Semifinal post-game quotes: Regal FC Barcelona vs. CSKA Moscow

May 01, 2009 by Print
Regal FC Barcelona
CSKA Moscow

XAVI PASCUAL, head coach
"Good evening. We said before the game that small details will make the difference in this game and that is exactly what happened. Their offensive rebounds and some fouls that we shouldn't have made, taking them to the foul line, some defensive details and above all, the many free throws that CSKA took compared to us. That allowed them to stay in the game, especially in the second quarter. In a very good, balanced game and with a 5-point lead, Siskauskas made the difference with back-to-back three-pointers. We had dominated the game until that moment, but CSKA won it. There was a key moment with 2 consecutive turnovers and CSKA had an inbounds basket in a situation with Smodis that we had talked about in practice. We also had big foul troubles in the second quarter when Juan Carlos Navarro and Roger Grimau picked up their third ones. That did not allow to carry on with our rotation. Moreover, we entered the foul bonus too early and that was a handicap for us. Siskauskas played an excellent game, carrying CSKA on his back. We made a mistake in a pick-and-roll played by Planinic with Khryapa. We did not switch, he ran to the basket and found Siskauskas wide open for a three-pointer. It was our mistake. Then he hit another three-pointer off a pick-and-roll that he played really well. He got into the game, hit another triple in front of Gianluca Basile and a big basket in the low post... he played a great fourth quarter. We wanted to use David Andersen a lot in our offensive game, we knew he had an advantage. We had a good game, offensively and defensively. On the other hand, we could say that Siskauskas was the only one to score fluently for CSKA and that is not true. A team plays together and someone scores more sometimes. Siskauskas and Andersen were the best scorers, but neither of them was alone."

"We played well for 30 minutes but lost the game on defense in the fourth quarter. We played really well in the first half, especially on defense. That allowed us to play fast-paced offense. We lost a bit of concentration in the third quarter and we were not aggressive from that moment. We didn't hit shots and our game tempo went down. Our five-on-five game was not good and CSKA took advantage of that. We are sad because of this loss but everyone gave 100 percent. We will try to be back here and win the title next season."

"We handled the game very well until they got the lead in the fourth quarter. When that happened, we did not manage to play the same way. Their offensive rebounds and some of our turnovers decided the game. We have to go for the only title we can win, the Spanish League, and bounce back as soon as possible. We were ahead for the best part of the game but made too many mistakes in the final minute that allowed them to win the game."

"Siskauskas made some big shots in the fourth quarter, but this is a team game. We didn't stop him, allowed too many offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and he took advantage of that. You have to give CSKA a lot of credit for coming back. It is a tough loss to swallow but this is basketball. We have another game to play here and then focus on the Spanish League to try to win the championship. Before that, we have to take care of the game on Sunday."

ETTORE MESSINA, head coach
"Good evening. We are very happy to have reached the Euroleague final for the fourth consecutive year. It is a big reward for the club, our players and our coaching staff. At the same time, I think we beat an excellent Barcelona that played excellent early in the game. They had a lot of weapons on the court for a long time, led by an excellent David Andersen, who played another great game in his career. The key was not to panic after a horrible start and we slowly managed to put the game in the halfcourt, like we knew we liked. At the same time, with 82 points scored, I think that if I am not wrong, we had more rebounds and a better three-point percentage. We thought those were the biggest keys to this game, especially, as these are their strongest weapons. We managed to control this and obviously made great plays, especially Siskauskas, in the second half. I would like to make it simple, this is what great players are for, you expect that they do something for you. I tried a small lineup in the fourth quarter, a decision I took during the game. I thought that we had to spread the offense to help Siskauskas to drive to the basket. I also thought that we needed Viktor Khryapa's quickness at power forward. Viktor was the key for us to win. He did a lot of things to make us win the game. At the same time, in the fourth quarter he rebounded very well. David scored only 2 points against him after being a problem for 34 or 35 minutes. We did not try anything new by using Sasha Kaun so early in the game. We did that in the Russian League and in both friendlies with Efes, and he responded well. The plan was to use him along with Erazem Lorbek together, using Lorbek at the four. Because of his two quick fouls, he had to play immediately and I think he responded pretty well. I took him out only he was very tired. I expected a very good game from Andersen, but also from Navarro and Lakovic. At the same time, we knew we had a size advantage against both of them. It was a problem for them to play defense on Langdon or Siskauskas. We prepared our team against a strong atmosphere. We were ready for the Greek fans to support Barcelona in case they would prefer them as a potential opponnent in the final. You never know what fans think. In the end, my players were not affected by it. I was afraid that my players would have a slow start because as you know, we have not played a strong game in April. We played two easy games in the Russian League and two exhibition games against Efes Pilsen. I knew we would have a very difficult start and that is what happened. After that horrible start, as time went by we were into the game. Even in timeouts it was very easy to communicate with players, so they were not affected by the crowd. They will be affected on Sunday, for sure."

"We were patient, despite getting behind by a lot early, against a great Barcelona team, with great shooters. We were patient and didn't panic, and even if our first half was not that nice, we came back and evened the score. IN the second half, we had more movement and focused on taking advantage of the great night of Siskauskas. He had a great MVP night, but he had a lot of help from other guys. I think this is one more time we managed to do what we had to by staying calm. All year long and all these four years, that is what we tell them. We started in Athens and in Prague before that being down 0-7, but we know it's a basketball game, and the worst that can happen is you lose. On one side, we managed to stop on defense by using the quickness of Khryapa at the four position at the same time that on offense Siskauskas gave us an incredible lift.”

"Our plan was no matter what to stay concentrated all 40 minutes. We knew that it was possible to go down in the score, but our plan was to keep going, keep playing. We did that and I'm happy that in the fourth quarter, we made some great defensive and offensive plays and we won the game. But it was so difficult. I just took the shots. There were opportunities. If you are open and feel you can take the shot, you take it because there can be no more chances. I tried to do that and am happy I made them. We came back in the fourth quarter, tied the score, went ahead and felt our confidence then. It was a nervous game, but we won. It would be great to repeat, but we have one more game still."

"We have a lot of weapons. Some players can hit crazy shots, some can play better defense, some are better around the basket. Each one of us bring his game and when we stick together and play as a team it's very hard to beat us. In the last quarter we stepped up, but what won us the game is that at every point we kept playing hard and as a team, never lost our confidence and stayed focused on our targets. Which Greek team I prefer in the finals? Panellinios. But that's not an option so I don't think about it. Both teams are very tough and competitive. For us it makes no difference. I'm sure the finals will be a great game because two great teams will play it."

"Why did we win? We have Siskauskas. He really played a great game, but tonight it was a great game of CSKA as a team. Every player that went on court brought something and together it created a winning team. I'm very happy to go to the finals again, especially since it's my first time with CSKA Moscow."

"It was a very tough game. We didn't start well and allowed them to take a 10-point lead but we kept playing our game the whole time and eventually it worked out. They played better the first three quarters, but we did a great job in the last period and won the game. Barcelona hit some crazy shots and buzzer-beaters but we played tougher. I tried to help in what I can and I'm happy it was enough for the win. The second semifinals is going to be a great game, and whoever makes the finals will make a great match for the fans and everybody. Any opponent we'll face be tough to handle but we can beat any team as well."

SASHA KAUN, center
“Lorbek picked up 2 early foals, so the coach put me in. I just tried to stay focused and help my team. My dunk was an exciting play. Viktor made a great pass and dunking is one of the things I do best. The team didn’t need me in the second half and I was happy to support us from the bench. Now we are going to go back to the hotel and start getting ready for the final.”