Ataman: “We played OAKA’s defense – I hope to find Real in the final, Lesor is the best Euroleague center”

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Delightful statements from Ergin Ataman at the press conference after the huge victory (86-97) of Panathinaikos AKTOR at home Real Madrid.

Initially, the coach of the “clover” characterized this great result as an extra victory for his team that will help them in their quest to defend the fourth place, while he emphasized that his team tonight played the defense of OAKA.

Afterwards, he referred to Lessor and Juancho. After, therefore, he characterized the first (in a related question about the fight with Tavares) as the best center in the Euroleaguefor the Spanish forward, he said that on the one hand he is a player who will find his rhythm through the team, on the other hand he needs to be stronger in attacking defenses.

Finally, he noted that Real remains the favourite, adding however that he hopes to meet her again in the final like in 2022 with Ephesus.

In detail, Ergin Ataman spoke at the press conference about:

-the match against Real and the victory of Panathinaikos:Very important win for us. It’s an extra win that will help us in trying to defend fourth place. For the match, we didn’t start well. We made a lot of mistakes in the first period and gave them a lot of surprises. But in the second half we started playing with better distances, getting scores from Nan and Slukas controlled the game. It was not a good day for Real. After the game I understand that she was not 100% focused and in the first half they made 13 mistakes. Of course we played very good defense, but probably after the break they lost their concentration a bit. But that’s good for us. We also had players in the nationals. I came back 2 days ago from Istanbul. In the second half we moved the ball well and attacked with Nan and Sluka. And of course with Lessor, who gave us a lot of points in the pick and roll. And that’s how we got this big win».

-how Lesor fared against the Euroleague’s best center, Tavares:For me, the best center in the Euroleague is Matias Lessor. Lessor doesn’t need anyone to motivate him. Today he had an excellent match, as did our guards. Nan who scored and also had 8 assists. And Slukas after his injury played a great match. Of course Tavares wasn’t on his best day, but that’s a matter of Real».

-Juancho’s performance throughout the season:He is a player who has a problem. He’s coming after a long time in the NBA, where he got fewer minutes and didn’t get the initiative. In the Euroleague many players, not only Juancho, have this problem. He is an excellent character, he is a hard worker, but sometimes he makes some critical mistakes. He is a team player. And he is a player who will find his rhythm through the team. But he needs to be stronger in offensive defenses. I have said it many times, in the Euroleague the game is hard from the first minute to the last. Not so in the NBA. For three periods they are soft and play in the last period. This is a problem, but he will find his rhythm».

– the defense of Panathinaikos: “This season we are playing very good defense in OAKA. Aggressive defense, we have movement and spoil the opponent’s pick and roll. Away from home we have a problem, but today we played the defense of OAKA”.

-if he sees Real in the final:I hope we meet Real in the final. Nothing changes what we won today. Real remains the favorite. We became the first team to win it at home. But she was also affected by the interruption. Some players, like the Argentinians, came after a long journey. Real is the best team. We gained confidence. I hope to find Real again in the final like 2 years ago in Belgrade».

Source: Sport Fm

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