Today I went to the Acropolis for the first time. We are having some great weather, about 16 degrees Celsius. I just wore a t-shirt all day. It was really nice. You can see all the old, historic buildings, and there is an amazing view of all of Athens. Really nice! I had a great time. The area was filled with foreign visitors. I didn’t see any Greeks, but I heard people speaking Chinese, Russian, German.
Over the holidays, my two best friends from Lithuania came to visit. We had a good time and it was nice to have them here, so I wasn’t alone for the holidays. The team gave us three days off for the holidays, so I was able to show my friends a little bit of Athens. They were happy and I was happy! We went out to eat, we hung out in the center of town. Mostly we just hung out together.
The weather here is so good; I don’t miss the snow. But I am waiting for spring, for better beach weather, for more friends to come. For me, it’s amazing weather here, because in Lithuania, it’s like 0 or minus-5 right now and raining or snowing a lot. But for Greek people, the weather here right now is considered cold. When my friends want to come, I tell them to wait for the spring when it will be even warmer and we can go to the beach.
People often ask me about the food here in Athens, which is supposed to be great. I like the food here, but I am mostly a simple eater. I haven’t tried too much traditional Greek food. I have tried souvlaki and it was great. Usually I stick to simple food like white chicken and pasta.
Our last two games have been important wins. We beat my former team, Zalgiris, in the EuroLeague and then beat Olympiacos in the Greek League. I was really motivated to face Zalgiris again. I was trying to get revenge after the game we lost there. I had so much energy and wanted to win that game. It was one of the most important games for me this season. I am so happy that we won the game.
In those games, I also played a little bit of shooting guard with Nick Calathes at point guard. It’s something new; we hadn’t played a lot together before that. I think I deserved the minutes. Coach trusts me and he let me play together with Nick. I think it it’s good. Nick is a true point guard, I am more of a shooter, I like to score. Sometimes it works for us to play together and I really like it. I feel calmer with Nick because I know that he is the boss on the court. I can just go through the offense, try to be aggressive and look for my shot. It’s easier for me.
Our fans give us energy. The Panathinaikos fans are hard to describe with words. On Monday against Olympiacos, the fans were so crazy. Like an hour and a half before the game, I was warming up and I saw two or three thousand people, crazy fans. It was amazing, something new for me. You never see something like that at Zalgirio Arena. Zalgiris fans are more calm, not so crazy. It’s a very big difference. The atmosphere is great when Zalgiris plays its big rival, Rytas, but it’s nothing to compare. The atmosphere here is great.
I am working very hard every day on my shooting. I do an individual shooting practice before every practice; a 40-minute individual workout. I know that in the games the shots will fall because I am working hard. I always shot the ball well, but I have improved and maybe have more confidence now. That’s why I am shooting better. Even though I am on a different team with a different system, it’s not very different for me. Coach asks me to do the same things that Coach Saras asked: to be aggressive, to shoot when I’m open. So it’s more or less the same job.
This week we go to Germany to face Bamberg. It’s not going to be easy; there are no easy games in the EuroLeague. They are a good team and have a good coach. They are disciplined and play very good basketball. It will be not easy, but it is a very important game for us. Now in the second half of the season, every game is so important. We have four days to prepare and we will be ready. There are still a lot of games left, so I am only focusing on our team and not looking at the standings. I am just trying to go out and win in every game.