Road to playoffs: key facts - Gescrap BB

Mar 07, 2012 by Print
Raul Lopez - Gescrap BBBilbao BasketKey win: Gescrap won all of its key games until now, but none was more important than its regular season Week 10 triumph against regional rival Caja Laboral. In what became a do-or-die game for both teams, Gescrap beat Laboral 77-72 in front of a sellout crowd of over 10,000 fans. Marko Banic led the winners with 18 points. Free throws by Kostas Vasiliadis and Janis Blums allowed Gescrap to seal the win in the final seconds and start the celebrations across the city of Bilbao.

Key stat: Despite leading the 2011-12 Euroleague in turnovers, Gescrap has relied on excellent shot selection and accuracy to get to the playoffs. Gescrap leads all playoff teams in free throw accuracy (232 of 287; 80.8%) and is second in two-point shooting (339 of 614; 55.2%). Gescrap will need to improve its three-point shooting percentage in the playoffs (101 of 301; 33.6%), which dipped to 29.2% in the Top 16.

Key play: Raul Lopez's game-winner against Montepaschi. With Gescrap down 58-59 and 6.4 seconds to play, Lopez grabbed the inbound pass, dribbled right, shook off defender Shaun Stonerook with a great fake and took the fade-away jumper in time to beat the buzzer. Nothing but net. That win allowed Gescrap to keep dreaming for a playoffs spot that the team managed to claim a week later with a road triumph against Unicaja in which Lopez was equally important.

Key contributor: Despite Lopez's late heroics, Kostas Vasiliadis has been instrumental to Gescrap's success until now. Due to Janis Blums's injury, Vasiliadis saw extended playing time in the Top 16 and accordingly boosted his numbers to 12 points on 41.2% shooting from downtown. He had a season-high 21 points in Gescrap's pivotal road win against Laboral midway through the regular season and scored 19 in his team's Top 16 home wins against Unicaja and Real Madrid.

Key intangible: They call it the "Miribilla effect" in Bilbao. The basketball atmosphere at Bilbao Arena is simply outstanding, with sellouts of over 10,000 fans ready to cheer, shout and sing to take Gescrap to bigger heights. With its own trademark songs, watching a Euroleague game in Bilbao has become a great basketball experience and for all Gescrap fans, seeing their team facing CSKA in the playoffs is like a dream-come-true - and a chance to prove their loyalty to their team.