So, we just beat Real Madrid. I know some people will still be surprised but the truth is that we dominated most of the game. Real Madrid changed its defensive strategy in the fourth quarter and started to make tough shots. That is how they got back in the game and eventually took the lead, but we controlled most of the game. We came off a road loss against Crvena Zvezda and some people thought we had given up on the EuroLeague season, but this win reminds everyone that we can still compete on the basketball court.
We knew we had to hustle for 40 minutes, share the ball and play the kind of basketball that we needed to beat Madrid. We tend to go up and down in certain situations and sometimes we psychologically say goodbye to some games. The loss in Belgrade, added to our loss in the Turkish Cup, put us in a bad situation, but we managed to bounce back and get a good victory. Our fans are irreplaceable. They showed it in the EuroCup Finals last season and in most EuroLeague games this year. The help they give is unbelievable. Their support motivates all players.
Austin Daye had a great game against Madrid. Off the court, he is a lot of fun, a very energetic guy who likes to make jokes. On the court, he had some ups and downs, too. He had some great games in the EuroLeague. His size, ballhandling and athleticism makes him create a lot of mismatches but sometimes he thinks too much about it, which affects him and also us. When he is on the court, focused and in "kill" mood, he opens the floor really well with his three-point shots and all-around game. His father, Darren Daye, was a great player and made it to a EuroLeague Final Four with Scavolini Pesaro. My father, Necati Guler, was also a professional basketball player. We talked about it when we started to get to know each other. Both of our fathers were very competitive players and we talk about it every once in a while.
This week, we fly to Moscow to face CSKA. We played against them in our EuroLeague opener but lost by 25 at home. First of all, they are one of the best teams in Europe again this season. With their offensive-minded basketball, you need to be focused at all times and be ready for whatever is coming at you. It is definitely going to be a tough game, but if we play the way we did against Madrid, at least we will stay in the game for the better part of it, and then figure out if we can win it.
I have been playing point guard for most of this season. To be honest, I always try to fill gaps in our team, no matter which position I play. I have to try to give my best and help my team as much as I can. Of course, I don't play the way that I did when I was 25, but at the same time, I try to be ready when it counts. I think that playing point guard is much more fun when you have a lot of scorers on the team. Instead of waiting in the corner to make a shot, it is much easier to create for someone like Micov, Daye, Diebler or Tyus. So, I have to say that it has been a lot easier and I thank my teammates for that.
I think that on the teams in which I have played, I created by driving to the basket, because it is the best way for me to find solutions and have an impact on my team. But last year, in the EuroCup, I shared the ball and the point guard duties with Errick McCollum most of the time. When it counts, when it is time to move the ball and find easy shots, I was lucky enough to be there, in that situation. Of course, I have to mention that knowing Coach Ataman's systems and what he wants on the court helped me a lot and made my job a lot easier. He knows me as a player and knows what I can do, but I also know what he expects from me on the court. That helped me a lot, too.
I also have to give props to my father, because he was a full-time point guard and saw the game very differently than other players of his time. His experience and basketball DNA helped me a lot, so I am basically picking it up where he left off. It is fun playing point guard! Playing shooting guard and being a scorer can be helpful, but I never saw myself as a great shooter. By being the point guard, handling the ball and sharing it, it also helps me to create for myself on offense, too.
So, we will keep fighting no matter what. Our goal is to finish as high as we can in the regular season standings. We have a tough schedule ahead and have to make sure that we are ready for whatever EuroLeague opponent. It will also help us do better in the Turkish League, too.