What was the biggest change for the better in the second half?
Definitely in energy. We entered the second half completely differently, Víťa Krejčí scored two important shots, which stimulated us. The second wave came from the bench, we started pressing all over the pitch. As we all know, Micič and other Serbian players do not like it at all. They also had stupid losses, which is not usual for Serbs. And we were suddenly able to go on counter-attacks and we were able to benefit from that.
The defense looked better against the group favorite than they did against Poland on Friday.
Maybe it’s because the game was a little slower this time. I think we played defense well this time, we were better on the pick and roll, which was the most important thing. We also showed character.
You also felt good on the board, he was directing the game.
Yeah, I didn’t have that much energy in the first half, but I told myself that I’ll enter the second half with a different energy, that’s where everything starts. When you start defending better, the attacking game is also faster and everything is easier. After the Poland game, we needed to pick ourselves up and play a good second half, which we did. We have to bounce back from that in the next matches.
But you missed the start of the second quarter.
Yes, there were a lot of mistakes, including my two losses that resulted in five points. Everyone makes one mistake in defense, offense, and then maybe fifteen of their points come from that. Terrible. We can’t have blackouts like that.
What did you say about the atmosphere in the O2 arena? 15 thousand people came to the match.
I certainly haven’t played in a better atmosphere in the Czech Republic. People got involved, which I’m happy about. They supported us even when it was minus 25 or whatever it was. I am very glad that so many of them came. I think even though we ended up losing by 14 points, the fans showed that they liked our game. If we all leave one hundred percent and heart on the field, people will come.
The atmosphere was better than against Poland, wasn’t it?
Certainly, although she was also great on Friday, this time almost five thousand more fans came, which was noticeable. The fans are the sixth player on the field for us. We will need them to arrive for the remaining games. And we have to win them.
The Netherlands awaits you on Monday.
He is an unpredictable opponent. But if we repeat the way we played in the second half, we should beat them. I hope that Tomáš Satoranský will be there for the next matches, which is a key player for us. That will be another plus.
Then you will come across Israel and Finland. Did it help that the Finns beat Poland by 30 points? The table could get messy.
We quietly hoped that Poland would lose. It’s still open. Finland has a very young team but with a big star Markkanen. Once, a few years ago, we already managed to stop him. Hopefully we’ll do it again. And Israel? Excellent players. I know them from the German league. I believe that the opening loss was a good slap in the face for us for the rest of the tournament and now it will only get better.
I assume that your goal is still to advance to the next stage of EuroBasket in Germany.
Of course. I’m still hoping we’ll go up from second place. Shouldn’t we move on? I haven’t thought about that at all yet.
At the end of the match, you went around the star Nikola Jokic, passed the ball to Martin Peterko and heckled 15 thousand people. Was it one of the top moments of your career?
Of course. Thinking about it now gives me goosebumps. It was great. I don’t know if 15 thousand fans in the Czech Republic will ever come to see us again. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I left absolutely everything there for the Czech nation and I can say the same for the rest of the team. With a team that is among the top three in Europe and with the best player in the world, I think we fought excellently.