By: Enrique Castellano / @baskethoopsnet
There were no surprises in first round, but it doesn’t mean that the games were boring. Every game was close and everybody had a chance to win. Something that we can see in every game was that if you want to win, you have to make threes. Barcelona and Unicaja scored 13 times outside the arc. Gran Canaria didn’t hit a three in the last quarter and Joventut did. Real Madrid broke the game open when their backourt started to score from deep.
F.C. Barcelona vs Valencia Basket
- Dubljevic wasn’t enough. He fought inside the paint, he scored from deep, but Aguilar, Loncar and Harangody didn’t do anything in the second half. He missed a three point shot to get even with Barcelona.
- Splash brothers: Abrines scored 16 points in only 10 minutes due to foul problems. Hezonja made a terrific buzzer beater to finish the second half and put 13 points on his scoreboard.
- Tomic keeps it simple. He seems soft and sometimes he disconnects from the game, but he is always a B+. He always creates good situations on Pick and Roll, has a great touch near the rim and can protect his own.
Unicaja vs Bilbao Basket
- Granger is looking for NBA spot. The Uruguayan point guard keep doing a great job. He led Unicaja in points and assists. Coach Plaza said at the press conference that even Granger doesn’t know where his ceiling is.
- Steffanson is Joan’s Plaza Don Draper. He didn’t play in first half, but he scored 7 points in the second half and made the difference when he was on court. He beat the clock twice (one three point shot, foul shots).
- Bilbao Rotation. They only played with eight players, but Hervelle didn’t scored and Andusic only made a two point shot. Raul Lopez and Latavious Williams did a great job.
Real Madrid vs CAI Zaragoza
- CAI win first half thanks to Norel. The dutch center was terrific in first half. Gustavo Ayón couldn’t stop him in Pick and Roll and he was more aggressive in rebound situations than Bourossis. When Felipe and Slaughter started to defend him, the game was over.
- Rudy is back. 16 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assist. He is playing at this high of a level for the first time since since the Barcelona game in Euroleague. When he started to score and defend, CAI couldn’t do anything. If he keeps this level he would be the man of the tournament.
Gran Canaria vs Joventut
- Savane destroyed Tavares. Taph did a great job on defense against someone eight inches taller. He did a great job in Pick and Roll situations with excellent footwork. He also made some 3-4 shots in the 4th quarter.
- Joventut P&R defense. Gran Canaria point guards couldn’t do anything (Bellas 1/8 and Oliver 4/12 in FG). In the first half, Granca almost made 8-10 time clock violations. Terrific job by Joventut frontcourt. Ventura also did an awesome job defending Kuric in blind screen situations.
- Aito’s Box-1. In fact, it wasn’t a box, but a diamond. Hannah and Mallet had trouble attacking this defense and Gran Canaria started at 9-0. Thanks to this defense, Gran Canaria came back, but they didn’t take advantage after that.
- Sergi Vidal & Mallet in clutch time. Vidal score 10 points in the 4th quarter and Mallet always hit a three when his team needed it.