Olympiakos won the European basketball title fair and square for the 2nd time in a row, even though he faced many difficulties. As I had predicted, Madrid tried to play a run n gun game at the beginning, enforcing their rhythm, with Rudy Fernandez being a great leader. 

                     Later on, the "Reds" tightened up their defence and balanced the match, coming back from -17 to only 4 points behind at the end of the half, with Stratos Perperoglou leading its game. In the 3rd quarter, Olympiakos gained momentum with Vassilis Spanoulis waking up and, at last, leading. The team from Piraeus also managed to control the last big break attempted by the Spaniards towards the end of the quarter. 

                     The last quarter belonged to the Champions of Europe, and especially to its captain Spanoulis, who scored an unbelievable 3-pointer from 9 metres (30 feet) with the score at 87-78. Real Madrid afterwards started shooting desperate 3-point shots and commiting fouls to stop the time, but it was too late. 

                            Olympiakos managed to achieve this amazing accomplishment of "Repeat" playing an unbelievable game, scoring 100 points, 39 of which in the last quarter. The match in general was really fun to watch for all the funs, inside the stadium and from TV's and compiuters - a true advertisement for the sport. Main protagonist was of course  Georgios Bartzokas, the 1st Greek coach to win the Euroleague trophy. 

                       For the end, I have a wish to make: I hope that Greek basketball will get the cup for the 4th time in a row at next year's Final 4 which is taking place again in London. 

GreekRagnaroker


 
 

                      I was writing on Friday that Real Madrid would win the Euroleague, thinking that the Spaniards would have played against CSKA Moscow. But CSKA lost from Olympiakos, who was much stronger in defence and very determined in offence. Madrid won the match against Barcelona with a lot of problems, while on the contrary the Greeks beat the Russians without any difficulty. 

                     I have changed my views, about today's final in London, believing that Olympiakos is the favorite now for the trophy. The "Reds" can control the rhythm and play better on set game 5 against 5 on both ends of the court. The team from Piraeus is a lot stronger on defence and can also run on fast breaks when necessary. 

                    For the champions of Europe, if they can control the rebounds, I don't believe they are going to face any problems. I think that captain Vassilis Spanoulis will play better than 2 nights ago as well. 


                    Madrid has a chance if, 1st of all, they forget about the Final against the "Catalans". Secondly, Real should try to run as much as Llull and Rodriquez can, organising their game cleverly. Nevertheless, a 3rd condition should occur for the Spanish capital team: Rudy Fernandez should remember how he used to play 4-5 years ago, when he was great player. If not, I can't see how Olympiakos can miss the opportunity to do his "Repeat". 



 
 

                     Of course this was a... "happy" embarassment. Olympiakos showed no mercy to CSKA Moscow and made them look like a semi-professional team. With their very strong Defence and their determination in Offence the champions of Europe gave no chance to the Russians. 

                   Many were trying to find out who was the MVP for Olympiakos, but the most valuable factor for the Greeks was their coach Giorgos Bartzokas, who studied CSKA's game very well and blocked its' weapons. Even though this is his 1st Final 4, the Greek coach showed how it is done against the most experienced coach that went to London, Etore Messina. Actually, both Messina, and the former Greek National Team's captain and play-maker Thodoris Papaloukas looked like they were... too old for this shit...No spark, no ideas, no alternative plans...It's like they are both saturated with titles and have no thurst for more. 

                         As for the 2 Serbian stars, Milos Teodosic and Nenad Krstic, they came in the O2 Arena with very negative psychology and allowed Olympiakos to play with their mind and easily switch them off. The only player who really made an effort for CSKA was Viktor Khryapa, but even he wasn't in his best form ever.

                       In the later "Spanish civil war" we saw that Sergio Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes made the difference. Tha game was tough and great to watch for 40 minutes as the lead changed drastically at least 4 times. The Catalans could not overcome the injury of Nathan Jawai which made Ante Tomic play for almost the whole match and eventually collapse. Other than that though, Erazem Lorbek was a big dissapointment once more and I think that this is the end of his high-level career. 

