Playoffs Round 3 - April 12, 2007 CET: 20:45 Local time: 20:45 - PALACIO DE LOS DEPORTES J.M. MARTIN CARPENA
PLAYOFFS, ROUND 3

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Playoffs 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
12-10 Overall 14-8

Referees

Crew Chief
PITSILKAS, NIKOLAOS, Greece
Referee
BACHAR, SHMUEL, Israel
Umpire
CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS, Greece

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
72.6 Points 79.4
32.3 Rebounds 31.0
8.9 O. Rebounds 9.3
23.4 D. Rebounds 21.6
13.1 Assists 16.4
9.8 Steals 8.5
2.5 Blocks 3.3
17.0 Turnovers 11.8
53.2 % 2PT 55.5 %
35.2 % 3PT 40.3 %
70.1 % FT 74.4 %
77.7 Index 92.7

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
11.2 / Rodriguez Points 17.1 / Navarro
4.9 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL Rebounds 5.0 / TRIAS, JORDI
1.5 / Pietrus OR 2.1 / TRIAS, JORDI
3.9 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL DR 3.1 / MARCONATO, DENIS
2.8 / Rodriguez Assists 3.5 / Lakovic
1.3 / Welsch Steals 1.1 / Basile
0.9 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL Blocks 1.2 / Vazquez
2.5 / Welsch Turnovers 2.2 / Lakovic
66.7 % / Pietrus 2PT 71.1 % / TRIAS, JORDI
44.1 % / TUSEK, MARKO 3PT 45.0 % / Grimau
81.5 % / SANCHEZ, PEPE FT 84.8 % / KAKIOUZIS, MICHAILIS
13.8 / SANTIAGO, DANIEL Index 17.3 / Navarro

THE TAKE

Excitement, passion, drama and joy are guaranteed in Malaga on Thursday when Unicaja hosts Winterthur FC Barcelona in a make-or-break battle for a Final Four spot. The best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs series is tied at 1-1, but Unicaja has the home-court advantage and will try to advance to its first-ever Final Four. Meanwhile, Barcelona is trying to make it to the Final Four for the second straight season. So far both games have been considerably different in the series. Unicaja used a rain of three-pointers (12-of-24) to overcome an early deficit and down Barcelona 91-75 in Game 1 in Malaga. Unicaja got 54 points from its bench, as Marcus Faison fired in five triples on his way to 17 points. Barcelona bounced back in Game 2 behind an outstanding Juan Carlos Navarro, who scored 25 on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown in less than 19 minutes to lead his team to an 80-58 win. Navarro will be in the spotlight once again as he needs only 11 points to win the Alphonso Ford Top Scorer trophy over Igor Rakocevic of Tau Ceramica. Navarro will be Unicaja's main concern along with Jaka Lakovic, a vetaran of deciding quarterfinal games with Panathinaikos. They lead a star-filled backcourt that also features three-point threat Gianluca Basile and electric playmaker Roko-Leni Ukic. Lakovic and Ukic will have a strong test against Pepe Sanchez and Carlos Cabezas, who complement each other well for Unicaja. Cabezas is a great defender ready to face Lakovic, while Sanchez never disappoints in critical games like this. Navarro goes up against Berni Rodriguez, while Basile will test his scoring skills against Marcus Brown, Faison and Kostas Vasileadis, who is expected to see more playing time, as Jiri Welsch is questionable for this game and sat out in the Spanish League this weekend. Brown needs just 9 points to become the second player in Euroleague Basketball history to reach the 2,000-point mark. What happens inside is anyone's guess, as Unicaja will likely be without star center Daniel Santiago. Unicaja still has plenty to offer with IƱaki De Miguel, Florent Pietrus, Marko Tusek and Carlos Jimenez. With Mario Kasun sidelined since early January, former Unicaja big man Fran Vazquez is sharing the center duties with Denis Marconato. Michalis Kakiouzis is a man made for games like this, while Jordi Trias is a great defensive player who can match up with both Jimenez and Tusek. Unicaja will likely look for a high-tempo, while Barca will look for an organized game with good shots for Navarro, Lakovic and Basile. Euroleague Basketball cannot get better than this: two outstanding teams going against each other to stay alive in the competition. This is must-see basketball in what will certainly be one of the most intense basketball games at any level this season.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"We hope that Dani Santiago can play because it would be sad that he could not be with us in such an important game. He was really important to be here, he was the March MVP and it would be a shame he could not enjoy this great game with his teammates. On the sports side, we have been taken down all year but we always stepped up again and we reached a point in which we never were before. We will go out there full of pride and determination being aware that now, more than ever, we have to give our maximum and play at the limit of our possibilities. The defensive intensity and the shooting selection must be top notch, too.I am sure that our fans will help us as they only know how and that they are proud of their team."
IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Winterthur FC Barcelona
"Both teams are aware that we need to win this game if we want to make the Final Four. This is a crucial game and both teams are fit to win. It will be a tough game and we hope to get it if we can play with concentration through 40 minutes. Unicaja is a different team depending on if Santiago is on the floor. They play a different game without him and they can play with five small players. They are very aggresive on defense, especially when they play at home. They have a lot of systems, but we have prepared our game for everything."

