The intensity and passion that characterizes the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this week spilled over into the post-game discussions, as well. Here is some of the best of what this week's protagonists, both winners and losers, had to say following their games.
"In the last two games, against Barcelona and Madrid, we got physically overpowered, almost at every position... We're a little small and we lack some toughness, because if you're smaller, you have to be tougher." – Rick Pitino
Panathinaikos coach Rick Pitino had a clear understanding of why his team went from being in a close game for 35 minutes to an 18-point loss on Monday in Madrid, pointing to Real’s dominance of the rebounding battle which saw the home team claim 37 boards to 28 as well as taking 30 trips to the free throw line.
"It was a huge win for us, especially after what they did to us in Barcelona: they embarrassed us. We were very motivated and we knew this was a huge game for our confidence. We know we can win anywhere." – Cory Higgins
If there was one blemish on FC Barcelona's accomplishments until now, it was losing at home to CSKA Moscow by 29 in December. And it was not just an ordinary defeat as the reigning champ romped to a remarkable 67-96 road victory. But after a thrilling night at Megasport Arena, the Spanish side will consider that debt paid back in full...
Hat in the ring
"Our mindset is that we are still alive. We still can make it to the playoffs and hopefully, we are going to do it. We will do whatever depends on us." – Tornike Shengelia
If anyone thought that after nine defeats in the previous 12 games, Baskonia was not a team to worry about in the playoffs race, Toko Shengelia might make you think again. The Basque team’s iconic forward scored 18 points in a home win over Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and was later in a bullish mood.
Warning from below
"We don't travel to Europe just to play basketball, we want to win games." – Danilo Barthel
FC Bayern Munich's first win outside German soil this season came on Thursday night. And the determined 68-77 victory over Zenit St Petersburg with a powerful message from its captain, who insisted there’s a lot more to come.
Help from afar
"I did a new shooting drill I saw from Micah Lancaster, sitting on a box and shooting, so I wanted to try that. I think it worked so I’m going to have to send him a message!" – Nigel Hayes
Nigel Hayes enjoyed his best performance of the season by scoring 21 points in Zalgiris Kaunas’s thrilling overtime win over AX Armani Exchange Milan on Friday night. And the American revealed that his excellent shooting night – he made 5 of his 6 field goal attempts and 8 of 9 trips to the free throw line – was aided by some external assistance.
Happy birthday for Booker
"I talked to the guys before and told them it would be a great present and they didn't let me down. I am grateful for this great birthday present and hopefully we can continue this run." – Devin Booker
Devin Booker of Khimki Moscow Region had double reason to feel good on Friday night. As well as helping his team to a crushing win over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne by scoring 17 points, including a pair of highlight reel alley-oops, he was also celebrating his 29th birthday.