Dusan Ivkovic: “We were simply different in the second half...”
“The last week match of Top 16 was challenging and very good. It was a high-level game. We played two extremely different halves. In the first half, Panathinaikos was the better side. Our defense was not on a desired level. In our first match against Panathinaikos, Raduljica had scored 23 points. We took precautions to stop him, yet Panathinaikos hit 9/10 of their three pointers in the first half. However, we were simply different in the second half. We had our team talk at halftime. We kept the opponent at 34 points in the second half. We played modern basketball, and won the game by scoring 48 points in the second half. I believe we deserved the victory.
Anadolu Efes always aims high. At the preseason, my realistic aim was to go one step further than the previous season. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to the playoffs. I’m very sorry for that. We concluded Top 16 with seven wins, although we had managed to make it to the playoffs last season with six wins in the Top 16. After Granger’s injury, which was followed by Doğuş’s doubtful state, I was a little bit concerned. People may question why I didn’t include Johnson in the roster. My objective was to allocate more minutes to our players who would play in the Turkish League on the way forward, and to keep them ready. Johnson did a good job in the second part of Top 16, and I would like to thank him for his performances. From now on, we will focus on our matches in the Turkish League, and keep working...”
Showcasing the best performance for Anadolu Efes with an index score of 17, Dario Saric also stated his thoughts: “We allowed 52 points in the first half. This is too much for the Euroleague level. In the second half, we set our sights on concentrating better and keeping the opponent at around 32-34 points, and we reached that objective with 34 points allowed. We displayed our real character in the second half. We were better concentrated, which brought us the victory. We concluded Top 16 with 7 wins and 7 defeats. It was a nice farewell to the Euroleague with the win. Unfortunately, our reaction was too late. We are now leading the Turkish League. We are aiming to keep that spot, and have the advantage on our way to playoffs. We have to keep working.”