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.
Work to do
“The situation that we are in right now, we cannot be satisfied for even one night. We need to be back in the gym tomorrow and keep working because there still are a lot of things to do. But, of course, we are happy for the win.” – Luigi Datome
A solid home win by Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul over dangerous Khimki Moscow Region was cause for the home fans to breathe a sigh of relief for the team’s first two-game win streak of the season. But forward Luigi Datome, whose 20 points doubled his best of the season until Thursday, refused to sound satisfied.
Sharing the credit
“I’m pleased with the way everybody played tonight. We played hard. We’ve been fighting all season and we’ll try to continue to do that.” – Lorenzo Brown
Making a buzzer-beating game-winner usually entitles a player to bask in the spotlight at least some. After his three-pointer beat Valencia Basket 79-76 on Thursday, however, Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade guard Lorenzo Brown was not about to take all the credit.
One of us
“I don’t want to talk about individual players, but the only exception is Angelo [Caloiaro]…. Tonight he showed the big heart he has. From now on, he is one of us.” – Ioannis Sfairopoulos
One of Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv’s better performers last season, forward Angelo Caloiaro, got caught in a numbers crunch and didn’t play at all until Round 11. But when he got his chance, he made the most of it, putting up 9 points and 5 rebounds in less than 18 minutes of his team’s 93-62 blowout win over LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne and earning ratification from his head coach.
“We have a lot of potential…I absolutely loved coaching these guys last year and once again, they are quality people, quality players and I am just so excited to be back as the head coach.” – Rick Pitino
Just a couple of days after he landed back in Athens, head coach Rick Pitino enjoyed a 100-68 win by Panathinaikos OPAP Athens over visiting KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz before his adoring fans at OAKA. The feeling was mutual for Pitino, who promised that this is just the beginning of good times for the Greens.
Drama before the record
“I was having anxiety. I have 38, there is 4 minutes left…Coach told me to rest for a minute, he said you are going to break the record, don’t worry.” – Shane Larkin
“I think he thinks I don’t know about EuroLeague records…I saw that he started to force the shots and started to miss the shots because he was tired. I put him on the bench just to get him rest for 30 seconds, one minute, and go back to the game.” – Ergin Ataman
Shane Larkin rewrote history on Friday by scoring 49 points, a EuroLeague single-game record, and tying the all-time mark of 10 three-pointers made. However, with Efes ahead by 22 points and 4 minutes remaining, Larkin was out of the game, with 38 points and 7 three-pointers made, after head coach Ergin Ataman substituted him.
When he was checking out of the game and going to the bench, the cameras caught Larkin explaining something to Ataman on the sidelines and pointing up towards the scoreboard. It proved Larkin knew he was close to the record. Ataman laughed and hugged Larkin, who proceeded to the bench. It seemed from afar that his night might end just short of any record, but that was far from the case. Moments after history was made, both Larkin and Ataman were happy to explain the conversation they had.
Don’t forget us
“It is a good victory and it helps us again to build our confidence back. I would say that if somebody forgot about us, he is going to have to pay the price. ” – Dimitris Itoudis
If anyone thought that CSKA Moscow was going to keep struggling without injured forward Will Clyburn, the Final Four MVP, the message came loud and clear from the defending champs in a resounding 67-96 road win on Friday against erstwhile co-leader FC Barcelona. And if the result itself wasn’t clear enough, CSKA head coach Dimitris Itoudis put it into words afterward.