By Giannis Zoitos
"Sloukas, Perperoglou, Hines and Antic had a great game, but Vassilis Spanoulis was... Kill Bill. With 22 points in the second half, including some three-pointers from as far as his neighborhood in Larissa, reading all situations and keeping a clear mind, he was the leader that every coach dreams of having in his roster. Olympiacos did not panic in any way. When you come back again, that means it is no coincidence. There is no chance that Olympiacos gives up in the last two years. It does not lose if it trails by 10, 15 or 29 points. It just keeps fighting, stands up and attacks. It plays basketball and scored 100 points in a Euroleague final. In this case, Real Madrid was the victim, like CSKA last season."
By Nikos Zerbas
"When players like Teodosic, Papaloukas, Mavrokefalidis, Bourousis, Nesterovic, Halperin and Lucas left the team in summer 2011, the budget shrank and many believed that winning the Euroleague would become a distant memory, but the club's new model went over and above all expectations. With several kids and good foreigners under the guidance of Dusan Ivkovic on the bench and Spanoulis on the floor, Olympiacos returned to the top in Greece last year – after 15 seasons. Some may have called last year's epic results coincidence, luck or anything else, but Olympiacos's triumph last weekend in London testified that nothing was accidental. Olympiacos triumphed relying heavily on many young Greek players, forging a team with a character never seen before - rallying from -19 in the final 12 minutes of the final against CSKA, from -15 in Game 5 of the playoffs against Efes and from -17 against Real Madrid. Olympiacos proved it can play against all basketball styles and kept its throne with a Greek coach, Georgios Bartzokas. It has a leader who knows everything about the Final Four."
By Lefteris Moutis
"Olympiacos started the season as the Euroleague champions and ended it the same way. Despite starting the game being behind in the scoreboard by 17 points after the first quarter (27-10) the Reds got the 100-88 win. Αfter changing their coach from Dusan Ivkovic to Giorgos Bartzokas and replacing center Joey Dorsey midseason, the Greeks were proven to be the team of destiny. For the first time since Maccabi Tel Aviv’s run in 2004 and 2005, a team defends its title in Euroleague and they did it in a spectacular way, playing in London probably their best basketball this season."
BY Spiros Kavalieratos
"Olympiacos had yet another legendary comeback. Down 10-27 after 10 minutes against Real Madrid, Olympiacos retained the Euroleague crown by rallying past the "Madrileños" 100-88 behind the lead of Vassilis Spanoulis. The boss of the European champions was absent in the first half, but beat Madrid's defense in the last two quarters, with great support from Acie Law, Kyle Hines, Pero Antic, Stratos Perperoglou, Kostas Sloukas and Georgios Bartzokas's young armada. Vassilis Spanoulis was chosen as the Final Four MVP."
"Olympiacos rewrote its own history by winning the Euroleague title for the second consecutive season, after a great display against Real Madrid. The Reds managed to pull another incredible upset after finding themselces down by 17 points in the first quarter (10-27) to win the game 100-88. The Reds were the third team in Final Four history to repeat, after Jugoplastika and Maccabi, keeping the trophy in Greece. (...) The show came to an end when Papanikolaou gave Olympacos a 14-point lead, which forced Real to accept its gate. Olympiacos fans were at The O2 singing and expecting the time to pick up the trophy. Real went on a 0-6 run which Spanoulis killed with an unbelievable three-pointer for a 90-79 score with 1:33 to go. Olympiacos proclaimed its power against Madrid, which could not win the Euroleague for the 19th consecutive season. Meanwhile, the Reds rewrote their own history, holding the trophy in their hands for the second consecutive year.
By Stefanos Triantafillos
"Both coaches changed their plan and this favoured Olympiacos, which found answers off the bench. Perperoglou downed two three-pointers which opened the game, Katsivelos found the way to the basket and created for his teammates. Antic and Hines made their team's defense tougher and slowly, Georgios Bartzokas's team got within 24-31 with Spanoulis on the bench. (...) Defensive pressure, rebounding and running the floor allowed Olympiacos to keep adding points. Pablo Laso tried Mirotic at center along with Rudy, Llull, Carroll and Sergio Rodriguez. Bartzokas reacted by puting Sloukas, Law and Spanoulis together on court. Spanoulis scored the decisive basket of the game with 1:30 left. With his three-pointer, the score was 90-79. Olympiacos kept its difference in the final minute and reached a historic win.
