Final post-game quotes: Panathinaikos vs. CSKA Moscow

May 03, 2009 by Euroleague.net Print
Final post-game quotes: Panathinaikos vs. CSKA Moscow
Panathinaikos
CSKA Moscow

ZELJKO OBRADOVIC, head coach
"What to say after a game like today's? My first impression is that we deserved to win the game earlier than the last defense. But this is basketball and it happens, because it's a final of the Euroleague and the opponent team was in the final for the fourth time in a row. Congratulations to the players, together with the fan who came over to help us try to win. Everybody talked before we came that the team that won our semifinal with Olympiacos would have it very difficult to win the final. We showed it was possible by playing a great first half. At halftime, I told my players that CSKA is a great team, they will change their game and play more aggressive, and they did this.Thanks to the players and fans, my staff, and Mr. Thanassis Giannakopoulos and his brother, Pavlos, who I am sorry could not be here for health reasons."

"I want to congratulate CSKA, a great team that has played four times in a row the final game. I believe it's all due to Coach Messina. I am happy with the friendship we have. Until now, no one has done four finals in a row as he has done the last four years. I believe it was a great game to watch for the fans. This trophy is an obligation for us to try harder in the future and come back one more time to the Final Four.

"We played Panathinaikos against CSKA, not coach against coach.

"You know the rule, the club must believe in us. Until now they believe a lot, and thanks to our owners, everybody in Panathinaikos is here because of them. In the summer, after we finish our season, we will talk about our mission for the future. For the players now, it's Billy's [Spanoulis] first title, Saras's fourth, and others like Mike Batiste and Dimitris Diamantidis their second. But they like basketball, and this is the only way, to come to the gym every day and enjoy your job. If it's not like this, I'll be the first to stop and do something else in my life.

"The most important thing is that Panathinaikos for the fifth time is Euroleague champion. The personal things, I don't care about. I am happy for the players. My first year with Partizan, we had a young team and a young coach take the trophy. Now, we have excellent players and because of them, we are here, like Billy [Spanoulis] said, at the top of Europe. We will continue to work. In 10 years at Panathinaikos, we have had 21 trophy attempts and have won 18. I believe we will have the chance for one more this season. There is a song our fans make: the cup, the Euroleague and the championship. I said to my players we must try to take the last trophy of the season also."

"My players know very well how I am like a coach and a person. I am straight, direct in what I say and feel. In that period at the beginning of the season, we played bad on the road. I said that we played bad and I showed them the games. It's the best way for players to understand, by seeing how they play. From that moment on, we worked like a fist. For any team that wants to win a championship, this is important: the atmosphere was great. Some people try to put some problems on your team, this is not new and happens to many teams at this level around Europe. Now, to have played two difficult games against Olympiacos and CSKA has been very tough, but finally we are all here."

"I said many times that I am very happy in Europe. I love Europe and I am happy in Greece, in Athens, with Panathinaikos. I believe the NBA is a competition that people like to watch. They have great players and great coaches. I believe that in Europe there are many coaches ready to go work there, but personally I think differently and I never think to go there. Another thing is that basketball there during the regular season is just to play for show, and here we play to win. Now, their playoff games are very good. But in the regular season, it's a show, and here in Europe in the regular season you must win every game. This is our life."

"On the bench, you don't have time for feelings. You must be concentrated and ready for anything that can happen in the game. And you must help your players. Of course, they decide the game, like today. I really don't have time to think if we were up 23 or not. You try to win. At halftime everyone was talking what a great game we played. I said that we must win by one point. You are champion of Europe if you win by 23 points or one. It's the same."

"I remember two years ago after taking the title in Athens how the next season everybody in the Euroleague came to play us with big motivation. We must understand this and come ready next season. It will be the same as two years ago." (last play)

