By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
Valencia dominated the boards 42 – 24 en route to capturing a 89 – 75 win in Game 1 of the EuroCup quarterfinals against Alba Berlin. The “Taronja” increased their scoring opportunities with 16 offensive rebounds and made this advantage count with 24 second-chance points.
Small wonder that Alba Berlin forward and newly crowned EuroCup MVP Luke Sikma mentioned this difference as the “main thing” for their defeat. And not only for the baskets their opponents made via offensive rebounding.
“I think that the main thing tonight was the rebounding because it just kind of hurt our offense,” Sikma said. “We were not able to get on the break like we wanted to and have to do a better job at that in the next game to kind of find our game again.”
Alba scored zero fast-break points and Valencia coach Jaume Ponsarnau couldn’t help but be pleased with his team’s effectiveness in that department.
“The key is I think we did a great job in transition defense. We controlled their fastbreak. I think they had just a few points in those situations. Their efficiency is unbelievable from the three-point line, but I think the key was that our work in transition defense was good.”
Valencia forward Will Thomas, the game’s top scorer with 22 points, also praised his team’s defense. “That’s been our whole focus for this series, to play great defense against them, transition defense and good half-court defense. In the second half, we were able to do that and got the win. When we play great defense, we know we can get easy buckets on the other end.”
Now Alba Berlin will play a knockout battle at home in Game 2 Friday (April 12). It will be essential to change a couple of things according to Rokas Giedraitis.
Preventing Valencia from getting so many offensive rebounds, is something that won’t hurt.
“It is hard to say something right now,” Giedraitis said. “We need to watch the game, but yes, they dominated on the glass and got a lot of offensive rebounds, which was the key to winning this game – offensive rebounds. Making adjustments is important, of course. We need to watch what we did, our mistakes, and try to win on Friday.”