Isaiah Kanaan was one of the “keys” for his 1-0 Olympiakou opposite to Fenerbahce for the playoffs. He thanked his teammates and him George Bartzokas for the trust, while he showed understanding for the decision to stay off the roster for the Basket League adding that he would not allow a choice made for the good of the team to affect him.
In detail, the American guard said after the 18 points with 5/6 three-pointers he had in Wednesday’s match:
For the 5/5 3-pointers he made in the 3rd period: “My teammates did a great job to put me in position for free shots. I have to take and putt those shots. My teammates believe in me, my coach trusts me and of course it’s important that I believe in myself. Additionally, my teammates would find me when I was free. Because you don’t get these shots every time. All the teams are trying to shut me down, not to threaten them with my long shot and that’s why I feel blessed that today we did it as a team.”
On the interaction he has with fans after his shots: “I live for these moments. I try to take advantage of this magical atmosphere that our fans create in every match. I try to use this energy to our advantage. They are my fuel! They get into the game, they live it and I take that energy from them and put it into my game, both defensively and offensively.”
On the fact that he celebrated with the fans and annoyed Barzokas because he did not immediately go back to the defense: “I definitely have to go back to defense immediately. It was at the end of the quarter… and I did what I did.”
For the six three-pointers he also scored in the match against Fenerbahce in Istanbul on January 31: “I just bring out my best when we play important games. We’re playing in the playoffs now. We have been working hard all season to get to this moment where we will claim our qualification to the final four, in Kaunas. Unfortunately for Fenerbahce, they found themselves again in this… wave of energy and accuracy that came out to me. I just try to do the best for my team, no matter who our opponent is at any time.”
Regarding being “cut” from the Basket League playoffs, as there is a limit on the number of non-Greek players, Keinan replied: “There were times when I felt frustrated and it was a blow to my need to be competitive. But that’s the way things are. And if that’s what’s best for the team, then I accept it. I will support my teammates and cheer them on at game time as if I were in there playing too. At the same time, I will work hard in training because I have to be ready for the difficult moments, the difficult matches, as was the first one against Fenerbahce in the playoffs at SEF. I will not allow myself to be influenced by the fact that I will not participate in the Greek playoffs”.
For the second match against Fenerbahce: “Every team is trying to limit me, not allow me to be the recipient of the ball. Once our defense and transition work, many opportunities open up for our team and of course for me. So we should continue to play defense and turn in transition to make things difficult for Fenerbahce. We have to defend our headquarters. We worked hard to have the home advantage. Our fans are here, on our side and now we will watch the video of the first game, we will improve and on Friday we will go out on the floor with another game plan. We will try to execute it to the letter and reach the second victory.”
What does he want to say to the fans of his team? “To continue to support us in good times and in bad times. We try to go out on the court and play as hard as possible. We try to be perfect… but we’re not perfect. I’m human and we make mistakes. That’s why I would like to tell our fans to continue to support us, lift us up and bring that energy that they brought to Game 1 with Fenerbahce. We will do everything we can to make them happy.”
For who he considers the best shooter: Kevin Pander or himself? “We are both big players. He lives for those moments…and I live for those moments too. He’s a nice guy. I have nothing negative to say about him. He hit a big shot on Tuesday night (25/4) in the breather to give Partizan an away win at Real Madrid. I watched the match and told him that and he advised me the same… to go out against Fenerbahce full of confidence and do what I know how to do. And I did it!’
As for whether he can hit from any point at any time? “Personally, I feel that I can. I am humble. I take whatever the defense gives me. I try to do the best for my team. I’m not the issue. I just do everything I can for my team to win.”
Source: Sport Fm
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