Players

JIMENEZ, CARLOS
Unicaja
"I hope that the home court factor appears again on Thursday and that it is positive for us. It's true that Navarro has played two great games lately against us and Tau in the Spanish League. He is in a good moment. It will be almost impossible to keep him from scoring but we do not have to forget about the rest of the players. We are happy about being in front of a Final Four and wishing for the Thursday game to arrive. We are really eager to take part in an event with the best players of the continent."
TRIAS, JORDI
Winterthur FC Barcelona
"This is a really important game for both teams, but we want to be in the Final Four for the second year in a row. Their fans will help them a lot in Malaga, but we need to be able to play in front of this situation. We have shown before we can beat them in Malaga and we have to do it again."
Pepe Sanchez - UnicajaThe Final Four has a first-time guest after Unicaja vaulted to the top of Europe's elite by edging Winterthur FC Barcelona 67-64 in Game 3 of their best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs series on Thursday. A sellout crowd of 10,000 fans at Malaga's Martin Carpena Arena will never forget the thrilling fashion in which Unicaja won the series 2-1 and advanced to face defending champion CSKA Moscow in the semifinals in Athens on May 4. Pepe Sanchez became the game's hero by hitting a critical triple with 7.7 seconds to go before Marcus Brown put the victory on ice with free throws that gave put him over 2,000 points in his Euroleague Basketball career, only the second player to accomplish that feat. Marko Tusek paced the winners with 15 points, Sanchez had 11 and Brown 10. Fran Vazquez had 12 points for Barcelona while Gianluca Basile added 10 and Juan Carlos Navarro was limited to just 9 points. Roko-Leni Ukic had pushed Barcelona to a 60-62 lead early in the final minute, but free throws by Berni Rodriguez and a ice-cool triple by Sanchez sent Unicaja ahead for good. Thus ended one of the most intense game in playoff history, full of tears, drama and a explosion of joy by thousands of Unicaja fans who can now keep dreaming of Euroleague glory.

Florent Pietrus, who replaced Santiago in Unicaja's starting lineup, needed just 18 seconds to make his presence known with a tip-in that Jordi Trias matched for Barcelona with a dunk. Denis Marconato buried a five-meter shot that Brown answered from downtown for a 5-4 Unicaja lead. Unicaja had opted for a small starting lineup and Barcelona found Trias again around the basket. Berni Rodriguez shined with a left-handed layup that Carlos Jimenez followed with a driving basket to keep Unicaja ahead, 9-6. Gianluca Basile took over with a high-flying step-back jumper and Jaka Lakovic added free throws for Barcelona, but Jimenez's driving layup provided another lead change, 11-10. Navarro found his first basket, a floater in a crowd, as Barcelona also adjusted its man-to-man defense. Unicaja could not find the way to the basket while Lakovic scored driving to the basket for a 11-14 Barcelona lead. Carlos Cabezas saved the home team then, stealing an offensive rebound and putting it back in before Basile made up those points for Barcelona with free throws. With control hanging in the balance, Unicaja found sharpshooters in Jimenez and Brown, who buried back-to-back triples that lifted the crowd out of its seat before Lakovic and Marko Tusek traded free throws and Unicaja took a 21-18 edge after 10 minutes.