"The final did not start well for Olympiacos, as neither good defense played, nor right choices were made on offense. Real managed to find early pace while a peculiar defense, leading Olympiacos to penetrations easily stopped by Begic. With this defense and a 3 of 4 three-pointers, Real took a 13-5 lead after 5 minutes, forcing Bartzokas to call timeout. (...) Olympiacos defense once again led the way and the Reds' confidence began to slowly rise as its deficit went down. Antic cut the difference to five points, 28-33, with 3 minutes to go in the first half. After a tragic first period, Olympiacos beat Madrid 27-14 to get from -17 to -4, 37-41. Spanoulis stepped up with three consecutive three-pointers (!) putting Olympiacos ahead in the game (48-45). (...) At the start of the fourth period, the Reds were balanced on defense, holding Real to a single point for three minutes, while at the same time Law and Spanoulis gave their team at eight-point lead (70-62), after a 60-35 run! Real did not surrender but Olympiacos showed character found answers and Shermadini made it a 12-point game, 82-70, with 5 minutes left."
By Jesus Sanchez
"Olympiacos, the Final Four Cinderella, once again lifted the Euroleague trophy in a remake of the movie that produced in Istanbul and had so much success last season. For the first time since 2005, a club defends its title, which Maccabi did then and Olympiacos did just now (100-88). It is impossible to underestimate them ever again. Despite its great start, Madrid could not do anything and ended up failing in the game which it took so much to arrive. It lacked toughness and experience. So many years had gone by, 18, that it was difficult to remember how to handle a final like this. Madrid competed, but lost. Laso's team pay a high price for its lack of experience even when the start of the game was an exhibition. It was the first Euroleague final for all of his players and also for the Vitoria-born coach. In the end, they couldn't escape from that. Olympiacos's defense, outstanding in the semifinals against CSKA, also managed to deactivate Madrid, which could not match the Greeks' aggressiveness from the 10th minute.
By Jesus Perez Ramos
"Real Madrid managed to pass the semifinals test by downing FC Barcelona, the reigning Spanish League champion, but did not manage to do the same against the King of Europe, Olympiacos, a team with not so many talented player but which plays tougher, by far, than any other team in the competition. (...) The team coached by Georgios Bartzokas and led by Vassilis Spanoulis deserves great credit. It managed to wait for its moment without falling apart. If it was able to rally from a 19-point deficit in last season's final to defeat CSKA, it overcame a 17-point deficir against Madrid, beating its opponent by 90-61 in the final 30 minutes. Laso tried to stop his opponents' rhythm with a zone defense in which Slaughter was guarding Spanoulis closely, but it didn't work. Both teams were tied at 61-61 after 30 minutes but Olympiacos took off and 5 minutes later, it had a 14-point lead, 84-70, and the title in its pocket. This defeat left Madrid just close to the title. It had a good Euroleague season but lacked that final step. The Spanish League is now its only chance to get a title this season."
By Robert Alvarez
"Voracity, courage and master tactics allowed Olympiacos, with its relentless, effective executors Law, Hines and Spanoulis, finished with a dream that Real Madrid had for 18 years. Its last generation, coached by Pablo Laso, was not able to defeat an opponent that handled its resources with masterful effectiveness. Precisely, Madrid lacked that essential, undeniable virtue - dominating the scene. After a dream-like first quarter, it lost its pace and started to stumble at the same speed it plays, falling apart outplayed by its opponent and possibly, by the importance of a game which it had watched on TV for almost two decades. Experience, courage and an outstanding management of its own resources catapulted Olympiacos to a second consecutive crown, something that nobody did after Maccabi in 2005. The Greek team confirmed its historic title won against CSKA a year ago. Back then, it rallied from 19 down in the last 12 minutes. This time in London, it gave a first warning by dismantling, again, the Russian team in the semifinals. Against Madrid, it rallied from a 17-point, first-quarter deficit (10-27). Madrid was short-handed after such an incredible start."
By Mario Diaz
"It is tough that anybody will question a Greek team's faith or think on other team as favourite that doesn't come from this country. Four of the last five Euroleague titles are in Athens and also the last one, the one in London. Even when Real Madrid managed to get a 17-point deficit or that Rudy Fernandez scored 20 points. The Euroleague final had an assigned owner, no matter what. Vassilis Spanoulis is the only active player with three Final Four MVP trophies and, maybe, also the only player that despite reaching halftime with a -10 index, has ended up being decisive. (...) The hero needed to give its final strike - his fifth three-point shots, Teodosic style, from nine meter with his defender's hand on his face, taking all responsabilitis. A direct hit to Madrid's heart, a team that must wait for its ninth title but that must keep the biggest lesson learned in London - never to question the faith of a Greek team."
