Final Four Round 1 - May 06, 2005 CET: 20:40 Local time: 21:40 - OLYMPIYSKY ARENA
FINAL FOUR, ROUND 1

Records

Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
2-0 Playoffs 2-0
0-0 Eighthfinals 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
21-1 Overall 12-10

Referees

Crew Chief
TSANIDIS, STAVROS, Greece
Referee
BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS, Lithuania
Umpire
ANKARALI, RECEP, Turkey

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
85.3 Points 83.6
35.2 Rebounds 32.8
10.4 O. Rebounds 9.9
24.9 D. Rebounds 22.9
14.4 Assists 15.1
11.2 Steals 10.4
2.6 Blocks 2.2
12.0 Turnovers 13.1
53.4 % 2PT 52.8 %
38.7 % 3PT 38.5 %
76.6 % FT 77.7 %
100.0 Index 93.0

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
15.9 / BROWN, MARCUS Points 17.9 / MACIJAUSKAS, ARVYDAS
6.6 / Andersen Rebounds 6.5 / SCOLA, LUIS
1.9 / Savrasenko OR 2.0 / SCOLA, LUIS
4.9 / Andersen DR 4.4 / SCOLA, LUIS
3.9 / Papaloukas Assists 2.9 / CALDERON, JOSE MANUEL
1.4 / Papaloukas Steals 1.4 / SCOLA, LUIS
0.9 / Savrasenko Blocks 0.7 / SCOLA, LUIS
1.9 / BROWN, MARCUS Turnovers 2.6 / SCOLA, LUIS
63.9 % / Papaloukas 2PT 57.1 % / SCOLA, LUIS
55.6 % / PANOV, SERGEY 3PT 50.0 % / DAVID, KORNEL
90.0 % / HOLDEN, J.R. FT 100.0 % / GABINI, ROBERTO
17.3 / BROWN, MARCUS Index 17.0 / SCOLA, LUIS

THE TAKE

CSKA and Tau Ceramica will battle each other to reach the Euroleague final in the Olympiysky Arena, Moscow, this Friday at 19:40 CET. Both teams will go head-to-head for the fifth time in the last two years, with CSKA having edged Tau by narrow margins in their last four matchups. Tau has already registered a win against CSKA in Moscow, however, back on April 11, 2002. CSKA Moscow returns to the Final Four for the third time in as many seasons, but failed to reach the title game both in Barcelona and Tel Aviv, losing both times to the eventual champions in the semifinal game. Meanwhile, Tau Ceramica makes its first-ever Final Four appearance trying to become the first newcomer to win the competition since Zalgiris in 1999. Tau brings marquee names to the task. Power forward Luis Scola could join the great Arvydas Sabonis as the only three players to win both the Euroleague and an Olympic gold medal since the Final Four era started in 1988. CSKA has rolled all season long and enters the Final Four with an outstanding 53-1 record in all official competitions between the Euroleague (21-1), the Russian League (26-0) and the Russian Cup (6-0), which the team won a couple weeks ago. CSKA was undefeated in the Euroleague regular season, won its Top 16 group and swept Ulker in the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Meanwhile, Tau Ceramica leads the Spanish League regular season and enters the Final Four despite making it to the Top 16 due to a tie-break advantage. Once in the Top 16, Tau won all three home games in Vitoria and edged Zalgiris in Kaunas to reach the Quarterfinal Playoffs, in which Tau swept its series against Benetton, including a memorable 39-point road win in Treviso. Nobody in Tau Ceramica has ever been in a Final Four expect head coach Dusko Ivanovic, who was there as a player in 1989 and 1990 with Jugoplastika Split. For CSKA, only Demos Dikoudis, Martin Muursepp and youngster Vasiliy Zavoruev have not been in a Final Four before, so experience might be a factor in this game. CSKA also has plenty of experience on the bench. Head coach Dusan Ivkovic won the Euroleague title with Olympiacos back in 1997, as well as leading PAOK to a Final Four in 1993. By taking CSKA to three consecutive Final Fours, Ivkovic has returned CSKA to its glory days. Now, CSKA is looking for its first Euroleague title since 1971.

