5th Place Game Men: GRE 85 - PUR 75
ATHENS - Greece has defeated Puerto Rico 85-75 in the fifth place classification match of the 2004 Olympic Games Men's Basketball tournament.
It is the second time in five days the hosts have beaten Puerto Rico after defeating them 78-58 in the last game of the preliminary round.
In winning the game, Greece has equalled their best performance at an Olympic Games after finishing fifth in Atlanta, 1996.
Michalis KAKIOUZIS led Greece with 20 points (plus 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals), while Nikolaos CHATZIVRETTAS contributed 17 points and Lazaros PAPADOPOULOS added 15 points and 3 rebounds for the winners.
Elias AYUSO led Puerto Rico with 14 points (4/9 threes), while Jose ORTIZ finished the game with 13 points and 6 rebounds and Carlos ARROYO struggled, missing his four three-point shots as he scored 12 points.
Greece led the whole game and the only time the Puerto Ricans managed to come close was six minutes before the final buzzer, 66-72, but PAPADOPOULOS, KAKIOUZIS and CHATZIVRETTAS assured the Greek win in making some crucial shots, especially PAPADOPOULOS three points play with two minutes to go (81-68).
Lazaros PAPADOPOULOS, center (GRE)
On the olympic experience:
"It was my best experience since I started playing basketball. It's a very beautiful event and magnificent celebration of the sport movement. Everywhere, in the Olympic village, in the streets, in the venue, the atmosphere was great and I very proud my country organized such beautiful Olympic Games."
On the fifth place:
"I think we took the place we deserved. It's not a failure, but also not a sucess. We could have done better, if we were more concetrated in the quarter-final game. However I believe that the distances are very close, and I think we are not far from a medal."
On the future of the Greek team:
"We have a good bunch of guys with talent and athletic abilities. In the next few years we will be more experienced and we 'll have more self-confidence. I am very optimistic about our future and I know that you don't climb mountains to arrive at the top, you go step by step. We need to have patience."
On his performance in the Olympic tournament:
"I am statisfied of my performances and I think next year I will be better. I worked hard this year with the assistant coach of Iraklis, Dimitris NIKOLAIDIS I felt well during the tournament and I think that I did a good job in the paint."
Elias AYUSO (PUR), Guard
On his feelings about the tournament:
"I feel great that I had the chance to play again in Greece and of course in the Greek Olympic Games. The atmosphere in the stadium is fantastic. Greek fans have proven that know how to support their team."
On his teams performance:
"I am very satisfied with the 6th place. However, I think that we could have qualified to the finals. We are proud of ourselves because we played with dignity and honour for the people of Puerto Rico."
On his opinion about Greek team:
"I think Greece was a little bit unlucky in the game against Argentina. If they had won that game, may be things would be different."
Konstantinos TSARTSARIS (GRE), Forward
On the Greek Fans:
"I think that Greek fans are incredible. Wed like to thank them form the bottom of our hearts. I hope that this Olympic Tournament will motivate people to come again and watch the Greek Basketball Championships".
On the 5th place:
"We did not have a good start in the Olympic Tournament. On the way, we realized that we could have played better and maybe we could have won a few games more. Maybe we could have won the game against Argentina, but we lost our concentration. This doesnt mean that we are not satisfied with the 5th place in the Olympic Games. It is very important for us, and especially for me, since it is my first time participating in Olympic Games."
Vassilis SPANOULIS (GRE), Guard:
On the 5th place:
"We are very satisfied. We gave the 100% of our energy and I think that people saw that. It is not something common to play in the Olympic Games in your own country and to be ranked in the 5th place."
Nikolaos ZISIS (GRE), Guard
On the fans:
"The people who came to watch our game are unbelievable, just wonderful. We wanted to make this victory just for them, although it was very hard after the loss to Argentina. We would like to thank them."
Source: Athens News Service