Told earlier this year that Barcelona would in May be taking on Real Madrid in a showpiece end-of-season European final in London before a sell-out crowd, the thoughts of most sports fans would turn to Ronaldo and Messi gracing Wembley. But although their footballing counterparts foundered at the Champions League's semi-final stage, the Spanish sides are two of the best four basketball teams in Europe competing this weekend at the O2 Arena in the Euroleague finals.
Euroleague's chief executive, Jordi Bertomeu, has predicted that London could establish a top-flight Euroleague side within the next three years. After signing a deal to bring the showpiece Euroleague Final Four end of season play-offs to the O2 in London for two years, Bertomeu is also holding talks with domestic officials about the best way forward to establish a UK franchise.
The Champions League of basketball comes to London tomorrow in an effort to sell a version of the professional game that prides itself on not being the NBA.
Few British sports fans will be familiar with Euroleague basketball but organisers hope a three-day season finale staged in the O2 arena will change that as they use London as a bridgehead into a potentially lucrative, geographically strategic but as yet relatively indifferent market.
The Daily Mail
By Sunni Upal
"Olympiakos stormed back from a 17-point deficit to defeat Real Madrid 100-88 and retain their Euroleague title in front of over 15,000 fans at London's O2 Arena. The Spanish side started strong and held a commanding 27-10 lead after the first quarter, but an 8-0 run for the Greeks at the start of the second period changed the momentum in the final. Olympiakos trailed 41-37 at half-time before MVP Vassilis Spanoulis stole the show and sent his team on their way. After a pointless opening two periods, Spanoulis hit three 3-pointers in quick succession and Olympiakos edged in front at 48-45. The teams were tied at 61-61 after the third period before another 3-pointer from Spanoulis with just over seven minutes remaining put the Greek side up by eight points and in sight of victory. Spanoulis would sink one more 3-pointer in the dying moments to finish with 22 points, ahead of team-mate Acie Law with 20. Rudy Fernandez led Madrid's scoring with 21 points, but they were made to settle for second place in London. Earlier in the day, CSKA Moscow held on to beat Barcelona 74-73 in the third place play-off."
Reuters, UK news agency
"Inspired by a vocal travelling support who defied Greece's economic problems to make the trip to London, Olympiakos battled back from 27-10 down after the first quarter of the Euroleague final to take the lead early in the second half.
"They rarely looked threatened, shooting 39 points in the fourth quarter to clinch their third Euroleague title 100-88. (...) The team's talisman Vassilis Spanoulis dominated the second half, shooting a total of five three-pointers and notching up four assists. He was voted the Final Four's most valuable player for the third time and finished top scorer with 22 points. A 21-point haul for Rudy Fernandez, who quit the National Basketball Association to return to Madrid last year, could do little to stem the tide."
By Mark Woods
“It came against the odds, not just with the bookmakers this weekend, but amid financial turmoil in Greece and within Olympiacos itself, forcing changes behind the scenes, off-court uncertainties and a degree of doubt that they had enough to live again with the very best. In the first Final Four in the UK, they brought a shine to the proceedings and fireworks to finish.
‘100 points is an amazing achievement,’ Spanoulis smiled, shortly before being drenched – along with Bartzokas - by his team-mates in the post-game press conference. ‘I don’t think any other team has achieved it in the Final Four where defences are dominant. But this team has amazing chemistry. Everyone knows their role.’ The Greek gods were smiling. On Mount Olympus, they know the pleasure of heavenly delights.”
"Olympiacos successfully defended their Euroleague basketball title with an impressive 100-88 victory over Real Madrid at the O2 Arena in London. Madrid, drawn as the visiting team, took the early advantage when establishing a 17-point lead after the first quarter but defending champions Olympiacos showed their class in winning the next three.
"Vassilis Spanoulis top-scored with 22 points for the Greek side, and team-mate Acie Law also netted 20 points to push his team to victory. Rudy Fernandez kept Madrid in the match with 21 points, but The Reds proved too strong in front of the 15,169 crowd."