Both teams have deep, talented rosters that guarantee a collection of major stars on the court Friday at Olympiysky Arena. Tau has its own marquee playmaker in Jose Manuel Calderon, who is back on track after overcoming a muscle tear which had sidelined him for two weeks during the Top 16. Calderon is an athletic point guard with an unique combination of talent and jumping skills. Although Tau lost both Top 16 games that Calderon did not play, backup Pablo Prigioni has also been key to the team's success. Prigioni is a defensive ace on the ball, and coach Dusko Ivanovic doesn't hesitate to use both playmakers simultaneously. CSKA has its own stellar point guard tandem. J.R. Holden and Theodoros Papaloukas complement each other perfectly and are able to share minutes on court. Holden's quickness, ballhandling and leadership are major plusses for CSKA. Papaloukas, named the Euroleague MVP of January, offers energy, aggressiveness and court sense off the bench. He was not the only monthly MVP from CSKA, however. Marcus Brown also received that award in April. Brown is arguably the biggest offensive threat for CSKA, not only because he is the leading scorer, but because he always gets the ball in crunch time due to his athleticism and shooting skills. He is able to create his own shot like few players in the competition. The starting small forward, Antonio Granger is an offensive specialist whose defense improved in the last year. Both his shooting range and driving skills will be required in this do-or-die situation. His backup, young talent Sergey Monya, will be ready to step on court anytime and provide intensity and great defense, just as Sergei Panov will offer experience and solid overall skills while Zakhar Pashutin gives versatility at both guard spots. They will not have it easy against one of the best shooters in the world, Arvydas Macijauskas, who is virtually unstoppable when he catches fire. Small forward Travis Hansen has improved his overall perfomance after overcoming an adjustment period, while Sergi Vidal can play any perimeter spot and is having a career season, improving his shooting range and determination. The battle in the paint will also be interesting. Scola is one of the best low post scorers in the world and Kornel David is a blue-collar player with great work ethic and a deadly five-meter jumper. Both will get some help off the bench from top prospect Tiago Splitter, who has already shown he might become a dominant player in years to come, while Andrew Betts will provide defense and occasional points in the paint. In CSKA's front court, David Andersen has stood out lately among a battery of fine players. Andersen has elevated his game to become a Euroleague star, becoming arguably the best mobile big man in the competition. Demos Dikoudis is an intense power forward with great shooting range and strength, Martin Muursepp is deadly from downtown as well as a good rebounder with good knowledge of the game, while Aleksey Savrasenko is CSKA's top defensive center, with good timing to block shots. Above all, both teams are in extremely good shape, so sit back and get ready to enjoy one of the finest matchups that can be witnessed on a basketball court.
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Euroleague.net

Quotes Head Coaches

IVKOVIC, DUSAN
CSKA Moscow
"For sure, everybody at CSKA was ready to prepare mentally for things to be tough in this competition. For us, maybe it was going to be a problem to qualify, with the pressure we had. But now we are here and ready to do our best, to do the same things we've done until now. We and Tau know each other very well, because we began in the same group. I think we have big experience and we know what to do."
"Maccabi last year was under pressure and their team was dominant in the final game like never before. The situation for us is that from the beginning we prepared a team to be ready to play under pressure. Now that we are here in the Final Four, we are ready to do our best."
"My scouts work very hard, and I saw a lot of games of Tau. We know we each other very well, and we know the players in Tau Ceramica. The last two years in very tough games, we beat them four times. I think it means something."
IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Tau Ceramica
"The truth is that I don't want to remember the old days when I won as a player. It is very different arriving here as a coach, and the best thing to do at the moment is to live this experience. I don't want to think about the past, but about the present."
<br>
"I believe that the most important thing for tomorrow will be playing good defense, that's important for all four teams. Defense must be the basis to gain confidence. Of course, as in each big game, the inspiration of certain players can be decisive if the game is close in the final minutes."
<br>
"I think that we arrived here in good shape, but that doesn't mean anything. The most important things is how we will be on the floor tomorrow. The most important thing for my team, which is taking part in the Final Four for the first time, is to be calm enough to play it. I believe we will have it, and I hope it will be a close game. If we stay calm, we will have our chances."
<br>
"Both teams know each other very well, we played four times in two years and CSKA won all four games. I think that experience might be important for both teams and all players. Who will get advantage of it, who will be more intelligent? I believe in my team above anything else. We will see about it tomorrow."

