After his team's nerve-jangling 80-77 victory over Khimki Moscow Region on Friday night, which was only secured when visiting center Greg Monroe missed a three-point attempt to force overtime on the final buzzer, FC Bayern Munich coach Andrea Trinchieri was a man of mixed emotions.
Despite the victory, the charismatic Italian was clearly unhappy with some aspects of his team's performance, labelling Bayern's pick-and-roll defense as "horrible" and expressing his frustration that Khimki scored at will during long periods of the contest.
But you would think that one player, at least, was able to evade his coach's criticism. Paul Zipser continued his excellent run of form with a strong all-round game, recording a performance index rating of 22 – his best this season and the third-best of his 58-game EuroLeague career – with a more than solid all-round showing of 18 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocked shots.
The 26 year-old is very much a man in form, having scored in double-digits in four of Bayern's last five games during which period he has an average PIR of 17.2. So despite his clear frustrations with certain aspects of his team's display on Friday, surely Trinchieri would at least be effusive in his praise of Zipser…right?
"Pauli is driving me crazy," stated Trinchieri when he was asked to herald Zipser's performance in the post-game press conference. "He's able to awaken my killer instinct. He's the player who is able to make me go from zero to one million Fahrenheit in my head quicker than anybody else. So he has this great, great power."
Trinchieri did not elaborate in more detail about exactly why he feels so strongly about the forward, but as he had just spoken for a couple of minutes about the importance of making good decisions and getting the small details right, it was possible to have an educated guess. And the Bayern coach further strengthened the idea that he feels a mixture of pride and frustration at Zipser's performances by adding: "I don't want to end my career killing him, because I really, really like him. But he can do better. I'm sure he can do better."
All of this was said in a light-hearted fashion, with the smile on Trinchieri's face making it obvious that his tongue was firmly in his cheek, and that he genuinely places a high value on in-form Zipser's talents.
And the undertones of a coach attempting to motivate his player to give even more of himself and unleash his full potential were confirmed when Trinchieri added: "He knows, because he told me, that at the end of the day he's going to have a big opportunity."
The way Bayern's season is going so far, Zipser and Trinchieri's window of opportunity together could take them both a very long way.