Ettore Messina knows a thing or two about coaching, having won four Euroleague titles. He took a couple minutes with heinnews’s David Hein to break down the tactics of the 2011 Euroleague Final between Panathinaikos and Maccabi Tel Aviv – won by Panathinaikos 78-70.
“I think the final was much better than the other two games. The first two games the teams were very uptight. It always happens in the Final Four. Usually the players, I don’t know why, feel more relaxed in the final. They play better and more loose.
“It was interesting because both teams in the end decided to play a lot of matchup zone or switching defense man-to-man, which basically let the offensive team play with a wall in the front. At that point the resource was either penetrate and pass – and Panathinaikos was a little bit better at that and got better shots. Panathinaikos waited for the second and many times even the third penetration. Maccabi was a little bit more rushing and trying with the first player who was penetrating to finish and not waiting for the second pass.
“And the other thing in the second half it was crucial that Panathinaikos hit the low men in the paint off a mismatch right from the top of the key and not from the wing. So it was not possible to come with any weak side help. And that is how Batiste scored three, four times.
“The third thing I think Coach Obradovic was very smart as always because from minute 25 until the end of the game he only used seven players compared to the longer rotation he had before. So, he played with a tired team but he played with one substitution for the big – Tsartaris – and one substitution for the smalls in Calathes. All of the others sat out and he left the veterans on the court and that paid off.”