Players

ANDERSEN, DAVID
CSKA Moscow
"Being in three Final Fours is obviously a great achievement and I am proud to be here again in Moscow. To see this kind of attention from the press and everyone is surprising. Coming from Australia, where there is not much coverage of European basketball, this is special. I am just happy to be back here again."
"Growing up, I never expected be play basketball in Russia. And if someone had told me that someday I'd be playing a Final Four in Russia, I would have looked at them and laughed. But now, I consider it a real privilege to be here, among the best players and teams in Europe, and to try to make history in basketball. I am looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity."
"We are playing for CSKA Moscow, in a huge city with a lot of fans who want to see us do good. But pressure is something I can't think about too much. I can just go out and play. Hopefully we'll win and make everyone in this great capital happy. That's what we're working for."
GRANGER, ANTONIO
CSKA Moscow
"I'm just thinking about the game. I'm ready to play. There's been so much hype leading up to the Final Four, with everyone talking about it. I'm just anxious to play. I want to get all the practice and press stuff over with and just play the game. It's very important to come here, get shots up, get a feel for the floor and the baskets and just get comfortable in this arena, just getting a lot of shots up so you can feel comfortable tomorrow. We'll just do the same thing we've been doing all year, just win and play hard. The semifinal game they say is the hardest and most important game. So we've got to win that one first."
DIKOUDIS, DIMOS
CSKA Moscow
"I feel great, everybody is feeling great and we can't wait for the game to start. I just feel like it's the first game of the season. It doesn't matter what we did before. It's a new tournament and a new challenge for us. That's the way I'm seeing things going in. I think defense is going be key factor for all teams, and whoever is going to play the best defense is going to win the title."
MUURSEPP, MARTIN
CSKA Moscow
"It's going to be a tough game, Tau Ceramica always gives 120 percent on the court and never plays bad. I wasn't here last season but I have faced them twice and Tau has always been a tough opponent for CSKA. It is a great arena, I am excited to be here, like all the teams."
SCOLA, LUIS
Tau Ceramica
"Even if the gold medal was almost one year ago, for me and other guys who were in that team it seems like a long time ago. Since then, a lot of things happened and we don't think about that anymore. This weekend will have its own weight and we are now concentrated in the Final Four. Athens brings great memories but we have to forget all about the past now and concentrate 100 percent on the Final Four, the Euroleague and CSKA."
"This weekend means a lot to us. It's great for a player when you can start winning everything you work for, those goals and dreams mean a lot to us. I'm really wishing to take the Eurolegague because of the first final we lost against Kinder and then because we fell short of making it lately. I feel lucky and comfortable in this human group we have created, and taking the title here and now would be a unique accomplishment."
"Probably those games we lost to CSKA are a source of motivation for some players. Those were great basketball games, exciting for the fans and tough for the players, especially us, since we lost. If some players use revenge as motivation it's fine with me, the way to get motivated is totally irrelevant as long as it works. Everyone has his own way to motivate himself."
"Trying to pick a single player of CSKA and name him as decisive is impossible. They have so many talented players, and at my position, apart from David Andersen, CSKA has players like Demos Dikoudis, Martin Muursepp or Aleksey Savrasenko, players that have proved their quality during their careers. We could just name their players one by one with great quality and history. It's hard to sum up CSKA in one single player. It's impossible."
SPLITTER, TIAGO
Tau Ceramica
"All the players in CSKA are really good, but despite losing to them in the last four games, I think we proved we fit their style. We always fell in the last plays. We'll have to remember those games and be aware of every situation, but most of all, we have to go out there and do our thing. Defense will be a very important factor. The team that shows quality on offense and is aware of every defensive situation, will have the most possibilities. They have done a real good job with the arena, I'm sure we will enjoy being here."
MACIJAUSKAS, ARVYDAS
Tau Ceramica
"I feel great. We are already finished practice. We are ready to fight and, of course, ready to win the game. We will see tomorrow. I don't think about how to shoot or how to make too much. I am thinking now about what we have prepared for the game, how we prepared the defense and how to play everybody together, because this the Final Four, and it is not only to shoot and to make. We are going to play 10 guys against 10 guys and what will also be important is defense, not just to shoot and make."
HANSEN, TRAVIS
Tau Ceramica
"This is definitely going to be a tough game for us, but we came here with the ambition to win it all, and we have to play well to win. We will be ready to play against CSKA. Both teams know each other and that's definitely a factor. Everybody knows everyone, and I think that a lot of people will enjoy watching the game. I hope I play well and give the team whatever it needs, scoring, rebounding, or just anything we need. I hope Tau wins, that is our goal, this is what we came here for."
CALDERON, JOSE MANUEL
Tau Ceramica
"We are good. We've been waiting to play this game for a long time and it gets closer and closer. This is our game and I will fight with all we have. CSKA is considered the favourite, but that's not a factor. Sometimes we are considered favourites, sometimes we aren't. It doesn't matter if we play CSKA in the Final Four or any other opponent anywhere else, we have to play all 40 minutes and to come out to win the game with the same attitude we always had. The team is very able to win this game."
Tau ends CSKA's dream, Betts, Macijauskas and Calderon - Tau Ceramica - FF Moscow 2005 Tau Ceramica provided one of the biggest surprises ever in the Euroleague Final Four by beating mighty CSKA 78-85 in the second semifinal of the Final Four in the Olympiysky Arena, Moscow on Friday. CSKA had entered the game with a record-breaking 21-1 record, but shot just as poorly as Tau did well whenever it seemed necessary. With the score tied 62-62 and less than 8 minutes remaining, Tau soared on a 2-11 run featuring three-pointers by Pablo Prigioni, Jose Manuel Calderon and Arvydas Macijauskas to take full control. Tau will now face defending champs Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Euroleague Final on Sunday at 16:40 CET. Macijauskas led the winners with 23 points. Calderon added 13 and Kornel David posted a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds, 6 of them in the final period. Luis Scola had 10 points despite playing less than 21 minutes due to foul trouble. J.R. Holden led CSKA with 20 points. Demos Dikoudis added 13 points, Marcus Brown 12 and David Andersen 10. CSKA's dream of winning its first title since 1971 at home suffered from 10-for-28 foul shooting and 8-for-29 three-point shooting. Tau Ceramica, though a newcomer to the Final Four, reaches its second Euroleague final, after having finished runner-up to Kinder Bologna in a best-of-five playoffs series in 2001. Tau head coach Dusko Ivanovic now has the chance to win the Euroleague both as a player and a coach. CSKA became the first team to lose three consecutive Final Four semifinals since Aris did it from 1988 to 1990.

