Credit: Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Olympiacos Piraeus traveled to Istanbul with a 13-man squad, in view of tomorrow's game against hosts Fenerbahce Beko.

This will be the Reds' first EuroLeague game after the December 23 clash with Panathinaikos at OAKA and their first contests overall following the Greek Cup quarterfinal against Ionikos in Piraeus on the 26th of the past month.

The Greek side had their first practice on a full roster last Sunday, Quincy Acy included. The American big man had been battling not COVID, but acute tonsillitis for several days and needed to be hospitalized during the Christmas period.

As one would expect, coach Giorgos Bartzokas appeared very cautious before the media a few minutes prior to the team's departure to Turkey.

"As an organization, we did our best to return to some normal conditions, but, as you understand, what all EuroLeague teams will present on the court is followed by a question mark", the Greek coach commented.

He then made some comparisons between the two COVID variants that have struck the planet. "With Omicron, the time required to return to practices is less. But, this time, a lot more people went down compared to the first COVID wave and that's why we didn't function properly for some time".

Referring to the long-term absences of Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely that Fenerbahce have to deal with, Bartzokas said:

"We made an effort to explain to the players that Euroleague games are always a matter of mental approach. If we relax, thinking that De Colo or Vesely are missing, of course, we'll pay for it. That's how I think we lost to Red Star. I mean we weren't mentally ready to play a tough match. 

Our fight with Fener will be tough because it is important for them to make the playoffs."

Asked whether there was something positive, given that some players had the opportunity to spend more time with their families, he clarified:

Free throws this season

77%
13,0
Points made: 13,0
Accuracy: 76,7%
Place in standings: 6
Record max: 22
Record min: 5
Most made FTs: Tyler Dorsey

"What I can say is that when you are sick, it makes no difference whether you are with your family or not. Generally, there is a fear of getting infected. It was not a pleasant situation. The fact that we stopped playing for 19 days was not good for us."

Giannoulis Larentzakis underlined the fact that he and his teammates are eager to get back to action, after an almost three-week break.

"We missed playing a game very much. We had this break and our team had too many cases. In essence, we're going to play a game having practiced only twice.

It certainly takes a little time for the players to regain their rhythm, but I think that from the beginning of the pre-season until now we have worked well enough to be able to respond," the 28-year-old guard said.

Larentzakis also referred to the absences of Vesely and De Colo and whether they will make  Olympiacos's work easier:

"I don't think so, because sometimes when a team is missing players, there are some other guys who will step up. The coach has spoken to us about it. We can't think that it will be an easy game for us," the Greek international concluded.

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Fenerbahce Istanbul
Olympiacos Piraeus
49%
2 Position
Field goals
48%
3 Position
32,35
15 Position
Rebounds
35,47
4 Position
18,41
2 Position
Assists
17,53
4 Position
8,65
2 Position
Steals
6,24
11 Position

Teams leaders

Jan  Vesely
13,4 PTS
61% 2P%
33% 3P%
Tyler  Dorsey
13,4 PTS
48% 2P%
43% 3P%
Jan  Vesely
5,9 REB
4,2 DREB
1,7 OREB
Aleksandr  Vezenkov
5,5 REB
4,1 DREB
1,5 OREB
Nando De Colo
4,0 As
2,7 TO
23 MIN
Konstantinos  Sloukas
4,1 As
1,6 TO
23 MIN