Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 19, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
There is no tomorrow!
Hello again! This is Predrag Samardziski of Lietuvos Rytas. Some good things have happened since I started this blog. Mainly, Rytas is in the qualifying rounds final and we play against Galatasaray on Sunday at Siemens Arena for a spot in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. Our team has been fully together for just four games and 10 days. We played hard enough for win two very important games right away and are on track to do what is expected of us – namely, win tonight and qualify. What our coach wants is for us to play hard and to be strong on defense and on the boards. I think that all we have achieved in 10 days is good. Our fans are happy because we have played good defense and won both games by more than 15 points. We cannot think that Galatasaray will be an easy opponent; in fact, it will be our hardest opponent. We are just one step away from our initial goal of the season but need to beat them to achieve it.
I think that I am in good shape after all the effort I put on EuroBasket. I have played a lot of games this summer – more than ever, actually! I missed the physical preparation in preseason and I hope I don't pay a high price for that in the middle of the season, when I will be more tired. I can say I played half of a season, in term of games, this summer. I have played like 30 games so far but thinking like that will not help me at all. I just have to focus on what's going on and not on what happened already. I am in good shape, trying to fit into this team. But it's true, there are times when we call a set offense and I have my national team's set in my head and go the other way! Still, we are playing well and are ready for a big game against Galatasaray.
We didn't have a good start in Qualifying Round 1 against Buducnost. Playing at home is really an advantage, as we showed in the second half, but overconfidence can be tough on you, too. We were a little nervous and didn't find the right rhythm. Again, this is a new team where everybody is trying to fit in. Our fans were watching us for the first time and didn't know what would happen. When we started to feel good on the court, and with the help of our fans, everything was easier and we won the game. We had 13 first-half turnovers against Cibona and just one in the next 15 minutes. We wanted to finish this game quickly and made a lot of mistakes for trying to rush things. Every time we were up by 7 points, Cibona's good job and our turnovers limited us. We were tied at halftime and knew it wouldn't be an easy game unless we had a really strong start in the second half. We made 7 three-pointers in like 6 or 7 minutes and simply took off.
Ronnie Seibutis and Tyrese Rice have played great so far. I played with Seibutis last year and he is unbelievable. Everybody knows that he is a great offensive player but Ronnie is also a tremendous defender, too. His defense on Antwain Barbour against Cibona shows that. Barbour is one of the best scorers in that position in Europe but Ronnie and Stepas Babrauskas shut him down. Ronnie also made shots at a very crucial time. Rice is very similar to Bo McCalebb, so it is very easy for me to adapt to playing with him! He is a very fast point guard who knows when to drive, go to the basket, shoot... He knows the game and the big guys – me, Jonas, Jomantas, Mindas, Roberts – just follow the offensive rebound, which is what our coach wants us to do when the ball is in the air.
I played against most Galatasaray players last season or at EuroBasket. They are a very experienced team. They will be a very, very hard opponent because they came here with the same goal as we do – to win the whole thing and go to the Euroleague – and they have the players to do that. I think we have an edge over them because if we play defense like we know we can, I think they will have a lot of problems stopping us. Of course, we play at Siemens Arena, in front of thousands of people cheering for us. I am sure they will do what they did in the last two games – which is to help us no matter what, be with us. They are really loud and good fans, cheering for their team and putting pressure on the opponent. This is what we need and I am sure they will deliver! The big game is tonight! Hope that by the time we talk again, Rytas is in the 2011-12 Euroleague!
Peja Samardziski - Vilnius
Sunday, October 02, 2011
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There is no tomorrow!
Coming off the best summer of my life!