Bartzokas addresses Olympiacos' Final Four trauma: 'It's like we've been hit by a train'

2023-05-25 19:56

Olympiacos came back to winning ways in Greece, following a traumatic experience in the EuroLeague final against Real Madrid. Giorgos Bartzokas touched on his players' emotional state, describing the aftermath of a loss that came as a shock to many.

Credit: Vangelis Stolis
Credit Vangelis Stolis

Just four days after the lost EuroLeague final against Real Madrid, Olympiacos Piraeus returned to their Greek league routine.

An easy 97-77 away win over PAOK in Game 2 of the playoff semi-final series has essentially secured the Reds' presence in another title-game series, where they will be facing either Panathinaikos or Peristeri.

However, the Pireaus-based team is still in a state of shock, as coach Giorgos Bartzokas admitted after the contest in Thessaloniki.

The Greek tactician called the Final Four "a strong emotional shock, regardless of the outcome." That outcome was highlighted by Sergio Llull's game-winning shot that garnered Real Madrid their 11th continental crown and deprived Olympiacos of their 4th title.

"It's a peak in the season and then you have to return to playing," Bartzokas explained. "Today, we played without intensity, which I consider perfectly normal. I'm a big supporter of the players we have this year," he said.

Olympiacos were up by double-digits from the second quarter until the final buzzer and racked up their 49th straight domestic win. The last team that beat them in Greece was Panathinaikos back in November 2021. 

Bartzokas said his players were mentally and physically drained after the Final Four. He also revealed some of them are facing big or small health issues, like Tarik Black who had to stay out because of a knee discomfort. 

"We want to shape up and be ready at the right time. I didn't see any pressure on the ball. There was a matter of energy and intensity," he observed.

Referring to how he spent the last three days, the 57-year-old coach revealed the staff had personal meetings with players, based on how each of them experienced the outcome.

"We have suffered an emotional shock," he stressed. "Some needed more support, others less. We feel like we've been hit by a train. This game helped us a lot, that's how sport works. We are down, but to a large extent we are a winning team and we want to continue like that," he continued.

The back-to-back EuroLeague Coach Of The Year was asked whether the losing EuroLeague final is a failure in his eyes.

"Against Real Madrid, ten things happened defensively and offensively for us to lose the game. If one of them hadn't happened, we would have won. We're 10 months together, having gone through trips, injuries, disappointments, and joys. We went through a lot together and that was the climax. For the second year, we lost at the buzzer.

But life fixes everything. Success or failure is the way everyone looks at it. I feel sad," he admitted and added, "To win the EuroLeague would have been a success."

Bartzokas went on to argue that Olympiacos had their chance to win and that the team's season run amounts to much more than a failure in a single game.

"I feel like there's a lot of recognition all around Europe for the basketball we played," he stressed with pride. 

"Our budget wasn't among the top eight. But that's how the Final Four works - the winner leaves happy, while the other three teams are left in crisis and with a lot of questions regarding players and coaches."


We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!

Add comment

  Subscribe   Total comments: 0

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website