Andersen opened the game with a turnaround jumper in the paint, as Tau struggled to score for a minute until Macijauskas turned a driving layup into a three-point play for a 2-3 Tau edge. He slashed again for a power layup, but Holden immediately answered from downtown to tie the game, 5-5. Both teams started with man-to-man defense, with Dikoudis being very physical against Scola. Even with that, Calderon fired in a three-pointer to put Tau back in charge, 5-8. CSKA was having trouble at both ends. Meanwhile, Macijauskas took over with an off-balance turnaround jumper, while Hansen capped a 0-8 Tau run with a three-pointer off the dribble which gave Tau a 5-13 margin. Dikoudis scored in the paint for CSKA, but Tau was now on fire. Scola scored in the paint against Andersen and Kornel David fired in his trademark five-meter jumper to keep his team going. When Scola grabbed an offensive rebound for a put-back basket, CSKA was down 10-19 and forced to call timeout. Sergei Monya stepped on court to slow Macijauskas, while Brown carried on struggling against Hansen's outstanding defense. Tau boosted its margin into double digits once David made free throws for a 10-21 lead after 7 minutes. Brown drove for his first basket, while Hansen had to go to the bench with 2 fouls. Andersen woke CSKA up with a dunk, while Theodoros Papaloukas added a driving layup to bring their team within 16-23. Tiago Splitter came off the bench after a Tau timeout and immediately had a big block on Andersen which Calderon turned into a fastbreak layup. A technical foul of Ivanovic allowed CSKA to cut its deficit to 17-25 after 10 minutes.

