By Panos Katsiaroumpas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
This makes for thrilling games and the column followed three of them.
Panathinaikos – Bamberg
The most important reason for Panathinaikos’s win. After a first half with just six shots from inside the paint, the ball went to Bourousis with frequency. The Greek center was on a good night offensively, with 16 points and 6 drawn fouls. He didn’t get exposed in defense and he was the home team’s MVP.
This no longer seems to be a need but clearly a choice. And, for that matter, it’s the right choice. With Singleton being over 40% in shots from behind the 6.75 line, not taking those shots would have been a mistake. He executes them in two ways: either in a clear pick’n’pop whenever he’s in 5 more often, or as a shooter waiting for the ball when the defense closes up to deal with drives and Bourousis’s game in the post. Against Bamberg, the American was 4-for-6.
Panathinaikos targeted Causeur and Melli as a defensive approach and they aced it. They blocked the left lane and Causeur’s drives, dramatically reducing his scoring as well as his creation. Also, they didn’t give anything away to Melli close to the basket as well along the perimeter. The two of them had zero impact on the game, with an overall contribution of 7 points and 3-for-13 shots.
They’re still looking for consistency
Panathinaikos might have won the game but they’re still looking for some consistency in their offensive game. They’re relying on individual talent too much, while Bamberg are an excellent unit. The number of assists says it all, with the home team having just 12 and the visitors 20.
CSKA – Crvena Zvezda
Amazing De Colo
With the Frenchman in such condition how can CSKA lose? He was amazing in the first half, receiving all the passes in motion and immediately running the plays, executing with tremendous speed, either finishing plays from inside the paint or from the perimeter. He had 18 points in the first half and finished the game with 25, missing only three shots.
Risks that didn’t pay off
Crvena Zvezda’s primary concern, like most teams that face CSKA, was to contain the pick-and-roll. This requires taking some risks that usually involve shooting from the 3 position more rarely and more often from the 4 so that the defense can close up with help inside. The visitors’ risk didn’t pay off as Vorontsevich, Kurbanov and Antonov had 7-for-9 three-pointers between them.
This is the amazing figure that CSKA had from the 6.75 line. The good defense was overcome by an excellent and very kinetic offense. With such a percentage in three-pointers, a little below 70% in two-pointers, 95% in free throws and 27 assists, it was impossible for CSKA to lose. Nevertheless, Zvezda’s defense forced them to commit 20 turnovers. The home team’s accuracy, though, was unreal.
A good team
The Serbs might have lost by 22 points, but they went up against a team that played almost flawlessly. The visitors had good defenses, but they conceded some very difficult shots. Despite this and with the principals that govern their game, they played good basketball, they struck in the paint and moved the ball very well. They were keeping up until the 25th minute but the difference in the quality of the rosters as well as Jovic’s absence tipped the balance in CSKA’s favor.
Darussafaka – Fenerbahce
Still, it was a great game!
The final result might not seem thrilling, but the Turkish derby was an amazing game. Unbelievable battles, great defenses, players that sacrificed their bodies at every opportunity and a lot of tactics. Darussafaka prevailed thanks to the very good performances of certain players that were crucial to the way the game turned out.
About the switches!
Fener’s switch all defense trapped CSKA last week and Zeljko Obradovic went with it again. In the first quarter it was very effective, but from that point on the home team read very well almost all the mismatches they had in offense, scoring 62 points after the first ten minutes during which they only had 10.
Clyburn and Zizic!
The two players that decided the game. The American got warmed up in the crucial fourth quarter, scoring 12 points with three three-pointers, in isolation games after the switches in defense. The Croatian was once again amazing, protecting the key in defense in an imposing manner. Aside from this, he contributed in offense as well, while he showed that he has some good moves in the post too. A double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Problem in creation
In order for Fener to withstand a switching defense, they were forced to have line-ups that included Kalinic and Nunnally in 3. These line-ups, though, deprived them of creativity as none of them is a good creator, while smaller line-ups were abandoned and Sloukas didn’t play that much. As a consequence, the visitors’ offense was dysfunctional and slow. The result was only 11 assists, when Brad Wanamaker by himself had as many for Darussafaka.