You never know who will take the lead
Hi, everyone! I hope you are all fine and enjoying the Top 16! We are coming off a good win against Alba in Berlin, preparing ourselves for a tough game against Real Madrid at home on Friday. Yet another game against Real Madrid, I should say, since we played them twice before this season.
Last week, we got a win away from home against Alba, which was a must for us. Against Alba, as against Brose Baskets, we want to get these road wins in order to make a step forward in the competition. We missed Dimitris Diamantidis in Berlin, so everybody had to do a little bit more. Everybody had to make that extra effort to do more things on the court. It was not only me and those three-pointers. A few games in a year that happens… :-D But seriously, in practice, we do a lot of shooting, and I felt great in practice. Before that, it was Michael Bramos who was on fire for us for four or five games in a row. Maybe this is my turn and after me there will be somebody else… Maybe Jason Kapono, who knows? This is why our team is strong, because you never know who is going to take the lead.
We have a 3-1 record in the Top 16 right now, but there is still a long road ahead of us. It's too early to say anything about advancing to the playoffs. We need at least eight or nine victories, and now we have three, so we are not even halfway there. We have a tough schedule ahead of us, too, playing against Real, CSKA Moscow, Brose Baskets… We'll see. If we manage to beat Real Madrid, our chances will be good, but if we lose, anything can happen. The important thing is for us to play well. If we play like we did against Alba in Berlin or against Zalgiris, we can beat everybody. If somebody comes out to play and he is not concentrated or if we play the way we did against PAOK in the Greek League, we will not have a pleasant evening.
I don't want to predict what will happen. I just want to see what we can do on a certain day, in a certain game. We have already witnessed some upsets. Zalgiris Kaunas is a negative surprise for me in the Top 16. They were playing really good during regular season and now they already have three defeats. I expected that team to be one of the leaders. Efes is a different kind of surprise, now playing much better in the Top 16. The same goes for Khimki and Montepaschi Siena. In Siena, they built a new team but they found a rhythm and they are ready to compete with everybody. And, of course, there is Caja Laboral…
We understand completely that we have to work hard in order to achieve our goals. We know what to do. You know what helps a lot? The atmosphere we have in the locker room. It's incredible. That is a great asset for us, especially knowing that the next 30 or 40 days are probably the most crucial ones of the season. We have to play against Real Madrid, Brose Baskets, CSKA and twice against Olympiacos in Greece. Our course in the Euroleague and the first trophy of our season, the Greek Cup, will be decided during these next days. So we have to be ready. Everybody has to ready!
That's it from me for now. We'll talk again soon. Take care,
Jonas Maciulis - Athens, Greece
Wednesday, January 23, 2013