“Olympiacos Piraeus won the Turkish Airlines Euroleague crown for the second straight year after a 100-88 victory over Real Madrid Baloncesto in London. Vassilis Spanoulis exploded for 22 points - all of which came in the second half - as the Greek side battled back from a slow start to triumph in front of a vocal following at the O2 Arena. A total of six Olympiacos players scored in double figures as their Spanish opponents were unable to build on an impressive run in the first quarter.
"Never underestimate the heart of a champion, and never underestimate Vassilis Spanoulis. The regular season MVP turned a woeful first half and replied with 22 points to lead Olympiacos to a 100–88 victory over Real Madrid to claim back-to-back Euroleague crowns, the second team in the Euroleague era to do so after Maccabi Electra did it in 2004 and 2005. Acie Law poured in 20 points and Kyle Hines 12, but this was about Spanoulis, who was an easy choice for the Final Four’s Most Valuable Player, becoming only the second player to win that MVP award three times. Toni Kukoc was the other player to achieve that feat. When Spanoulis was out of synch; so were his side, when he was form; man, so were the champs. (...) Carlos Suarez led a mini-fightback and after three periods, the game was nicely balanced at 61-61 heading to the last quarter. Then Olympiacos’ true spirit shone. A 10-0 start rocked the Liga Endesa side, and despite pulling it to within five thanks to Jaycee Carroll but a 9-0 burst ended all hope. Even then, Madrid planned a fightback … the last word though, fell to Spanoulis. His three made it 90-79, and the game was over."
Olympiacos Piraeus roared back from a double-digit deficit to retain their Euroleague title as London hosted European basketball’s premier Final Four competition for the first time. The Reds bested Real Madrid 100-88 at the O2 Arena in Greenwich after trailing by 17 at the end of the opening quarter and, in doing so, became just the fourth team to win back-to-back crowns in the Final Four era. The title is the third continental crown in Olympiacos’s illustrious history. Before beating CSKA Moscow last season in Istanbul, they defeated FC Barcelona in the 1997 title game in Rome.
By Steve Moorhouse
"The amount of tickets purchased by British fans who saw Olympiacos take the Euroleague Final Four title at The O2 in London was higher than the organisers expected.
The O2 hosted the Final Four on Friday 10 May and Sunday 12 May which was sold out at a 16,145 capacity.
It was the first time Euroleague Basketball had been witnessed on British soil and figures showed that 30% of tickets were bought through the UK ticket store."
CSKA Moscow recovered some pride Sunday by beating Barcelona 74-73 to take third place at Euroleague basketball’s Final Four in London. CSKA bounced back from a 69-52 semifinal crushing by Olympiacos on Friday and responded well to coach Ettore Messina’s pleas for the players to show dedication and teamwork in the third-place game instead of playing like “a bunch of rabbits.”
"Survival of the fittest," CSKA guard Aaron Jackson said of the hectic finish, in comments to R-Sport. "We stuck with it, especially on defense, to the end and we came away with the win."
By Juliana Urban
"Half an hour before the game. Several people started singing right on the escalator at the exit of the metro station North Greenwich, where The O2 arena is located. Not singing in Russian. It was thought that maybe it the Spaniards. It turned out to be the Greeks. Fans of Olympiacos flocked to the sport center for three and a half hours before the game…
"And after three and a half hours the Greeks deservedly celebrated the victory. Olympiacos for the second time in a row won the league and scored in the game with Real 100 points. London was waiting for a Greek night..."
By Paul Zarudny
CSKA won the third place in the "Final Four", although we all waited for the team more ...
By Shaul Adar,
"Antic provided two dunks during Olympiacos’ run that saw the Greeks trail by a mere four-point margin at half time. The momentum changed, and the Greeks rode the energy that was coming from the stands. In an almost fully-packed arena − minus the seats purchased by CSKA fans − the Olympiacos fans totally silenced the Real supporters, and demonstrated to the English how a basketball event should look and sound when the stakes are high. There were moments when a three-point shot was making its way toward Real’s hoop that one could practically hear the O2 Arena holding its breath − and exploding with a Greek-Catalonian celebration as the ball hit home. This happened over and over again during Vassilis Spanoulis’s incredible run of three-pointers in the beginning of the second half. This writer can think of only one moment reminiscent of this magic, in Istanbul, 2005, when Liverpool won the Champions League final, coming back from a 0-3 deficit. (...) In last year’s final, against CSKA, Olympiacos also cut down a huge deficit, so this probably wasn’t a fluke. The players on court became aggressive in defense, while Real’s three-pointers weren’t as accurate as in the opening half, but all this would have been impossible without the fans’ support. When Spanoulis scored his fifth three-pointer a minute and half before the buzzer, there was not doubt it was all over. The O2 Arena was buzzing, and all the woes were forgotten. For a while, at least."