                          As for the Final, predictions are difficult but we will talk more about it from tomorrow.












 
 

                         Well I thought of giving my predictions for the Final 4 in London as well, even though I haven't watched all four teams (Barcelona, Olympiakos, Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow) throughout the whole season. Of course I support the Greeks, but I don't have much hope for them unfortunately. In my opinion there are 2 favorites in the semi-finals: On the early match , Olympiakos against CSKA, I think that the Russians have the advantage, while in the Spanish battle, I believe Real Madrid is a much better team than Barcelona. 

                           The Greek Champions of Europe are still a great team and they deserve to be at the O2 Arena, but the injury of play-maker Vangelis Mantzaris and the luck of form lately of the Euroleague's MVP Vassilis Spanoulis make them have less of a chance against the "Russian Bear". CSKA has as well major problems with the point guard position, as Milos Teodosic is not a very stable player, while his back-up Theodoros Papaloukas has recently reached 36 years old... So probably the game will be fought mainly closer to the basket, where the team of coach Etore Messina has definitely the advantage.

                        The late match on Friday between Barcelona and Madrid is more interesting and delicate, as whenever the teams from the same country meet on a Final 4 you can never tell who could go through. Nevertheless, Real beat Barcelona recently by 15 points and also, has the greatest small forward in Europe at the moment, Rudy Fernandez, who can be the absolute leader for the historically biggest team in Europe. On the other hand, the Catalan's leader Juan Carlos Navarro has not been playing amazingly for a year or so now, especially due to his several injuries. 

                       As for the possible final on Sunday, I think that the strength of Madrid in the guards will prove more important than the power CSKA has in the frontline. Real will probably manage to block Teodosic in defence and will try to run on the fast break, where of course they have the advantage. So to conclude, unless Messina, the best coach in the Final 4 has some extra tricks up his sleeves, I don't see how Madrid could miss this trophy after 18 years, without a European title.  



 
 
         
                       "Bed time, bed time," my mother was shouting every Thursday night just before the basketball team of Aris Thessaloniki was ready to play for the European Championship. I had to watch the God Nikos Galis and the other legends of the yellow team of Northern Greece every Friday afternoon after school on VHS. I used to watch the game all week, everyday actually, after school with my lunch. Then I would play on my balcony, making up basketball matches, shooting on the basket that my father bought me, while the neighbours downstairs could not stop complaining. 

                          Nikos Galis for me (as well as Panagiotis Giannakis and the other basketball heroes that played for the "God of War") was very important to understand that if someone really wants something and is dedicated to it, can achieve it. The very short Galis,  for a basketball player (6.1 feet - 1.83 metres) managed to concer Europe with his hard work, his talent and his incredible scoring and leading abilities. 

                            Since he moved to Greece in 1979, Galis won about 20 Greek titles, mainly with Aris - amongst them 7 championships in a row from 1985 to 1991. But the most important achievement was the Gold medal with the Greek National Team, in the European Championship of 1987 in Athens, where he made Drazen Petrovic look like a nobody in the semi-final, and scored 40 points in the final against the mighthy USSR. 

                            In my opinion the silver medal two years later in 1989 in Yugoslavia was almost of equivalent value, as it established the position that Greece has in basketball world-wide, till today. Beating the Soviet Union of Arvydas Sabonis in the semi-final with the 3-point shot of Fanis Christodoulou at the end - where Galis was celebrating before the ball went in - was the proof that Greece was here to stay. 

                               Galis made a whole generation to love basketball, learn it, play it, understand it. Never before an athlete had such a cultural effect on Greece. The whole country was filled with baskets and/or basketball courts. Galis inspired the Greek players that are now some of the top stars of the Euroleague - Dimitris Diamantidis, Thodoris Papaloukas, Vasilis Spanoulis, Sofoklis Schortsianitis etc. 

