Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 22, 2013
bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge
Tel Aviv 2004
Qualifying Rounds 2012
NIKE International Junior Tournament
Head-to-Head matchups: Panathinaikos vs. Maccabi Electra
Panathinaikos vs. Maccabi Electra
Panathinaikos's tight, four-man guard rotation relies on MVP
, the Euroleague's top assist-maker among players headed to the playoffs. He also ranks second with 30 minutes per game. His usual co-starter,
, is proving to be a similarly tough defender and slasher. They lead an on-the-ball defense that has seen Panathinaikos force a league-high 15.5 turnovers. Off the bench come speedy
, merely the Euroleague's winningest active player, making his much-heralded return to Tel Aviv. Maccabi's strength-in-numbers backcourt features sharpshooting
and hard-driving scorer
leads Maccabi in assists and all playoffs players in steals-per-minute, just ahead of the guy he's likely to face, Logan. Meanwhile, the Euroleague's all-time assists and steals leader,
, leads a charge of experienced reserves like
and Guy Pnini who give Maccabi multiple backcourt options at any moment.
Panathinaikos is really deep at forward, keeping a high intensity at all times.
is a great defensive stopper with size, quickness and high basketball IQ.
also excels in defense but provides his physical game, deep range and high intensity.
went from a little-used option last season to become an essential player in the Greens' rotation due to his versatility and blue-collar mentality. Reliable veteran
and power forward
are tough defensive players with deep range. Speaking on three-point shots, none can be more deadly in crunch time than Maccabi's
, always ready to pull the trigger from downtown.
thrives in transition game, as he runs the floor like few big men in the competition.
has the tough mission to guard Sato and needs to use his scoring skills and experience on offense. Three-point bomber
can change any game with his outside shots, but his size and know-how will be very important for Maccabi, too.
Of course, stopping All-Euroleague center
will be one of the keys to this series. His unique combination of size, strength and mobility forced each opponent to double team him, generating more space for players like Eliyahu or Blu. He has also played alongside
, who comes off a great Top 16 and leads Maccabi in rebounds and blocks this season. Hendrix's post skills, mid-range shots and great intensity could be a problem for Panathinaikos. Of course, the Greens rely on All-Euroleague big man
to make the difference in the paint with his pick-and-roll game, mid-range shots and very valuable experience. Batiste has been Panathinaikos' scoring leader in the Top 16, showing that he steps up in big games.
provides post moves and size at center. Despite averaging less than 10 minutes per night, Vougioukas led his team in fouls drawn in the Top 16 - his 40-minute average would be an incredible 15.2. A former All-Euroleague center like
can offer quality minutes in this series.
is the winningest coach in European basketball history and taking his impressive achievements aside - 8 Euroleague titles, 12 Final Four appearances, 13th consecutive season with Panathinaikos, 22 titles with the Greens -, his influence in the continental game is just enormous - from the intensity his team displays to the way he uses rotations to play with energy or the way he prepares games to the smallest details along with assistant coach Dimitris Itoudis. His natural talent to read the games and finds small advantages in matchups make him a coaching genius.
has shown that his team can be competitive at any game rhythm. His alternative and matchup zone defenses have allowed his teams to dominate games. Blatt is a player's coach that usually makes the most out of the manpower he has. It is no surprise that Schortsanitis is playing his best basketball under Blatt, as many did before him. Despite their mutual respect, the coaching battle will be a very exciting one to follow closely in this series.
Monday, March 12, 2012
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