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Блог Этторе Мессины о баскетболе

Теги Этторе Мессина Евробаскет-2007 сборная России

Looking back at Eurobasket

The championship title of Russia was a major surprise. Especially taking into consideration the tough preseason they had. They proved themselves a true team. All credit should go to David Blatt, his staff and his players. They perfectly embraced the role of underdog in the final. They managed to slow the game down and smartly used the match up zone defense.

Spanish offense got completely messed up. The players of Spain were not sure whether to shoot 3, pass or penetrate, and when to do it. As they were unsure and couldn’t run offense smoothly, they got nervous. This resulted in a low number of assists for Spain.

The winning shot of JR reflects his ability to take huge responsibility. He attempted this shot after missing 4 straight beforehand. It tells us a lot about JR and his incredible leadership qualities. The contribution of all Russian players who came out of the bench during this Eurobasket was amazing. Especially, Zakhar and Nikita Morgunov were very consistent.

Greek national team, alongside with France and Serbia, became one of the biggest disappointments. Of course, Greeks qualified for a Pre-Olympic tournament, but everybody expected much more out of these teams. They lost the flow that was their trademark at Eurobasket in Belgrad and World Champioship in Japan. They struggled a lot, in spite of having many good players both on court and bench. It looked like every player of Greek team needs a ball of his own to play well.

Greeks were greatly affected by Fotsis injury. It turned out that he was the key player that tied this team together. Without Fotsis, his passing ability and versatility, there were two Greek teams — the one comprising all guards and the other comprising all big men. Kakiouzis tried but couldn’t fill in adequately for Fotsis. As well as Tsartsaris who is a totally different kind of player.

Lithuania was a great pleasure to watch. They remained one of the strongest contenders as long as Jasikevicius was healthy and ignited the team. After his injury the quality of the game decreased. Nevertheless they lost only one game, to Russia in the semifinal. I’m happy CSKA fans had a chance to see Siskauskas in action. He came up with a series of great games and was the only guy playing in Europe to be elected in the Eurobasket All-Star team. We all hope he will play the same way for CSKA.

Spain had a great tournament. Everybody is saying now that the main ingredient they lacked in the final is the ability to play under pressure once the game got close. That’s true. But there is another explanation. They played under the exact same pressure against Greece and managed to win in a very close game. I think their true final, their most important game of the tournament, was the semifinal against Greece. Greeks were determined to take revenge for the last year final of the World championship.

In the final, Spain got an early lead by 15 points. You have to be extremely smart and patient to win the final in this situation. What happened to Spain reminds me my last Euroleague final with Kinder in 2002. We’ve also got an early lead in the first half, but Panathinaikos lead by Bodiroga played extremely patient and, eventually, won the game. Anyway, it doesn’t diminish the achievement of Russian team, its enormous breakthrough.

As for players, let me bring an interesting fact to your notice. It takes supreme athletic abilities to be a star in NBA. On the other hand, it takes a profound understanding of the game and great fundamentals to perform well in European competitions. European stars coming from NBA once again proved themselves as most versatile and complete players in the world. I think these are the players that have the best chance to face and react adequately in a whole variety of difficult situations, both in NBA and international competition. The quality their American counterparts lack sometimes.

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