View from the bench: Playoffs, Game 3

Mar 30, 2012 by Aito Garcia Reneses - Barcelona, Spain Print
Aito Garcia RenesesWorld-renowned as a master teacher of basketball, Aito Garcia Reneses holds a place as one of the most prestigious coaches in Europe. He won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympics to go with a ULEB Cup, two Korac Cups, nine Spanish Leagues and five Spanish Cup titles, just to name a few of his accomplishments in almost four decades on the benches of basketball powers like FC Barcelona, Joventut Badalona and Unicaja. Aito, as everyone in European basketball knows him, is also a regular contributor to the Mastermind Coaching Seminars of the Euroleague Basketball Institute. He joins to give his coachs point of view and analysis on Turkish Airlines Euroleague games.

Olympiacos took the lead in the series after showing greater ambition than Montepaschi Siena in this game, and has the chance to make the Final Four with a new win tonight in Piraeus. If that becomes the case, Olympiacos will have overcome the homecourt advantage that Siena earned in the Top 16.

We just need to take a quick look to the stats of the first half to see that the spirit of the Greek team was stronger than the Italian one. Both teams had rather bad shootnig percentages, a little above 30%, but while Olympiacos grabbed 9 offensive rebounds, Montepaschi had only 2.

The team of coach Simone Pianigiani started by dominating with good defense, against which Olympiacos kept getting blocked. Also, Siena was flowing on offense, as we can see in Clip 1, where Bo McCalebb scores an open three-pointer after using two straight screens from the big men with no Olympiacos players helping on defense. At first glance, we could consider that a defensive mistake, but after seeing the whole game, I think the Olympiacos strategy was to allow Siena to shoot from the long range while trying to avoid allowing penetrations.

The biggest advantage of Siena comes when Shaun Stonerook hits a three (Clip 2) after Bootsy Thornton passes to David Andersen, who rotates the ball well when seeing that Pero Antic had gone for the double-team in the low post.

This is where the Siena's offensive dangerousness vanished, however. The visitors kept on defending well, as we can see in Clip 3, as we see Olympiacos, after three penetrations with ball circulation, gets stopped by Siena as David Moss manages to steal the ball on a pass from Vassilis Spanoulis to an outside player.

However, Siena's offense was soon limited to one-on-one plays, with the rest of the players static on court and nobody going for the offensive rebounds after misses.

It was in this way that Olympiacos started building a lead despite its bad shooting percentages, because it was getting extra chances to score thanks to offensive rebounds.

We can see in Clip 4 how Antic scores, stepping on the three-point line, with an assist from Acie Law, who had split a double-team defense by Ksistof Lavrinovic, which provoked a long help from Marco Carraretto from the opposite side, leaving Antic wide open.

To make a long story short, Montepaschi Siena reached the halftime break with only 21 points.

In the third quarter, there was only one team, and that was head coach Dusan Ivkovic's. Spanoulis didn't stop dishing assists that his teammates, after many mistakes, ended up converting as we can see in Clips 5 and 6.

In the first one, Spanoulis penetrates from the base line after Richard Dorsey's screen and overcomes Lavrinovic. Again, the long help from the other Siena players, Evangelos Mantzaris is left open for the three-pointer on the pass by Spanoulis.

In the second one, after a pick-and-roll with Dorsey, there are a few interesting ball moves by Spanoulis: he starts with a fake to the right so that then he can take the pick on the left and then moves back to the center, managing to attract all defenders to him. Then he moves the ball outside to Kostas Papanikolaou who feeds Mantzaris again. The latter makes a beautiful drive that catches McCalebb off-guard.

During this third quarter, the leads for Olympiacos were always around 20 points and in the last period reached almost 30 points. It was trimmed back down to 20, but Montepaschi never transmitted the feeling of being a threat to the Reds. Maybe Siena was already thinking about Game 4. From the last quarter, I will highlight a fastbreak (Clip 7) in which Papanikolaou shines, as there we not many other interesting things due to the conservative zone defense of Siena.

Videos by Manuel Hurtado