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.
Living the dream
"It's kind of crazy. It's a lot to take in right now. I used to play with these guys on NBA2K: Printezis, Kostas and Spanoulis. So to be on their team eight or nine years later and be playing in this atmosphere is really unbelievable." – Shaquielle McKissic
It's hard to imagine someone having a more spectacular second game of his EuroLeague career on a bigger stage than Shaquielle McKissic's 22 points and stunning dunks to lead Olympiacos past archrival Panathinaikos 81-78 in Round 27. Even he couldn't believe that this was happening with teammates had known mainly from a video game before last month.
Sometimes coaches just know
"Congratulations to CSKA... We played the way how we have to play...We are making good steps, but we have to make one more this week, against Zalgiris." – Xavi Pascual
Suffering a sixth straight defeat, half of them with him on the bench, might have been reason to worry for Xavi Pascual and Zenit St Petersburg after losing 86-78 to CSKA Moscow on Wednesday. But the veteran coach knew enough to recognize within the loss good signs that could bear fruit later – and he said so – practically predicting his team's overtime home win over Zalgiris Kaunas 48 hours later.
"That was better than I expected." – Zvezdan Mitrovic
Coaches always want more, even after they win sometimes. What's less common is coaches saying their team surprised them positively, as Zvezdan Mitrovic confessed after ASVEL upset visiting Valencia Basket, 72-65.
Keeping the faith
"We still have a little hope to pursue our dreams." – Ettore Messina
Five consecutive defeats and the squandering of a five-point lead with a minute left in regulation time weighed heavily on AX Armani Exchange Milan until Vladimir Micov's buzzer-beater in overtime gave what head coached Ettore Messina called some overdue joy to his hard-working but, until that moment, luckless players.
One that got away
"This would have been huge for our postseason and we buggered it up." – Jock Landale
Zalgiris Kaunas had been rolling for weeks, winning six of its previous seven games, including topping Khimki by 11 points on Tuesday. However, Zalgiris followed it up by losing an overtime thriller against the last-place Zenit St Petersburg, it second overtime loss against Zenit this season-
"We came off the worst loss of the season to probably the best win so far." – Jonas Jerebko
Khimki Moscow Region, on the other hand, bounced back perfectly after a bad loss against Zalgiris with a 14-point home win over Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Jonas Jerebko led Khimki's efforts with 15 points and 9 rebounds, as the team also won a tiebreaker against Fenerbahce by overcoming a 13-point loss from earlier this season.
Credit where it's due
"Our defense today was not good, although I have to accept Larkin is a fantastic player. He is a hell of a player, and sometimes it is not easy to play against him." – Georgios Bartzokas
Anadolu Efes Istanbul playmaker Shane Larkin was sizzling hot once again on Friday night. In a win over Olympiacos Piraeus, Larkin dropped 40 points while tying the EuroLeague record for the second time this season with 10 three-pointers. Olympiacos head coach Georgios Bartzokas, who had a chance to guide the likes of Alexey Shved and Vassilis Spanoulis in the past decade, wasn't happy with his team allowing 91 points, but had to add an asterisk to that disappointment.