Marcus Brown - CSKA Moscow - FF Moscow 2005Calderon opened fire in the second quarter with free throws, but CSKA was a different team now and got back into the game in less than 3 minutes. Holden became his team's go-to guy with back-to-back bombs from downtown, while Andersen scored in the paint to make it a two-point game, 25-27. Tau struggled to score for 3 long minutes, while Monya capped a 11-0 with a corner three which put CSKA back in charge, 28-27. Sergi Vidal found a open four-meter jumper to give Tau some fresh air, while Scola stepped up with a second-chance basket which gave his team a 30-31 edge. Tau got some help off the bench from Roberto Gabini, who took over with a left-handed layup off a steal, and Andrew Betts, who scored in the paint to give Tau a 31-35 lead. That didn't slow CSKA, as Monya made another corner three-pointer while Papaloukas dunked it to give the hosts a lead again, 36-35. A red hot Gabini became the unexpected factor for Tau off the bench, as he nailed a catch-and-shoot triple to put his team back in charge, 36-38. Tau stayed in the game due to its bench depth, as hardly any starters were in the game. Gabini now buried a six-meter jumper while Prigioni added a fastbreak layup to keep Tau ahead, 37-42. Betts turned a jump hook into a three-point play that capped a 0-7 run and gave Tau a 37-45 edge. Brown tried to change things for CSKA with a tough jumper but Vidal delivered a fast break layup for a 40-47 Tau margin at halftime.

Tau started the third quarter at full speed, as Scola fired in a mid-range jumper that Prigioni followed with a drivijng basket to boost their lead to 40-51. CSKA went scoreless for more than 3 minutes, as Tau's defense was more aggressive with most of its starters - all but Calderon - back on court. CSKA tried to solve its offensive problems with a timeout, but Tau continued powering the offensive boards and playing strong defense. Even with that, Tau faced severe foul trouble once Scola returned to the bench due to a blocking foul, his fourth. Andersen made a short jumper and Holden added free throws to pull CSKA within 44-51. David came to the rescue for Tau with a four-meter jumper, but Holden beat the shot clock with a three-pointer to bring CSKA even closer, 47-52, midway through the third. The foul situation got worse for Tau once Splitter committed his fourth, while David already had three. Despite a Tau timeout, CSKA kept rolling, forcing a 24-second violation on Tau while Brown capped a 6-0 run with an uncontested three that made it, 51-53. Calderon answered with a driving layup while Macijauskas came off a screen to nail a catch-and-shoot three which gave Tau some fresh air at 51-58. Andersen followed Brown's driving basket with a layup and Holden canned a five-meter jumper that got CSKA within 57-58. Macijauskas took over with a fallaway jumper, but Holden answered with another long jumper for a 59-60 Tau lead after 30 minutes.

