Dejan Radonjic was in a good mood following Panathinaikos' comeback win against Armani Milan, answering questions about Dwayne Bacon and how he prepared the team after the derby against Olympiacos.


Dejan Radonjic wasn't thrilled to learn that Nate Wolters was dealing with a virus and couldn't make Panathinaikos Athens' home game vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on Thursday night. 

"It was tough for us to play without Nate and think about something else," the Montenegrin coach said in the postgame presser. 

Like Panathinaikos, Radonjic himself had different reactions during his 10-minute appearance before the media. At first, he referred to some details that decided the contest. His speech was constantly interrupted by pauses, as Radonjic inhaled and exhaled rather heavily. It was clear that he was looking for the right words to express himself. 

Then, came the question that cheered him up a little bit. 

"After having Dwayne Bacon on the team for 44 days, are you happy that you signed him?" a journalist asked PAO's coach.

"It's clear, I think," Radonjic said with a big smile. "You can see it."

Bacon signed Panathinaikos' sixth win in the season and fourth in a row with a big, 31-point game, including some crucial shots. His advent has changed the Greens' EuroLeague balance, but Radonjic had more things to say about a game that PAO could have easily lost if several of his players hadn't stepped up. 

One was Paris Lee, who registered a new EuroLeague scoring high with 22 points, some good decision-making, and an important assist to Giorgos Papagiannis that tied the game in regulation.

"Paris had to spend more minutes on the court, but in the end, I'm happy that we got a big win," Radonjic said. 

He also praised Panagiotis and Giorgos Kalaitzakis.

"They helped us a lot defensively. Maybe the most important moment was Panagiotis Kalaitzakis' defense in Milan's last possession. But it's clear that it's a team win."

Radonjic said he's "very satisfied" with how PAO played on both ends in the game's closing minutes.

"It's a big win for us, especially receiving information about Nate Wolters this morning, It wasn't easy for us to change our plans on game day, but in the first minutes, it was clear that it wasn't a good situation," he admitted.

He also commented on fans' presence at OAKA. The official count showed 9,852 seats were taken on Thursday night, but the general impression is that many more were in the arena. It was something to be expected after the Greek team's winning streak, and an overall solid performance in the recent derby against Olympiacos, despite the loss. 

"If I compare my first game we played vs. Real Madrid with this game and the atmosphere tonight, we had really great support from our fans," Radonjic pointed out.

"That's the main impression for me. I thank them, and I hope they will be again on our side. They'll help us for sure."

Credit Vangelis Stolis

In the first part of his presser, Radonjic took the time to explain what went wrong for his team early in the game, and PAO were trailing by as many as 15 (30-45) at one point in the third quarter.

"In the first half, we didn't play well," he admitted.

"We made many mistakes on both ends, had a problem with rebounds, and many problems offensively. At the beginning of the second half, we didn't play smart offensively, and they created a big advantage.

For us, it was clear that we needed to make some extra effort to get closer. In the end, the game was tight, and we had one possession to get the win. Our defense in the 4th quarter was good, and I'm very satisfied with how we played in overtime," Radonjic explained.

The last question for the Montenegrin tactician was about Panathinaikos' daily routine after a derby like the one against Olympiacos and how the team can keep its composure, staying grounded.

"It's top secret. Thank you," Radonjic uttered jokingly and left the room.

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