Tonight: Which Euroleague teams will be bounced to end their 2010-11 bid? And which will force a game five? A few bits, bites and videos’ worth of notes on tonight’s games below the break from BallinEurope via a buncha other sources – many of which are not actually named “YouTube.” Plus, of course, those patented Official BiE Fearless Predictions™. Enjoy!
• In Maccabi land, the locus of chatter may be summed up in two words: Doron. Perkins. And the key question appears to be: Can David Blu possibly shoulder the load for the injured Perkins?
• After suffering the worst loss ever recorded in the six years of the best-of-five Euroleague playoff format, Montepaschi Siena only came back to crush Olympiacos in Greece and hand the Reds a 17-point defeat, the worst loss the Greek side has taken in two seasons.
How has Siena taken two straight now? According to Nikos Zisis, he and his teammates simply “changed faces.” Well, that and harassing the holy hell out of Theo Papaloukas and Vassilis Spanoulis, who were responsible for 17 turnovers combined in games two and three.
• Zeljko Obradovic really wants his Panathinaikos side to close out FC Barcelona tonight; at the English-language version of Ekathimerini, Obradovic declares that “We will think there might be a fifth game at our peril.” Something got a bit tweaked in translation between two to three languages, but BiE believes PAO doesn’t want to go back to Spain for a decisive game five.
• Incidentally, if the Greek side actually manages to upend the Blaugrana tonight or in game five, they would become only the second team to have beaten Barça more than twice in a season in the past three years; in 2009-10, Baskonia won three straight over Barcelona to take the ACB title.
• Worth another look: The sick, off-the-bench performances of Euroleague Playoffs games three co-MVPs Marko Jaric and D’Or Fischer.
• And here’s the big league’s official interview with Jaric:
• Says Real Madrid coach Emanuele Molin at Marca.com: Game four of Real-Power Electronics Valencia will be won by the players, not the coaches. Molin added a positively Popovichian sentiment in that Real should play and win the way as in the second half of game three, namely with “strength and humility” (“intensidad y humildad”).
• A serious Juan Carlos Navarro spoke with the media yesterday, explaining that “The feeling (among the team) is that we can improve things that we can control ourselves, such as rebounding and free-throw shooting.” (Panathinaikos outrebounded Barcelona, 38-30, and the Spanish club shot just 61.1% on 11-of-18 shooting from the ‘stripe.) He also addresses the controversial three-quarter defensive foul call and subsequent, possibly final score-changing, technical called on a protesting Navarro.
• What’s that? You want something on Ricky Rubio? Okay, so, the young ‘un, with reference to the posted below, demands online a little respect from the referees for Barcelona. And here’s how his complaints played on Spanish TV.
• Incidentally, Dimitris Diamantidis has torched Rubio and the Barça backcourt with 61 points in the first three games, good for a playoff-best 20.3-point average. Though how about Rubio’s ridiculous performance in game three? Sixteen points, including 4-of-5 on 3s on the same day BiE called him out for poor long-distance shooting in Euroleague games, four boards, three steals … who else believes?
• Finally, some Official BiE Fearless Predictions™: Maccabi bounces Baskonia convincingly; Valencia (BiE’s still not ready to get off this horse) and Olympiacos both survive to play another day in close ones; and FC Barcelona shrugs off game three to beat PAO.