Arvydas Macijauskas - Tau Ceramica - FF Moscow 2005Brown managed to put CSKA back in charge, 61-60, with a floating layup early in the fourth quarter. Scola immediately came off the bench and scored in the paint to keep his team alive, as the game turned intense. Prigioni beat the shot clock with a critical three-pointer, but Scola was fouled out right after that. CSKA struggled to score now, but Tau failed to break the game, as Macijauskas and Calderon missed consecutive threes. The game turned into a real thriller once a short jumper by Macijauskas went in and out while Betts had a huge block on Holden in the other end. Coach Dusan Ivkovic asked for a timeout with 5:36 to go, but both teams carried on struggling to score for more than 2 minutes. Betts conquered a key offensive rebound which allowed Calderon to fire in a big three-pointer and give Tau a six-point lead, 62-68. David had already started to seal the defensive boards for Tau. Meanwhile, Macijauskas capped a 0-8 run which a driving layup which gave his team a 52-60 margin with under 4 minutes to go. Papaloukas slashed for a layup, but Macijauskas provided the play of the day. Tau inbounded the ball with a single second on the shot clock, but enough for him to nail an incredible three from the opposite corner to make it a nine-point game, 64-73, already in the final 3 minutes. Dikoudis revived CSKA with a close basket, but the hosts carried on struggling from the free throw line. Meanwhile, a second-chance by David sealed the outcome, 66-75, with under 2 minutes to go. Around 1,000 Tau fans had started to celebrate, especially once Brown missed 2 free throws and David delivered a huge dunk which sent Tau to its first Euroleague title game.
Friday, May 6, 2005
Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net, Moscow
Referees: TSANIDIS, STAVROS (GRE), BRAZAUSKAS, ROMUALDAS (LTU), ANKARALI, RECEP (TUR)
Attendance: 13607
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow17231919
Tau Ceramica25221325
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow17405978
Tau Ceramica25476085
Head coach: IVKOVIC, DUSAN
CSKA Moscow
# 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 PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS 13:15 9 4/5   1/3 1   1 2   2     3 2 6
5 BROWN, MARCUS 35:15 12 4/5 1/6 1/4   3 3 5   5     4 9 11
6 PANOV, SERGEY 11:00     0/1   1 2 3   1       1 1 3
7 ANDERSEN, DAVID 28:30 10 5/9   0/3 3 4 7 1 1 2   1 2 4 11
9 DIKOUDIS, DIMOS 17:00 13 6/9   1/4 3 2 5   2       4 2 12
10 HOLDEN, J.R. 34:45 20 2/8 4/10 4/6 1 2 3 1 1     1 3 2 9
11 PASHUTIN, ZAKHAR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 MONIA, SERGEY 13:00 6 0/2 2/6   2 3 5 1 1       2   5
13 MUURSEPP, MARTIN 12:00 3 1/1 0/3 1/4 2 2 4     2       3 2
14 SAVRASENKO, ALEKSEY 10:15         2 1 3       1       4
21 GRANGER, ANTONIO 25:00 5   1/4 2/4 1 2 3     1     3 3 2
23 ZAVORUEV, VASILY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1 4 5   3 1         7
Totals 200:00 78 22/39 8/30 10/28 17 25 42 10 9 13 1 2 22 26 72
56.4% 26.7% 35.7%
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
Tau Ceramica
# 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 SCOLA, LUIS 20:30 10 5/11   0/2 2 2 4 2 1 2     5 2 4
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 24:15 9 2/2 1/3 2/2   4 4 5 1       2 1 16
6 HANSEN, TRAVIS 12:00 3 0/2 1/2     2 2 2 2       2 1 5
7 MACIJAUSKAS, ARVYDAS 32:45 23 5/7 2/7 7/7   3 3 3 3 3     1 8 29
8 CALDERON, JOSE MANUEL 27:00 13 2/4 2/7 3/5 1 2 3 1   1       5 12
9 VIDAL, SERGI 16:45 4 2/3       2 2 2 2           9
13 CONLEY, ROBERT DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 DAVID, KORNEL 31:15 11 4/6   3/4 3 9 12 1     1   3 3 22
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 14:00         1 3 4 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 1
22 GABINI, ROBERTO 8:30 7 2/3 1/1     2 2   1 1     3   5
51 BETTS, ANDY 13:00 5 2/4   1/1 1 1 2           5 1 1
Team                   2 1     1    
Totals 200:00 85 24/42 7/20 16/21 8 30 38 17 13 9 2 1 27 22 104
57.1% 35% 76.2%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

IVKOVIC, DUSAN
CSKA Moscow
"Congratulation for them. Tonight Tau was better than us and they deserve to stay in the final. It’s been a difficult game, in which I felt my players being under pressure. They haven’t played their usual game and it’s clear we felt pressure because we didn’t close any fastbreak, we didn’t score easy points in first 39 minutes and served just 10 assist. At the end of the third it was a 1-point game but look to our free-throw percentage. We were not mentally prepared, we were mentally tired. It doesn’t last anything more than keeping working for our League. I just want to congratulate my team for the Euroleague season they have played. It is our third consecutive presence in the Final Four and we have to work hard, while finding reasons for tonight’s game. I wish all the best to TAU and Maccabi. Was it a painful night? We always tried to do the best and it’s obviously painful, but it’s difficult to make out a serious analysis here in press conference. I tried to use experienced players, like Holden, Brown and Papaloukas, trying to keep balance between frontline and backcourt, but the matter is more general and it could be explained with pressure. My job was carrying this team to the Final Four. We did it three times and I think it’s a great job for whole CSKA. But now, the better teams are in final."
IVANOVIC, DUSKO
Tau Ceramica
“In last two years we loss four straight games against CSKA, and this record could help us to improve in facing them. We gained experience and defense, while Moscow missed a lot of free throws – a signal of pressure. In first half, my players showed we could play tonight and I find two keys: the Gabini’s entry in the game and our two playmakers down the stretch. We worked great in defense tonight, without losing concentration, but it’s not time to celebrate. We arrived here to win the title, not to win one game only. Our bench player? Every player of my team work during the week and is ready to play. Which book was I reading before the tip off? Milan Kundera’s Identity. The game waiting is a difficult moment, in which I use to leave the players alone in the locker room. So, instead to stay alone, staying with a book is better.”