"It was a timeout so there was enough time to think. I never care about what happened in the last action. I don't like to talk about this. You have 5 or 10 seconds to win the game, a last defense or offense, and anything is possible. Sometimes you score or not, you play good defense or no. My decision was not to foul in the last 5 seconds. Siskauskas is a great player who made many last shots in his career. If he scored today, everybody would attack me now. This was my decision because I decide this. I believe in my players. Now I know everybody will say what a good defender Nicholas has become under Coach Obradovic. Everybody talks of good or bad decision. Now, I believe this one is good."
DREW NICHOLAS, guard
“It’s a great feeling, man. It’s something special when you work all year with a great group of guys to arrive at this point, it’s something special. And that is the exact reason I came to Panathinaikos. It was defense throughout the whole 40 minutes for us. CSKA played great in the second half, they really tightened their defense and were able to get some scores. I think the 20-point cushion was just enough for us.”
DIMITRIS DIAMANTIDIS, guard
“I think it was an excellent game for 40 minutes. CSKA is a very big team, we knew they would try to come back. But we had some good offenses at the end of the game and we tried to stop them and we took the title. This feeling is the best. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great feeling. For me it is the second time and I’m very happy. I’m proud to be a member of this team.”

KOSTAS TSARTSARIS, center
“The best feeling ever. It’s the second time in my career and I believe now I’m in heaven. The fans were unbelievable. Anytime we play anywhere and they are together with us, they help us win.”

NIKOLA PEKOVIC, center
“Excellent. There is no better feeling. There is no better feeling than being a Euroleague champion. We are the best in Europe! Everything was excellent. CSKA showed that it is a big team, but tonight this was our night.”

ANTONIS FOTSIS, forward
"I think it’s the best feeling. It’s exciting. I feel so blessed to be here. I can’t describe it with words. CSKA never gave up. They’ve been here for seven years. They know how to play. That’s what they did today."

MIKE BATISTE, forward
"It feels good. It feels excellent. It’s the best. Trust me, it gets no better than this. We knew when we were up 20 points that we were still in a dog fight and we tried not to look at the score because we were up 20, but that’s Euroleague basketball. When you are playing for something, they are going to die trying and that’s what CSKA did. I’m just happy we held on to the end. Coach Obradovic. He’s a players’ coach. This is why we love him, this is why we work hard for him. It’s to do this.”"
DUSAN KECMAN, guard
“It’s amazing. It’s a great feeling. This game that we won, wow. Now we’ll have time to enjoy it. Like always, our fans were amazing. In important games, they come, they support us, give us extra energy. So thanks to them to teammates, to coaches to everybody. I think Obradovic will keep going to take more titles.”

ETTORE MESSINA, head coach
"First of all, I'd like to congratulate Panathinaikos and Coach Obradovic for their great win. Second, I'd like to thank my players for the effort they put into the second half to make this event become a basketball game like it wasn't in the first 20 minutes. I think the game, technically speaking, was decided by the fact that we had very early foul trouble to three of our starters, and at that point we saw an imbalance on the court. We started good, but from the moment when Lorbek, Smodis and Khryapa had two quick fouls, Panathinaikos continued to pound inside, and when we closed, the got a good percentage on three-pointers. The second half, we managed to keep our starters on the court for a longer time, played with great heart and made the game be decided in the end by a couple details. We congratulate them and we obviously will try to stay together and get ready for the Russian playoffs."

RAMUNAS SISKAUSKAS, forward
"Of course, I am proud of my team. The first half was worse than terrible. We never did what we were supposed to do and the first half is one to forget about. But I am proud of our second half, we showed we could be back in the game and we had a chance. About the last shot... We tried to go for a layup, but if there was no possibility, we would have to go for the long shot. I tried to read the situation and I went for it. I think it was not a bad shot, but I just missed it. That's part of the game."

NIKOS ZISIS, guard
"I think Panathinaikos played a great first half and took advantage of our mistakes. They also made us play bad in offense and by halftime everyone probably thought that was over. They opened the second half with one more three-pointer so, to come back in a way like that, basket by basket, and to lose like that is even more frustrating. We got our chance to win but that's basketball and that's life. Ramunas is a great player, he had made some good plays before, the ball could go in or not. He missed and they are the champions. That's it."

ERAZEM LORBEK, center
"We came really close and we could have won it as well. But we started with problems. As for me, I got into foul trouble in the beginning and I couldn't play much in the first half. They made that tough run, but after that we came back and we were close. Maybe that last shot was written somewhere... They deserved it more I guess because they started better. That's just how it is."

J. R. HOLDEN, guard
"Yes, we got it down to that last one shot, but that's part of the game. We had our chance and that is all you can ask for, that's it. We never give up, we have been this way the last seven years and we'll continue to be that way. At least as long as the coach is here and I am here, so... that's just how we play."