By Xavier Colombani
"Olympiacos is for Real! Olympiakos was a surprise champion last year. So what about back-to-back wins by the team from Piraeus? It was well-deserved if you see what they showed in London. Predictions are worth something until the truth is revealed and this time it told that the best game of the Final Four belonged to the Reds. Collective control of the board despite a lot of small ball, ability to bounce back from low moments, be on fire in the high moments and impose its game, it all worked for Olympiacos. That was difficult to say at the end of the first quarter, when Real led by 17 points - yes, 17 points, 10-27. (...) Spanoulis placed Olympiakos on track starting the third quarter with three consecutive three-point baskets (48-45, 23e). Real held on through Rudy, Sergio Rodriguez and Llull and both teams are tied at 61-61 after 30 minutes. 61 points scores by Olympiacos? This means that they scored 39 points in the last 10 minutes! Real could not keep up, as CSKA did in the semifinals. (...) How to contain them when Spanoulis had 22 second-half points? There were no answers. For the ninth time - third for Olympiacos - as Greek team won the Euroleague. It is the first title for a Greek coach - Georgios Bartzokas."
La Gazzetta dello Sport
"Olympiacos became the first Greek team to win consecutive Euroleague titles, triumphing at The O2 in London after yet another fabulous comeback. The Greeks trailed 27-10 after 10 minutes against an absolutely heavenly Real Madrid. Three blocks by Mirza Begic set the tone on defense and three-pointers by Fernandez, Mirotic and Llull (5-of-7 for Madrid in the first quarter) did the rest against a disoriented Olympiacos. Everything changed from the second quarter, when the intensity provided by Olympiacos's second unit (Antic, Sloukas, Katsivelis and Hines) slowed down their opponents. Acie Law had 8 points before the break and showed his team the way to come back. (...) Spanoulis was horrendous in the first half (-10 index) but fabulous after that. The Euroleague MVP hit three three-pointer in just over a minute (48-45) but the defensive work of Dontaye Draper allowed Real to to come, tying the game at the end of the third quarter. Then Olympiacos won its second title with a series of copyrighted plays."
By Sam Meyerkopf
"It’s some you can’t describe. Heart. A trust in your teammates. Going through experiences together that make you stronger in only the way a team can. Coming back is a skill, a skill Olympiacos has mastered. On Sunday evening in London the Greek team made history as they won Championship number two in their back to back championships in a 100-88 win over Real Madrid. But down 17 in the first half, similar to being down by 19 to CSKA Moscow last year, there was never a sense of “this is over”. A team that believes in each other is one that never lets pessimism exist...
"As Coach Bartzokas said, this team has soul. A soul that can’t give up. Playing with undersized big men, a star who had one of his worst halves of the season, and down by double figures to what most call the most talented team in Europe, they didn’t blink. Trying to describe the ability to comeback is no easy task but forever on we don’t need to."
“Former Texas A&M men’s basketball All-American Acie Law IV made headlines Sunday as he helped lead Olympiacos Piraeus to a come-from-behind 100-88 victory over Real Madrid in the Euroleague title game.
Law, who starred for the Aggies from 2003-07 and earned consensus All-America and Big 12 Player of the Year honors as a senior, was named the player of the game during Sunday’s contest. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 20 points and dished out a game-high five assists as Olympiacos Piraeus defeated Real Madrid to claim its second consecutive and third overall Euroleague Championship. ‘It's an amazing feeling,’ Law said following the victory. ‘We didn't stop believing for one second, and that's what makes this team special. To win back-to-back is really crazy. I'm so happy and proud to be part of this team. We were down by 17 in the first quarter, but made it back to win this game. Everybody on this team deserves credit.’ During his standout career in Aggieland, Law carved a special spot for himself in A&M basketball history by leading the Aggies to three straight postseason appearances, including a run to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2006-07.”
"Olympiacos has successfully defended its Euroleague title despite a false start in front of 15,169 fans in London, including German football player Lukas Podolski. The 10-time Greek champions defeated Real Madrid in the final, 100-88, despite a big setback in the first quarter. In Euroleague history, which started under this name in the 2000-01 season, only Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel had been able to succeed on defending the title - 2004 and 2005. It looked like it would stay that way in the beginning of a dream-like final for Piraeus. The 30-time Spanish League champions clearly had a better start - an impressive offensive performance combined with a solid defensive work gave Real a 27-10 lead after 10 minutes. The Greeks fought back bravely and its powerful backup players allowed them to win."
