I am really thankful, that Jonas Miklovas of BasketNews.lt shares his experiences from last nights’ game of Zalgiris vs. Olympiakos with us. Zalgiris lost 52-61 and I remember Marcus Brown being really upset when he went to the bench in the fourth quarter Jonas explains us what happened.
DeJuan Collins quickly dressed up, packed his stuff and left the locker room. Usually humorous point guard didn’t take a shower, didn’t talk to the reporters.
Next to him there was Marko Popovic. Watching for some minutes into nowhere, probably remembering his last turnover. After timeout, with 30 seconds remaining and Zalgiris losing by 4, he took an inbound pass, lost the ball and Zalgiris hopes were all but dead.
Zalgiris lost third straight game, this time a low scoring battle to Olympiakos and that ended their season in Euroleague. With one game to play, Kaunas’ team has no chances of advancing to the next round.
Zalgiris scored 52 points – their season low, made just 30 percent of their shots – their season low as well. How come one of the best offensive teams in Europe (they averaged 80,5 pts prior to this game) are slowed down so much?
“It‘s pretty tough to score points when you are getting fouled”, explained Marcus Brown. “It‘s pretty tough when you put factors in the game. It’s pretty tough… We didn’t decide this game. Olympiakos didn’t decide this game”.
Pretty harsh words, isn’t it?
Battling through double teams most of the game, Marcus had 5 fouls himself (just second time this season he fouled out), while taking hit after hit. After going scoreless in first half, he had 9 points in second, but made two turnovers in the end, one of them resulting into Lynn Greer’s two pointer, which gave Olympiakos lead for good.
But that wasn’t what left Brown furious. Some possessions before he was fouled under the basket, but referees made no call. With Zalgiris up by 3, that call could have been decisive.
“My one wish is that I could play against the guys the way they play”, Euroleague all time scorer explained. “How aggressive they play, how aggressive they foul me. I wish I could do that on the defensive end. I can’t do that. I’m not allowed to do that. Everytime I do that, it’s a foul. Everybody knows I have a target on my back. So defenses are allowed to attack me. But I cannot attack back”.
“So this game was decided by referees?”, I tried to provoke.
“I’m just telling you my comments, I’m not gonna let you put words in my mouth”, he answered as a true professional. But then words that are in most of our heads came out.
“Their (referees) factor always decide the game. Same thing happened in Madrid. European basketball is never gonna prosper, is never gonna grow, until all the aspects are held accountable and all the aspects are getting better”, said Brown.
He carefully chose his words. Though Euroleague doesn’t punish it’s players for comments about the referees, Brown didn’t want to talk out straight. But having played in Europe for the last decade, he couldn’t remain silent.
He remembered game in Madrid, when Zalgiris was behind by 1 point, with 12 or 15 seconds to play. Real Madrid had the ball and everybody understood, that Zalgiris needed a foul. So they fouled. It is normal to foul when your team is losing and time is running out, isn’t it?
So what does referee do? He gives technical foul on Jonas Maciulis. Spaniards hit both shots and control the ball until final whistle. Game over, Real Madrid won.
Why technical? Why do they kill the possibility of watching last second shot, one team winning, another losing in a dramatic fashion? Why do guys in orange t-shirts can decide games?
This technical foul calling at the end of the game is absolutely ridiculous. Losing by 4 points and with less than 30 seconds to play, Zalgiris had only two team fouls. They needed 3 more to get Olympiakos to the three throw line. So they started fouling. Foul one – ok. Foul two – ok. Foul three – technical!
Was it any different than any two of those before? No. But it was committed by Jonas Maciulis. Does he get technicals because of a look on his face?
Or is it just small teams vs. big teams? If you had watched any of Panathinaikos games this season, you know the answer (hint: Game 2 of Top 16, Panathinaikos vs. Partizan).
Good luck, Partizan, next week.