Fran Vazquez - Winterthur FCBBasile fired in an outstanding seven-meter triple at the start of the second quarter while Barcelona improved its aggresseness on defense with Roger Grimau and Trias on court. Brown took over with a driving layup, as Unicaja matched that defensive intensity, holding Barcelona scoreless for 3 long minutes. The hosts did not do much better, however, until a three-point play by De Miguel lifted Unicaja to a 26-21 margin. Fran Vazquez stepped up for Barcelona with a mid-range jumper but Pepe Sanchez buried his first ttempt from downtown to set Martin Carpena Arena on fire at 29-23. Barcelona simply could not find the way to the basket, as Rodriguez was putting the breaks on Navarro, making the whole Barcelona offense collapse. Vazquez kept the guests breathing with a put-back layup but Sanchez nailed another triple to make it a seven-point game, 32-25. Navarro finally stepped up with his trademark "bomba", as Unicaja missed some easy shots that kept the hosts from breaking the game open. Vazquez scored in the paint but Sanchez matched it with free throws. Basile hit a wide open triple to bring Barcelona closer, but after a Unicaja timeout, Tusek matched it at the buzzer for a 38-32 lead by the hosts at the break.

The defensive intensity rose even higher after the break, as Barcelona tried to get Navarro involved without any success. Meanwhile, De Miguel banked in a short shot and Brown fed Cabezas for a fastbreak layup to give Unicaja its biggest margin so far, 42-32. The noise level in Martin Carpena was now off the charts, as everyone knew it was a decisive moment in this game. Navarro finished a terrific Barcelona offense with a corner triple but De Miguel answered with a flying put-back dunk. Free throws by Cabezas restored a double-digit Unicaja lead, 46-36. Barcelona kept missing shots as Unicaja, pushed by a sea of green and purple fans, kept full control of the game. Unicaja had entered the foul bonus but Barcelona kept struggling to score until Grimau silenced the crowd with a triple to make it 46-40. Unicaja did not panic, as Sanchez fed Pietrus for a huge dunk, but Grimau matched that free throws. By the time Vazquez beat the buzzer with a long jumper, Barcelona was within 48-44 at the end of the third quarter.

