Jasikevicius: “Panathinaikos’ offensive potential among Europe’s best” 0

After a victory in Belgrade on Wednesday, Zalgiris set off straight for Athens, where they look to test Panathinaikos already Friday evening.

Playing two away games in one week for the first time, and already having secured one victory on this road trip, the Kaunas side will look to take revenge for a painful 85-86 loss they suffered at the hands of Panathinaikos in the first round in Kaunas.

Coach, what sort of game can we expect tomorrow?

I think it will be somewhat of a different game from the one in Belgrade, since the Athens’ team is much more talented, but not as physical. Although yesterday’s game against Bayern was won mostly with physical, big play at the end of the game. Their offensive potential is among Europe’s best, and we’ll need to limit those numbers if we want to have a good game, take away their transition game and rebounding.

3-4 weeks ago, they changed their game ideas and are now playing with a taller five, since they had a lot of problems rebounding the ball. Thomas plays the three spot more, Mitoglou’s role increased and he’s dominating under the boards impressively. Papagiannis game’ has improved and he was a big factor with 4 blocks and 3-4 changed shots yesterday. A lot of work awaits and we have to forget yesterday’s result. It’s a double week – we need to understand our opponent as quickly as possible.

In the first game, Nick Calathes shot unusually well (5/7 3PM). Are you planning to change anything against him, or is it more or less the same?

More or less the same. I don’t think we risked there, but he punished us. It wasn’t like how everyone tries to stress. We have to give up some things, but definitely not as much as everyone wrote about.

A lot of the accents remain the same from Belgrade. They have a lot of similar players in some situations. It’s important to understand what kind of style the players are and what we’re trying to achieve.

Has Fredette’s role changed with the arrival of a coach closer to his environment?

I don’t know, I think it’s his role, but it’s just him adjusting to EuroLeague basketball, understanding what’s going on here, adjusting. I’d say Mitroglou’s role has changed more in the last couple of weeks, Papagiannis’ role. And just the entire larger five. They solved their rebounding problem. Again, the accents are the same – not giving away easy points, and making them work.

Can we expect you to match with a tall line-up?

I think we’ll have different options. We’ll try out some of it in practice today. But you’re always looking for an advantage in the gameplan, and somewhere just to stand your ground. We’ll try to pass that on to the players.

Do you think there’ll be extra motivation for Lukas Lekavicius playing in this arena once again?

I don’t think so. It can be both a good and a bad thing. Both Lukas and Zach have to get used to returning to the city they played before, whether against your former team, or a former rivals. They need to think of it as just another game.

Knowing Lukas’ character, does he deal with it better?

I don’t know. I think if a person seems cold on the outside, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the same on the inside. You can’t enter the person’s soul. How he is and whether it’s difficult or not for him. Fact is, Lukas is playing a terrific stretch, and he should be ready for Panathinaikos to pay extra attention to him. He’s not a small kid, I trust him, and KC, and Zach, and everyone who needs to play, will deal with their emotions.

It’s the first week when you’ve got two road games. You traveled yesterday straight after the game. Do the energy levels feel different?

We played yesterday, we didn’t even practice today, we rested. There’s been a lot of rest, so I can’t quite answer this question. There’s been plenty of time to rest, and the trip wasn’t long. We were already in bed at 3AM, so we had time to sleep with a late practice.