Over 15,000 spectators arrived with an overwhelming majority on the Czech side. How did you like their support?
The atmosphere was great. I would like to thank all the fans for coming, but especially for cheering us on throughout the match. It was a nice experience. I hope that many people will come to the next matches as well. I hope you enjoyed the match. Thanks to them, we really enjoyed it. Too bad we couldn’t give them a win. But we showed that we can play our game.
Defeat is honorable. The Czech basketball players fought, but did not defeat the Serbian giant
You have already played in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, you have also played in the Olympic Games. Still, this match was the biggest of your career, wasn’t it?
Because of the atmosphere, of course. There have never been so many people cheering for our team. It was unreal.
How is a player who scores a basket in such a setting and the whole hall riots in his honor?
Indescribable feeling. You could see as we started to pull back the loss that the audience was boiling. It’s a shame that we didn’t get past the opponent. However, I have to admit that the Serbians showed extra class today. We played badly in the first half. Then the improvement came and we did what we could. Anyway, the match was great.
Source: Daily/Zdeněk Zamastil
You say you played poorly in the first half, but at least in the opening ten minutes you kept pace with the heavy favourites. What is it?
We hit shots and our defense worked pretty well. Unfortunately, we didn’t avoid a blind spot again, and they bounced back to twenty points. We didn’t have good spacing and a couple of times we had trouble going over the half. Besides, we didn’t hit anything. We must avoid similar sections.
What is it like to wage a futile battle against such a difficult opponent?
Coming back from a big loss against Serbia is tough. However, we did not take it as a futile struggle. We played as much as we could. In the end, it turned out that if we could keep up with them, we managed to reduce the threatening loss a little. But Serbia is one of the best teams in Europe.
Jokič senses the opponent’s weak point
There was a lot of improvement in the second half.
From his fifth minute to the end, we were a balanced opponent for the Serbs. We can build on this performance. We already needed to catch up with the game. We have three decisive matches in the group. We played well, pressing in defense. We played attacks quickly and confidently. This is exactly the kind of basketball we would like to present ourselves with.
Did they prove their greatness the most in the final quarter, when they didn’t allow you to get closer than eight points?
Certainly. They have players from the NBA or the Euroleague in their ranks. They have shown that they are very strong. On the other hand, we also showed that we can play the kind of game we need.
You played against the star Jokic. What kind of player is he?
NBA Most Valuable Player. Nothing to add to that. He is not an extremely strong athlete, but his vision on the field is incredible. He can sense exactly where the opponent’s weak point is. It was an experience for me. We tried to protect him as best we could. Sometimes we did better, sometimes worse.
VIDEO: Lions go to battle again. A packed O2 arena drives them against Serbia
So can you walk away from this match with your head held high and fight back to progress from the group stage?
There is certainly no reason to hang your head. We made mistakes in the match that we should have avoided, but after today’s performance we can leave with our heads held high.
You took an acceptable loss without Tomáš Satoranský. What do you say about the tactic of saving him before the games when it really matters?
If Tomáš feels that way, then it was definitely the right decision. If he had to take a day off today to be ready for the next matches, that’s only good. I have to say that Ondra Sehnal, who played in place of Saty in the middle, took the chance very well. He tries to defend well, organize the game, I liked him a lot.
Source: Daily/Zdeněk Zamastil
You have fallen for the sixth time in a row. However, after an excellent performance. Is the crisis averted?
I believe so. Now we have matches where we might be slight favourites. We have to win them. There is no other way but to win all three. It remains to be seen if the crisis is averted. We have a day to rest and prepare for the next matches. I believe that now it will be us as the Czech fans want us to be.
You lost to Poland by fifteen and the Finns smashed your conqueror by thirty points. What do you think?
All I’m saying is that our group is pretty messed up. That’s just the way it is. Every win will be very important now.
QUIZ: EuroBasket in Prague. What do you (don’t) know about Czech basketball players
Did the Finns throw down the gauntlet for you, or you for them with a good performance against Serbia?
Both. But first we play a match against the Netherlands, which we have to win. Only then will we focus on the Finns.
Two losses from two games. Has EuroBasket become an early playoff for you?
Certainly. Any further loss would be critical. We just have to keep winning. We don’t want to go to the next stage from fourth place.