Marko Tusek - UnicajaTrias hit a short jumper early in the final period, proving that Barcelona had regained the momentum with both Trias and Vazuqez on court. A layup-plus-free throw by a hyperactive Trias capped a 2-12 run that tied the game, 48-48. Unicaja found a go-to guy in Tusek, who buried a three-pointer that Vazquez answered with yet another jumper. Barcelona called timeout to calm its nerves before back-to-back driving layups by Roko-Leni Ukic took his team in front again for the first time since early in the game, 51-54 with 6 minutes to go. The Barcelona defense kept Unicaja locked out while Vazquez - who else? - hit another shot. Unicaja called a much-needed timeout and looked for Tusek, who kept the hosts close with free throws before Jiri Welsch scored in transition to turn the game into a thriller, 55-56, with 3 minutes remaining. Tusek tied it with a free throw but Ukic buried a tough jumper to keep Barcelona ahead, 56-58. Every possession mattered now, as Tusek scored inside with 1:40 to go. Lakovic and Tusek then traded free throws for a 60-60 tie with 1:19 remaining. Ukic scored with another flying drive at the basket, already in the final minute now, but free throws by Rodriguez meant a 62-62 tie with 49.9 tics to go. Navarro missed an off-balanced shot, setting the stage for Unicaja's chance to go ahead. Rodriguez slipped his defender, drove and dished off to Sanchez, who had left the game minutes earlier with a knee problem, but was now poised on the arc. Sanchez flicked his left wrist and the ball went down as 10,000 fans in Malaga went up. There were 7.7 seconds to go and Unicaja now led 62-65. After a Barcelona timeout, Navarro and Brown traded free throws. Lakovic was next to the line and missed twice, allowing Unicaja to seal its historic first ticket to the Final Four!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Euroleague.net
Referees: PITSILKAS, NIKOLAOS (GRE), BACHAR, SHMUEL (ISR), CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTOS (GRE)
Attendance: 10000
By Quarter1234
Unicaja21171019
Winterthur FC Barcelona18141220
End of Quarter1234
Unicaja21384867
Winterthur FC Barcelona18324464
Head coach: SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
4 SANCHEZ, PEPE 24:00 11 0/2 3/4 2/2 1 3 4 3   2     1 2 14
5 RODRIGUEZ, BERNI 26:00 4 1/4 0/2 2/2 1   1 1   2     5 1 -5
7 VASILEIADIS, KOSTAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9 WELSCH, JIRI 13:15 2 1/4 0/1     1 1   2 1       2 2
10 CABEZAS, CARLOS 24:00 8 3/7 0/1 2/2 2 2 4 2         2 3 10
11 PIETRUS, FLORENT 14:00 4 2/3     1 2 3         1 3   2
15 DE MIGUEL, IGNACIO 19:15 8 3/6 0/1 2/3 2 5 7 1 1 2 1 2 3 3 9
17 TUSEK, MARKO 25:30 15 1/3 2/4 7/9 1 3 4       1   1 5 18
20 JIMENEZ, CARLOS 17:00 5 1/1 1/2     3 3           4 2 5
22 SANCHEZ, ALFONSO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
24 FAISON, MARCUS 10:45   0/1 0/2         1 1 1     2 1 -3
41 BROWN, MARCUS 26:15 10 1/3 2/3 2/3   2 2 3   2     2 4 11
Team             3 3   1           4
Totals 200:00 67 13/34 8/20 17/21 8 24 32 11 5 10 2 3 23 23 67
38.2% 40% 81%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Head coach: IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Winterthur FC Barcelona
# Player Min Pts 2FG
M-A
3FG
M-A
FT
M-A
Rebounds As St To Bl Fouls PIR
O D T Fv Ag Cm Rv
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 34:45 10 1/1 2/3 2/2   3 3   1 2     5 1 7
8 TRIAS, JORDI 33:45 9 4/5   1/3   9 9 1   1     1 2 16
9 MARCONATO, DENIS 14:30 2 1/2           1 2 2     1   1
10 LAKOVIC, JAKA 21:15 8 1/3 0/3 6/8       4   2   1 2 7 7
11 NAVARRO, JUAN CARLOS 37:00 9 2/7 1/6 2/2   3 3 3   2     2 7 8
14 DE LA FUENTE, RODRIGO 0:15                              
17 VAZQUEZ, FRAN 16:15 12 6/7     1   1 1 2   1   2 2 16
20 KAKIOUZIS, MICHAILIS 13:15         1 3 4       1   2 1 4
21 UKIC, ROKO 22:15 8 4/5 0/2     2 2 4 1 1   1 3 1 8
44 GRIMAU, ROGER 6:45 6 0/2 1/2 3/4 1   1       1   5 2 1
Team             4 4               4
Totals 200:00 64 19/32 4/16 14/19 3 24 27 14 6 10 3 2 23 23 72
59.4% 25% 73.7%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

SCARIOLO, SERGIO
Unicaja
"Congratulations to Barcelona. They have been a great rival and they are a club that puts a lot on the line for basketball and they have a great team with a great roster as well as a great coach and coaching staff. I also want to congratulate our fans and my players. In 25 years as a coach I never saw a team that prepared so well and hard tactically for a game, as my guys did these three days. We managed to overcome a big blow to our team as was Dani Santiago's absence. This is a dream come true. I want to dedicate this success to my family and of course, the great fans of Unicaja."
IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Winterthur FC Barcelona
"Unicaja was not really superior tonight but they won the game, just as we could have won it. It was my decision to sit Fran Vazquez for the last minutes. In these cases you can always win or lose and we got the worst part today. Anyway we are a great team and now we have to step up and continue."

Players

RODRIGUEZ, BERNI
Unicaja
"This is for the fans. It was unbelievable. They deserve it. We suffered in the second half but we did it in the end. Barcelona was a great rival. They had their options, too but we knew how to stay calm in the decisive moments."
TUSEK, MARKO
Unicaja
"I am so happy. We're going to the Final Four! I have never been there before and on top of it, I have been in this team for such a short time but I already feel llike I have been here for years. We always want the best for us but now we have to concentrate on the Spanish League games. We will have time to prepare this Final Four as it deserves."
CABEZAS, CARLOS
Unicaja
"This was the thing that we were lacking and missing so much. And we manage to make it at home and in front of our fans. I am so happy, I think now it's the time to enjoy this moment for a while. This is for my family and for the Unicaja fans that helped us so much."
VAZQUEZ, FRAN
Winterthur FC Barcelona
"There is nothing to add to the fact that Unicaja won the series. They deserved to advance to the Final Four as much as we would have deserved win if we had be focused in the final minute. I am disappointed not only with this loss, but also because all the work I did was worth nothing in the end."
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