By Jonas Miklovas
"Georgios Bartzokas and Vassilis Spanoulis were in press conference when several of Olympiacos team members broke into the room Pero Antic, Kostas Sloukas, Martynas Gecevicius and other Olympiacos players ran over to his coach and leader, as they poured water on them, shoting and laughing. It was something new and unprecedented. And it was a real, natural and human thing to do. Olympiacos repeated as the Euroleague champion, even when now it seems that it didn't come as a surprise. They kept 10 players for its champion squad last season and defending the title that the Reds unexpectedly won last year. Something like this was expected this season but Olympiacos were considered the outsiders in both the semifinals and the final.
“Not only Spanoulis, but Olympiacos recorded his name in Euroleague history. Winning back-to-back Euroleague titles is extremely difficult - only two teams did it in the last 25 years, Jugoplastika Split (1989-1991) and Maccabi Tel Aviv, led by Sarunas Jasikevicius, Anthony Parker and Pini Gershon (2004-05).
FYR of MACEDONIA
“Olympiakos Piraeus defeated Real Madrid 100-88 with a dominant second half display to win Europe's premier basketball trophy for the second year running at London's O2 arena on Sunday. Olympiacos battled back from 27-10 down after the first quarter of the Euroleague final to take the lead early in the second half and rarely looked threatened thereafter. Their ironclad defence allowed the Spanish side just 14 points in the second quarter and 20 in the third, with the team's talisman Vassilis Spanoulis top scorer with 22 points. Macedonian forward Pero Antic played excellent defense and scored 10 pts, adding 6 rebounds.”
“A disappointing Euroleague basketball finals came to an end for Boomers star Joe Ingles as Barcelona went down to CSKA Moscow by one point in the third-place playoff. After losing to Real Madrid in Friday's semi-finals, Ingles had another frustrating night in a 74-73 defeat at London's O2 Arena. Greek side Olympiacos beat Real Madrid in the final to secure their second straight title. In what is likely to be his last game for the Spanish club, Ingles had a quiet night in contributing seven points in 16 minutes of game time. But it took nothing away from what has been a stellar season for the 25-year-old.”
By Bojan Petrovic
In the Euroleague finals played in London's O2 arena in front of 15,000 spectators, Olympiacos showed once again its huge heart that completely won over all the fans in London. The Greek side defended its Euroleague title by beating Real Madrid 100-88, even though it trailed by 17 points after 10 minutes of play. Madrid did great to open the game, and led 27-10 after the first quarter. It leaked from everywhere, and Olympiacos could not organize anything nor hit any shots. Madrid players made 11 of 15 field goals, but with Vassilis Spanoulis going out in the second quarter, Olympiacos became more aggressive on defense. Led with Acie Law and Kyle Hines, it got back into the game and trailed by only 4 points at halftime…
Spanoulis started the second half with 3 back-to-back triples that gave Olympiacos 48-45 lead. But that was only beginning of the end for Real Madrid, which did not have answers for a fanatic and devoted defense of a magnificent team of coach Georgios Bartzokas, a team every basketball fan should bow to…this is the third continental crown for Olympiacos, and they’ve become the first team after Maccabi in 2005 to defend its title.
By Drazen Brajdic
Magnificent Olympiacos Euroleague title defense reminded us of the words of the NBA coach with Croatian roots Rudy Tomjanovich. “Never underestimate heart of the champions”, said Rudy [Tomjanovich] after his Rockets defended the NBA title with the sixth best regular season record. Something similar happened with the team from Piraeus. Barley anyone, except them, believed they could repeat their Istanbul miracle. Their opponents underestimated them, especially CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, and off such spring-board, the Reds jumped all the way up into the skies. On Sunday evening, after their 100-88 win over Real Madrid, 47-year old head coach Georgios Bartzokas will have a God-like status, even though at the beginning of November, Cedevita Zagreb almost cost him his job. And Bartozkas marked that exact game, and 79-77 victory, as a turning point. One made basket by Bracey Wright, and Bartzokas would not have had a chance to become the first Greek coach to win a Euroleague title with a Greek club, after clubs won eight titles with Serbian coaches - Obradovic 5 times, Ivkovic 2, and Maljkovic once…That was the time when Olympiacos got rid of American center Joey Dorsey, who said there was no chemistry, and that no one wanted to play defense because everyone only looks at their own stats. All that Dorsey said were exact virtues of Olympiacos at this Final Four.