                               Unfortunately, being so young, and growing up in Athens did not give me the opportunity to see him very often in the court. The last time I did was on a friendly match of the Natioanl team against Italy of Antonello Riva at the "Piece and Friendship" stadium in Athens. Greece won and at the end hundreds of people rushed in to come close to their stars, Galis, Giannakis, Fasoulas and Chrystodoulou. I still hate my father for not letting me run inside as well, because I lost the chance to be close to my legends, and mainly close to Nikos Galis, the Greek God of basketball. 



PS: I wish I was in Thessaloniki tonight to honour him as well with a long applause and a bit of crying




























 
 
                         Yesterday, March 8th 2013, I had my 1 year anniversary since I wrote my 1st article as Greek Ragnaroker, about the attack on George Dalaras. After this I wrote a lot of pieces about elections, in the US, in France, in Egypt, in Israel and of course in Greece. Also basketball had always a special spot in my blog. 




                           But the most important issues that I wrote about were the Golden Dawn phenomenon. I tried in several occasions, not only with my articles, to show and expose their lies and their danger. Through my anarchist logic (if something like that exists) I tried to give my revolutionary ideas and help people revolt against Neonazis, racism and fascism. 




                           Now that I am getting into my 2nd year I can't promise to write more, as unfortunately I don't have the time. The only thing I can tell you all is that my criticism will remain sharp, without trying to keep any sort of balances. Lastly, as a personal confession I would like to tell you that I write everything with a lot of love and passion, which are only groing bigger for blogging as we are getting into the 2nd year. Thank you all for your support, comments and clicks on my articles.




                           































 
 
                     I am still shocked after I've heard the news that 2 young students died in Greece as they were trying to warm themselves up, lighting up a brazier and dying because of its fumes.  Another 3 friends of them are in hospital, at the city of Larissa, in a critical condition. 




                   This would be unbelievable only a few years ago. Unfortunately this is what a country gets when most of its people can't afford to buy natural gas or petrol. The reasons are their really high price, higher than in the UK and  Germany and of course the very low salaries and high unemployment rates. 




                   For the politicians of the Greek Troika (Conservatives, Socialists and Social Democrats that form the Government) and the International one (IMF, EU, ECB) these were just another 2 dead. The numbers of dead do not count for them. The unemployed people and the poor ones do not count either. The only numbers that count are the deficits and the debts. 




                        The death of these 2 students is symbolic, as they are the first official ones that have been assassinated by the memorandum policies in Greece - the first ones that were killed by the pseudo-democratic Greek and EU political elites. The Greek people though only know how to react by calling on public radios and swearing at politicians. Otherwise they are just watching while the system assassinates their children, after it has ruined their dreams. 




                         Shame on you Greek people for not revolting even after this. Shame on you Greeks who will go out to have a drink tonight, not caring. Shame on you Greeks who think that there is nothing to do in order to change the situation. Shame on you Greek left wing parties, that haven't even called for a large protest to commemorate the victims. Shame on me as well, that I am writing these lines, instead of making my way to downtown Athens to burn down the parliament and bring true Democracy...




                    




                       





























































 
 

      I could wish for peace in Syria, where the civil war has brought death to tens of thousands of people, but I don't trust that any of the parties involved would like to step back and negotiate...

     I could wish for the end of the occupation in West Bank by Israel, but the right of the strong unfortunately prevails...

     I could wish that the apartheid against women in Saudi Arabia could finally end, but the 'Kingdom of petrol' doesn't even allow them to learn how to drive...

     I could wish for Free speech in China, North Korea and Cuba, but the governments in these countries do not seem to care...

     I could wish for the end of propaganda by the Western Mass Media in order for the people to wake up and break their chains with the banking system, but the Mass Media support the system that feeds them so no luck there either...

I could wish for the end of the crisis in Greece, but my compatriots decided to vote for the same parties that brought the country into all this...

Most of the things I can actually wish for have to be a lot simpler. I wish that in 2013 our planet will be hit by less natural disasters, I wish that fewer babies will die in Africa, I wish that more people will try to help a homeless person on the street, I wish that there will be more rain on dry lands.

