Olympiacos’ Brian Roberts praised his team’s will to win as they needed overtime to see off rivals Panathinaikos.
Leading 62-50 heading into the fourth quarter, Olympiacos, who had enjoyed the lead for the majority looked in total control as they quietened a sell-out crowd of 18,310 at the OAKA, a venue renowned for its atmosphere and hostility towards the visiting teams, especially if they are their neighbours from the other side of Athens.
But the Reds let their guard down and were held to just nine points, as Panathinaikos forced overtime. The hosts were close to winning the game, however, Mike James lost his handle of the ball on the final possession as the final buzzer sounded, and overtime loomed.
Roberts though guided Olympiacos with a team-high 18 points, en route to a deserved win, which sees the Piraeus-based side into the playoffs.
Here’s what Roberts said, post-game:
Everybody was ready to fight, that was the key. We played a good first half the last time we played them but didn’t play a good second half. Tonight we wanted to play 40 minutes of good basketball, and that’s what we did, actually 45 with overtime. That’s what we did. We competed our butts off and got a big win. It is always a big motivation when you play a derby game like this. We had a little extra motivation, we were unsuccessful the first three times we played them (this season), so we knew that in the back of our minds, so we wanted to come out and fight, and get ourselves a win.