What else is there to say? Kostas Sloukas did what we all knew he could do even when we didn’t see it coming
I mean I already tweeted it but, wow, poor Kostas Sloukas. Imagine having to walk around every day of your life with grapefruits that big. The shot heard around Europe that led to the “OH MY GOD” heard all around Rathmines capped off an incredible night in Istanbul.
We know who he is
It’s not like anyone watching, especially Fenerbahce fans, didn’t know that Kostas Sloukas can have games like this. The numbers 25 points (10 of which came in the final quarter), 6 assists, and 4 rebounds were impressive but it’s not the raw numbers that make Sloukas such a feared competitor.
The man has an exceptional sense of timing. He knows when the occasion is there for him to do his job. It’s Sloukas who, previously in the colours of Fenerbahce and now wearing Olympiacos red, is the one all around him turn to when the game is getting away from them. He has often had bigger stars on his teams, often players who post far greater numbers than him, but he’s the guy everyone wants to get a team back in the game when it looks to be slipping away.
It’s a beautiful combination of a cool head and a fiery spirit that can ensure no panic sets in amongst his teammates while also helping them to raise their games with a sense of urgency. This is just what Kostas Sloukas does. We all know it, we’ve all seen it before, yet still it was an utterly stunning moment when that three ball dropped.
Let’s not forget the set-up
The shot that we will all remember for years to come, especially Olympiacos fans, wouldn’t have happened were it not for a 200 IQ moment right before it. Dyshawn Pierre somehow made himself invisible on an inbounds with the game tied at 69-69, intercepted the ball and immediately stopped.
There were only four tenths of a second between shot clock and game clock when Pierre made that steal and he realised it instantly. Fener wisely ate up a lot of clock, leaving under 4 seconds when Marko Guduric’s wide open jumper went in. Of course, it wasn’t enough.
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Ok, this is what you’re here for and let’s not pretend otherwise. Olympiacos called a timeout and advanced the ball. There was some shuffling but nothing unexpected. The ball was almost certainly always going to Kostas Sloukas and everyone knew it.
The Fenerbahce defenders swarmed him. They brought as good D as anyone could have asked of them. Remember, going for the steal was far too risky given a foul would have sent Sloukas to the line. The goal was to make his life as difficult as possible, either preventing the shot entirely or forcing him to put up a prayer.
SLOUKAS WINS IT FOR OLYMPIACOS. #clutch pic.twitter.com/ebXN5eN4jt
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) May 3, 2023
None of it mattered. Somehow, despite the great cover, Sloukas created room not just to get the ball away but to put up a decent looking shot. Nothing but net. 2-1 in the series to Olympiacos and their home court advantage is restored, at the very least, while they may yet win the series on Friday in Istanbul but that, dear reader, is a story for another day.
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