The O2 in London was home to a spectacular Euroleague ending. Olympiacos defended its title, defeating Real Madrid 100-88 in a great title game. Madrid opened the game with a tough defense, and used all mistakes by the reigning champions to take 27-10 lead...In the second quarter we have seen a totally opposite picture. Greek players made an 8-0 run and the game was once again wide-open...In the second half, Olympiacos players started flying all over the court, and on top of it all, their leader Vassilis Spanoulis, who did not score in the first half, hit 3 consecutive three-pointers and Greek team took over the lead. Real Madrid got back, and before the decisive 10 minutes, score was tied 61-61. But Madrid's dominance from the first quarter was nowhere to be found. Olympiacos knew how to take over control of the game, and 4 minutes before the end raise its lead to 85-71. Madrid's game fell apart. For the winning side there were five double-digits scorers, but the hero was Spanoulis who scored all of his 22 points in the second half...It is the third Euroleague title in Olympiacos history, and it became only the fourth side in the last 24 years to defend its Euroleague title.
By A. Gutovic
The miracle has happened again. Olympiacos has defended its Euroleague trophy by beating Real Madrid 100-88 in The O2 in London. The title game irresistibly reminded us of the last year's final when Olympiacos came back from 19 points down to celebrate victory over CSKA Moscow. This time, Real Madrid led by 17 points after the first quarter, but Georgios Bartzokas team played a furious reminder of the game, scored 90 points in 30 minutes and completely deserved to win the third Euroleague title in club's history. Just like a year ago, Olympiacos arrived to the Final Four as an underdog but it played the best basketball in London, and it has become the first team since Maccabi in 2005 to defend the most prestigious European trophy. The Reds of Piraeus demonstrated that money definitely is not crucial in European basketball today, above all it was their team play, and the trophy is going back to Athens again.
By B Vinulovic
The great European clubs still did not learn their lesson from Olympiacos at the Euroleague Final Four. This year again, despite continuous adjudications and underestimating, team from Piraeus won the Euroleague title by beating Real Madrid 100-88. They are only the second team to defend its title in this format of the competition after Maccabi did it in 2005. Besides that, Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas is the first Greek coach to lead a team to a continental title. It all looked a lot like last year's final against CSKA Moscow, when Olympiacos rallied from a 19-point deficit, but this time, the last-second drama was avoided. In the start of the game, Llull, Fernandez and Mirotic played like in trans, and Begic was blocking shots to stop the offense of the Greek team. But in the reminder of the game Olympiacos showed that we will be watching a replay of the Istanbul title game...As far as the fourth quarter, it is enough to say that the team from Piraues scored 39 points in that period. Spanoulis hit a triple to give notice of what's about to happen, and more shots behind 6.75 arc stopped every Madrid's flurry and ended their hope of a comeback.
Hurriyet Daily News
By Selim Akan
“Life makes beautiful stories, and I want to thank everybody that belongs to Olympiacos. We had a very difficult time throughout the year. It was a very difficult situation with injuries and people were talking against us. But we reached the summit again. Our character is of a team that never gives up.’
These are the words of coach Georgios Bartzokas, who succeeded in leading his team to seal back-to-back Euroleague titles, with a superb comeback from 17 points over Real Madrid on May 12, thanks to MVP Vassilis Spanoulis and passionate supporters. To be a champion is a hard thing, but to defend the title is much harder. It requires herculean effort. Few thought the beautiful story of Olympiacos would end like this, at least before the matches in London’s O2 Arena. And no one would have been surprised if CSKA Moscow, the team who had a 10-0 regular season, 5-1 Top 16 and 3-1 playoff record in the competition, had eliminated Olympiacos in the semifinals. But the Pireaus team gave the first signal, keeping them at 52 points, while they have an average of 78 in the regular season.”
In total, for the third time in a row and fifth in the last seven seasons, a Greek club won the most prestigious club basketball competition in Europe. The fate of the game was resolved in the fourth quarter; through three quarters it was tied at 61. Leading the winners with 22 points was Vassilis Spanoulis and with 20 Acie Law. The most successful for Madrid was Rudy Fernandez, who scored 21.