Players

PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS
CSKA Moscow
"We didn't play good today. Tau played more organized and better. Now nobody cares about our almost perfect record. The history books will tell that the final will be Maccabi-Tau. The best two teams are in the final, I'm not looking for excuses. We missed too many free throws and we didn't play like we usually play."
PANOV, SERGEY
CSKA Moscow
"Tau won this game, they played harder, played faster and shot better. I think they were more aggressive in offense and defense. W had a couple of good minutes but this is not enough to win these games. Maybe pressure made us miss free throws but I don't know what happened. If I knew what it was, it would have not happened. They were more concentrated. The final is now 50-50."
MACIJAUSKAS, ARVYDAS
Tau Ceramica
"We were a dangerous team for the Final Four. We were so angry, because everybody said the final is Maccabi and CSKA. It's not that easy. We played really good the last two months, we practiced good, we made the good defense the coach wanted, great offense, and now we will be there. The bench was great today. Everybody who played went to the court and was ready to die on the court."
VIDAL, SERGI
Tau Ceramica
"We have to face the final game against Maccabi with the same confidence we had against CSKA. The team did a great work even when we were in foul trouble. This is just another step to make it to the final. We are happy, but like I said, this is just a step and now we are in the Final. I came out to thank our fans first before anything else. We have to thank them, they came all the way from Vitoria to support us."
BETTS, ANDY
Tau Ceramica
"We always believed in our chances to reach the final. We played concentrated all 40 minutes, with the right attitude. Everything went well for us today. All four teams in here are great ones, but everyone can beat anybody in a final. Maccabi is a good teams, full of good players like Parker, Jasikevicius or Baston. We won't celebrate this win, just dinner all together and that's it. We have to play the biggest game ever on Sunday. We have to be ready to give our best, and play the way we played tonight. They got too many offensive rebounds, but they played good defense, making them take tough shots and play the way the way they don't want to play. We have seen everything from Macijauskas, so that three-pointer he made doesn't surprise us. It is just one of the best shooters in Europe."
HANSEN, TRAVIS
Tau Ceramica
"This is the best team I've ever been on as far as guys getting along is concerned. Everybody's happy for one another. We got a great team where everybody can play and everybody can contribute. When you have everybody playing like that, we're hard to beat."
CALDERON, JOSE MANUEL
Tau Ceramica
"This is just what we expected, but it is just one step of the two we have take. We have to take it step by step. Of course, being able to beat the hosting team and then move on to lose the final would be unbelievable for us. We knew the game would come down to the final minutes, in which we have to finish our work and reach the final. We have been through this experience four times in the last two years and we learnt from it. We were able to stop Brown and Holden, even when he scored more than he was expected. The most important thing was staying calmed and that is what we did. There were a lot of Tau fans, but the team was focused in what was happening on court. They are unbelievable, they follow us everywhere and I cannot be thankful enough. Now we are in the final and we have to give out best to win. Maccabi is a very good team, but we have to be calmed. Anyone can beat anyone in a single game. Kornel (David) rebounded really well in the final period, but everyone who came off the bench: Roberto (Gabini), (Andrew) Betts... everyone."
SPLITTER, TIAGO
Tau Ceramica
"We played really well, we knew we had to prevent them from getting fast break points, then they took tough shots when it mattered. We stepped up big when we were in foul trouble, we managed to solve that problem. They didn't play their best game, but we can also play better. Actually, we will have to play better to beat Maccabi. We knew we were ahead in the final minutes and had more confidence from the free throw line. We have to be quiet, we have practice tomorrow and we have to plau the final on Sunday."
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