Ioannis Papapetrou, Olympiacos: ‘It is time to go all in'

Feb 06, 2018 by Print
Ioannis Papapetrou, Olympiacos: ‘It is time to go all in'

We had some tough losses in January, but bounced back against Fenerbahce with a good game all around. We had bad losses and know we need to play better and improve our game. It is no secret that this team has a lot of room for improvement and it is still early, meaning that the most important games are still ahead of us. It is February now, but the most important part of the season will start in a month. Even though we had a good game against Fener, it doesn't make us a great team or an amazing team. I also feel that when we lose, we are not a bad team. We need to keep improving and believe we have a good team. It will all come down to the playoffs and this is where we want to be, in the best situation and shape possible. Right now we are second at 14-7, but I understand that people could complain about some ugly losses. We lost in a way nobody likes to lose, looking like we didn't fight, with our heads down. I understand all the doubts, but the most important thing is learning from these losses and playing better, and this is what we are trying to do.

We had a great crowd against Fener and that always helps. They are always by our side. They helped us get a good start to the game, their support means a lot to us, in good and bad times. We know that they are true fans and believe in us; the fans give us an extra push that we need to play better. In this game, we wanted to play very physical and give 100% on the court. I think that when we are physical, especially on defense, we show the kind of team we can be by playing together, helping one another, being very tough overall and very hard to beat. Good defense gives us fast break opportunities and confidence on offense.

Our main players are very experienced and I am sure everybody will be ready when those big games arrive. They know what to do to get their bodies ready for that. We know what they can do and the rest of us, who are younger, always have to be ready to give energy. When the time comes, they will be ready. Billy had a big first quarter against Fener, but this is not a surprise, we all know what he can do on a basketball court. Everybody knows him and it is just great to have a player like him. Defenses focuse on him and that gives more freedom to the rest of the players.

We have already played 21 EuroLeague games, so I have been around Europe a lot. We never have enough time to see the cities we travel to, but I have to say that being Greek, I am not really into really cold weather. It is never that cold and humid in Greece. If I have to choose a city to travel to in the EuroLeague, it could be Barcelona, which is a really nice place. I hear about Malaga a lot, but I haven't been there yet this season. I heard it has been really cold in Moscow this week, but we will go there in late March, when the weather will probably be better. I liked Valencia a lot, too; it is a great place.

Since we are travelling a lot, I have time to watch television series, one at a time. Right now I am watching one of the most-famous series from the last two years, Stranger Things. A lot of people watched that and I definitely recommend it. Almost everybody has watched this TV show and it is really amazing. I finished Season 1 and am midway through Season 2, all from the last couple of trips. I have been watching it non-stop. It is not a horror show, but there are some moments in which you can be a bit frightened. Overall, the plot is great and how they developed the idea, it is not easy to put that idea into practice.

I have to say Netflix has changed the way we all watch TV shows on the road. I didn't know that you can download whatever you like – which really makes a difference – and watch when you are not online. We spend a lot of time on planes and airports and don't have Wi-Fi everywhere, so you can download stuff at home and watch it whenever you want. That is the biggest improvement Netflix brought. I watch one series at a time not to be confused, but I will be done with Stranger Things soon and I am looking for some suggestions for what to watch next. I have two episodes left. I was told Luther is really good, so that may be my next TV series. We will see.

We have nine games left in the regular season, it is time to go all in, to give more than 100%. It is the final push not only to get to the playoffs, but to do it with the home-court advantage. We need to play good, because this is what good teams do - improve during the season. No games are easy, but we proved what we can do in front of our fans, this is why the home-court advantage is very important for us. I love the EuroLeague's new format, it is great. You play more games and is more fair because you play against everybody, home and away. You play all season to get to the playoffs and this is when the competition gets even better. And then we all know how great the Final Four is. We have to game by game, starting by this week's showdown in Madrid. It is always exciting to play against Real Madrid and we are really looking forward to it!