I also wish that there will be fewer rapes in 2013, fewer assassinations and fewer executions.

I wish that people will watch less television and read more books next year. I wish that there will be land for everyone who wants to harvest, jobs for everyone who wants to work, creative space for everyone who has new ideas. I wish that political prisoners will hold on to their ideals. And most of all, I wish for a cure for cancer.

Finally, I wish each one of us, inside our hearts will be able to improve even slightly next year, to say to ourselves that in 2013 we were better than in 2012.

A warm hug to everyone from London

GreekRagnaroker


 
 

                              Besides stating the obvious about an unfair war, and about the slaughter of the Palestinian people, I have to say that I don't care that much this time about the attack in Gaza. I am quite certain that nothing can come out of it that could benefit neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian people. 

                             There is absolutely no possibility that Israel would attempt to recapture Gaza. On the contrary, such conflicts only strengthen militants like Hamas. There is also no possibility that the Palestinians could gain something out of this conflict. Hamas' blind rockets can never push Israel to a retreat, and definitely do not help them towards Israelis accepting a possible Independent Palestinian state. 

                              The whole conflict looks like a political game by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. With this war "Bibi" is attempting to strengthen himself ahead of January's elections in Israel, just like Ehud Olmert did in December 2008, before his scandals chocked him up. 

                                 Besides the internal fronts though, Netanyahu is attempting 3 strikes in 1 go internationally. Firstly, the attacks come as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced that the Palestinian Authority wants to present a bid for non-state UN membership. Who could vote in favour, when rockets come out of Gaza and even reach Tel Aviv? 

                      Secondly, Netanyahu wants to test the waters with Egypt and its new President Mohammed Morsi. This is a very big challenge for the almost 40-year old truce between the 2 Middle East neighbours, but I am almost sure, that Egypt would do nothing to pick it up and somehow intervene... Lastly, though the far right Israeli government is sending a message to  America. The message says that even if Mitt Romney was not elected as President of USA - the candidate that Netanyahu obviously supported - 'we as Israel will do whatever we want, and you President Obama can't stop us, whether we slaughter Gazans, or build new illegal settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem'. There is no point in mentioning that if any other country in the world attempted to do what Israel does, it would already have been bombarded by NATO...

                                   Since everybody is quite sure that Obama and Morsi will do nothing about the attack, and that the Palestinian statehood issue will not go away, but only will be delayed, there is absolutely no interest in this Middle Eastern conflict. I am not going to follow the news with passion about this, because that is what Bibi wants. I don't want to play his game that will have as a result the death of hundreds maybe thousands of innocent people, not to mention that this will include both Israelis and Palestinians. 

                                      The only thing I am going to say though is towards Israeli Jews. DON'T FALL FOR THIS. DON'T VOTE FOR NETANYAHU AGAIN. You deserve better. You deserve politicians that can bring peace and hope to the Middle East, - not a representative of the militarist lobby who cares more about creating war, than about major social issues which are choking up Israeli citizens, like food and fuel prices and unemployment. CHANGE your morbid political scene once and for all.



PS: Some believe that Israel is trying to drαg Iran into this conflict. I am sure that this is not the case, as no matter how dumb Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is, he wouldn't fall into such an obvious trap...

GreekRagnaroker 














 
 
                            At last, the people of Europe have taken the big decision to unite their voice alltogether against the austerity measures that have been taken against them, during the last 3 years or more. In France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, young and old, union and non-union, public and private sector workers, students, pensioners, men and women will protest against their governments and the rest of the neo-liberal EU, that sees everything and everyone only as numbers, forgetting that they have to do with people.

                               It has been a very long time now that the neo-deptocracy has tried to put its terms on the table of economy, worker's and human rights. The people should prove that this can't happen anymore, that the workers are not patient anymore, and point their anger to the banks, the multinationals and the governments that serve them. May the 14th of November be the beginning of a new revolution, after which the people will set rules according to needs, not according to grid of a small minority. LET'S EAT THEM ALIVE TOMORROW! 

GreekRagnaroker