong, boasting a 4-0 record and an unbeaten streak across all competitions, but Monaco and Valencia gave the Reds a taste of their own medicine. The initial enthusiasm was succeeded by concern. 

For the second straight game, the three-time EuroLeague champs lost a game where they were up for the most part.

"Indeed," Bartzokas concurred.

"I'm concerned about the basketball we should be playing, in order not to lose such a big lead. We were also very bad defensively in the 4th period, we made the wrong decisions and missed shots. Obviously, we will criticize the players, but you see that Valencia have a very good team and made tough shots without having pressure."

For one more time, two of Olympiacos' newcomers, Isaiah Canaan and Alec Peters, were essentially non-factors. The two scored three points apiece, while Peters added four rebounds to his stat line. 

Asked about how the new additions are adjusting to the team, Bartzokas emphasized that he's not keen on making a distinction between old and new players. 

"I would not like to single out players according to when they joined the team," he said.

"Everyone has good and bad times. In the end, I trusted those who had played those kinds of games before."


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