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viernes, 1 de mayo de 2009

EUROLEAGUE: THE FINAL FOUR IS HERE (article in English and Español)

This weekend, we will have spectacle and emotion in Berlin because the Euroleague Final Four will take place there since this Friday until next Sunday with the presence of the best 4 European basketball´s team, the current European Champion, CSKA Moscow, the powerful Regal FC Barcelona-it fulfilled our prediction and it defeat Tau Vitoria in the 4th final- and the 2 Greek giant, Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.

CSKA and Regal FC Barcelona will play the first semi-final on Friday at 18.00 cet where we will see a game with and a lot of equality and intensity between 2 teams which defend very well and have a very good collective play with a balanced roster, both with good players in the paint and outside the paint. Normally, CSKA plays with long possessions, slow play´s rhythm and with important defensive concentration during all the game-it is very difficult to see a CSKA´s rival scoring more than 65 points-. So if Regal FC Barcelona wants to have any chances to beat CSKA, it needs a fast game with a lot of point, since normally CSKA has many problems to win these kind of game during this season, since in fact CSKA has lost all the Euroleague´s games when its rivals scored more than 70 points and therefore if the Xavi Pascual´s men want to stop the play of Trajan Langdon (10, 3 points per game, with 55% 2FG and 43 % in 3FG ), Erazem Lorbek (the elegant forward is scoring 12.6 points per game with a 59.9% 2FGP and 47.1 3FG and 5,4 rebounds), Matjaz Smodis – the fine forward has a 41.7% 3FG),Ramunas Siskaukas and company, they must play with fast style and a lot of defensive concentration, having an important defensive role players like Gianluca Basile-good defender and he is the best to score the impossible shots-, Roger Grimau, Lubos Barton and Victor Sada, who have to be the great complement to the shooters of the team Jaka Lakovic and Juan Carlos Navarro (14.8 points per game with 49.5% 2FG and 92, 6 in free throws), whose performance will be decisive for the result of the game, although of course we can not forget the important and powerful FC Barcelona´s play in the paint, where we can find players like Fran Vázquez-finally we are seeing an excellent level in this player, who said no to Orlando Magic some years ago-, the intimidator Daniel Santiago, the phenomenal and polyvalent Turkish player Ersan Ilyasova-he is a perfect player: points, rebounds, blocks...-and the elegant David Andersen-he always appears in the important moments of the game-, who will have a complicated battle in the paint against big men-Lorbek, Smodis, Terence Morris, Viktor Khryapa (everyone plays well both inside and outside the paint and therefore there are many difficulties to defend these players) – of the italian Ettore Messina, who is possibly the best European coach-he has won 4times the European Championship-. We'll see who will have more fortune and it gets a place in the Sunday´s final to play against an Athens´s team, which play the other semifinal on Friday at 21:00 cet.

The other semi-final between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos is also very open, since both teams have an impressive roster and besides every team knows perfectly the other team. However if we have to chose a favourite, we think that Panathinaikos has more chances to win this semifinal, because:
1-The coach of Panathinaikos, Zeljko Obradovic is a winner and besides he is a specialist in this kind of competitions, since he has won 6 times this trophy(1 with Partizan Belgrade in 1992-the unforgettable last 3 points shot in the last second of the game scored by Sasha Djordjevic-, one with Joventut Badalona in 1994, 1 with Real Madrid in 1995 and 3 with Panathinaikos in 2000, 2002 and 2007 ... amazing).Instead, the coach of Olympiacos, Panagiotis Giannakis, still has to demonstrate as coach what is his performance in this kind of competition.
2-Olympiacos has not convinced us during the season in general and in the 4th final against Real Madrid in particular, because It did not show all the potential that it can show a team with players like Theo Papaloukas, Josh Childress -after his herniated disc, he is not playing with his best level-,Jennero Pargo-no news of his abilities-, Halperin- he is an excellent shooter-, Nikola Vujcic-excellent player ... pure spectacle-, Lyn Greer-he is the key player of the team, since when the team needs 3 points, he has the responsibility to shot-, Ioannis Bourousis-he is playing very well during this season, being a very dominant center-. If we say that this team did not convince is because for example during the last 4th finals against Real Madrid, it was not able to attack a Real Madrid´s no individual defensive system and in fact during this defensive´s style, Real Madrid scored 26 points and Olympiacos only 1 point. So, we will see what will happen if the Panathinaikos´s coach, Obradovic, opts to use a non individual defensive´s system.
3-If you look at the results during this season when these 2 teams have played one against the other, it seems that Panathinaikos knows very well the way to stop Olympiacos, since Panathanikos won 2 games and Olympiacos (last March 1 Olympiacos won 77-75, on November, 23 Panathinaikos won 86-69 and in the Greek Cup final on February 22, Panathinaikos won 80-70).
4-The Panathinaikos´s defensive level, with players like Nikos Hatzivrettas or Dimitros Diamantidis –Dimitros is the best defensive player in Europe-, who will complicated the labour of players like Greer or Halterin, which can be decisive, since if these 2 Olympiacos´s players “are not in the game”, the Giannakis´s team will have many problems to be in the Final.
We'll see what will happen.
Enjoy!
Other Euroleague´s articles:
EUROLEAGUE: THE QUARTERFINALS (article in English and Español)
THE EUROLEAGUE IS HERE (This article is available in English and Español)
EUROLEAGUE: SPECTACULAR MARKET!
NBA: THE CHILDRESS´S SURPRISE (This article is available in English and Español)
Cheers,
J&F
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