By: Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
With only hours until the tip in Game Four (10 PM, Argentina time) of the Liga Nacional Finals, here are six guys whose performances tonight will matter most. Up 3-0, Regatas could end it on Lanus’ floor in sweeping fashion; or, Lanus could live to see Game Five.
Here’s Diego Brunetti helping out ELA with some Argentine analysis, and here’s our full coverage of a 78-76 Game Three if you’re interested. Impact players after the jump.
5. Jerome Meyinsse, Regatas: This guy is a set of better hands and a go-to move away from being a very intriguing prospect to European teams with eyes down here, and he already knows how to impact a game simply by running the floor and challenging every shot. But he had trouble guarding Fernando Martina without fouling in the last affair, and Martina ended the night with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Lanus’ bigs are known for their no-bullshit approach under both rims, and Meyinsse should be credited with keeping his cool after hard fouls or extra bumps after the whistle. He’ll need to use those calm nerves tonight while defending Martina: dig in, settle down, and don’t slap.
4. Adrián Boccia, Lanus: After gracefully dancing into the lane and flicking in a sexy little floater in the first, Lanus’ leading scorer (13.2 ppg) didn’t register a single point. Five misses from inside the arc, one from outside and he couldn’t even draw a trip to the free throw line. And Lanus lost by two points. Two. Things could have been different if the 30-year-old small forward had continued to attack the center of Regatas’ defense. He’ll need to if Lanus wants to survive tonight.
3. Federico Kammerichs and Nicolás Romano, Regatas: Lanus has shown us that they’re concertedly devoted to clogging the paint against Regatas at all costs. Control the lane, control the game. Makes sense, but the theory falls if the opposition can attack neglected areas on the floor. In many cases this series for Regatas, that area has been a couple feet beyond the free throw line, and there to receive that pass has been Kammerichs or Romano. When Regatas was playing their best ball in the last game, those two were throwing inside to open posters or cutters. If they really wanted to force Lanus’ hand, they would hit down that open jumper with a little more consistency. At their collective best they’re beastly: Kammerichs’ unbelievable impact with his length and brains on defense; Romano’s physicality and ability to drive and draw crowds on offense. It’s fun to watch when they’re on. It won’t be for Lanus.
2. Nicolas Laprovítola, Lanus: Offensively, this guy’s got everything you look for in a point guard: a picture perfect stroke, absolute command of the offense and a deft passing hand. The added bonus is that he can defend the opposition for 94 feet if asked to, as he showed against Javier Martínez during Game Three’s second half. But the risk you run there is tiring out a guy who played 33 minutes to begin with, and whose legs admittedly looked rubbery as his shots looked flat and often fell short. Laprovitola was just 3-of-10 from two and 1-0f-5 from deep, a significant departure for the 23-year-old who made 40 percent of his threes this season. I can’t say anything about his defensive effort or his poise; I only hope he can make a few more shots.
1. Paolo Quinteros, Regatas: So Fernando Martina and Carlos Schattman come in averaging 8.6 points per playoff game, collectively, yet they left Game Four with 21 apiece. How’d they do this? It doesn’t matter, because it meant nothing. The MVP saw to that. And if Paolo wants to score 29 on 16 shots again tonight, it really won’t matter with these other four (five) guys do, will it?
Prediction: Quinteros simmers, but doesn’t reach a rolling boil again. Laprovitola bounces back and Boccia comes out more aggressive. Lanus wins one for the home fans (70-66) but awaits a cruel fate in Corrientes.