By: Sam Meyerkopf / @HoopLikeDrazen
For the next few days ELA is stationed in Oostende, Belgium for the Euroleague Qualifying Round. Check back everyday for notes on the action going on as teams from across Europe fight for that last precious Euroleague spot.
Game One: ASVEL Lyon 74 – Strasbourg 65
Game Two: Unics Kazan 82 – Hapoel Jerusalem 71
Unics’ Second Half
After so much one on one play through a game and a half, Unics finally came out in the second half versus Jerusalem and played some real offensive basketball. With a lineup of Nikos Zisis – Keith Langford – James White – Kostas Kaimakoglou – D’or Fischer the Russian team moved the ball around, got warm from deep, and played a much more engaged and team oriented brand of basketball.
Jerrells the Dribble King
Curtis Jerrells was an over-dribbling and one on one shooting machine in the first half, similar to the day before. He just tried to break his man off the dribble seemingly every time down and then would pass out of necessity if that didn’t work. When you’ve got a bunch of talented players making a lot of money like Unics’ does, you can’t expect them all to be fully engaged when Jerrells is trying to take over the game himself and they rarely touch the ball. That lineup to start the second half shared the rock and everyone was involved on offense, which made the team energy level go up, and the focus on defense tightened.
D’or Fischer is a mid-range assain. He has a high shot release and it’s really hard to get a hand up there to contest once he gets rolling. Finally with Zisis running the point he got more involved and went 8/9 for the game for 18 points and hit short corner jumper after jumper. His intensity level on defense and hustling to get back on defense were much more noticeable once Fischer started getting touches on offense. You can’t expect all 6’10” and 240 lbs of Fischer to get up and down the court quickly if it’s to watch one of his guards dribble around forever and put up a tough contested shot. Big man needs to eat and they finally fed him in the second half.
James White’s Strange Attitude
James White has quite the on-court attitude. Every referee call against Unics seemed like someone told him his birthday would be canceled this year. He was even jabbering with some of his teammates. He always looked angry and almost disappointed in a way. He already doesn’t play with the activity level they need from the wing position and an attitude like that can catch up to a team as the season goes on. Unics looks good when they are winning but still can’t be sure how they team will do when they face adversity.
No Russians played much for Unics. Sergey Bykov Petr Gubanov, and Dmitry Sokolov all played just three minutes each. Smart shooting role player Valeriy Likhodey didn’t play at all. I don’t know how this will affect team chemistry but a team where none of the locals play could cause problems in the locker room or even on the court and Coach Pedaloukis needs to figure out which Russians can fit into his rotation.
Asvel Out-Shoots Strasbourg
In the all-French battle Asvel took down Strasbourg with a great shooting fourth quarter. Asvel has a ton of individual offensive talent and while they don’t really play well together or as a team yet, they get by on everyone’s ability to shoot.
Taurean Green had four triples while Travis Bader and David Lighty each had three. David Anderson and Edwin Jackson are also both serious threats from deep. Asvel relies heavily on their three point shooting and fast breaking ability. They don’t run a lot of half court offense but rely on their players to get out in transition and work the ball around the perimeter enough in the half-court until someone finds an open shot.