Defending my position

A very angry Zalgiris fan got upset fired up with my mean article which was with no intentions of offending anyone. As it appears, the comment was related to one of the most biting phrases from the post: “And yes, you can point at the fact that Zalgiris played with two big men and one of them, Mario Delas, was making his Euroleague debut (well done, Mario). It makes no difference, none at all.”
 
What even more stupid could you say? Let’s look at the statistics for the whole season. T.Watson and T. Klimavicius together accumulate by average 19 points, 13.8 reb. and 25.3 Rkg, not to mention the work at the defensive end and overall team strength in the post. Isn’t this a solid loss, especially when you’re forced to play without a real Power Forward (Delas is a power forward, but he’s forced to play as a Center since Begic is really not the toughest guy by the mean of factor called endurance…). What Zalgiris is left to do is to shoot a lot of outside shots. And when they don’t fall, it’s a big problem. When you have a strong number 4, there are several more possibilities – either a chance to grab an offensive board, a chance to play a good pick n’ roll, or even a simple pass to a guy such as Watson could lead to a two point shot ( even two points + an offensive board, doesn’t matter…). Will we see another failure? Could be. But everyone can see, that there’s a chance that home court and two hopefully fully healed players would help us to create one more miracle. And come on, is it so easy to beat a team which tried focusing their play on their front line with Varda, Burrell and Hrycaniuk and for every mistake when the attention is focused on these three monsters they’re punishing with 3-pointers with a miraculous 60% accuracy in comparison to their 27% average during the regular season. What would you expect? Would Rytas have been able to defeat Prokom while they were playing like this? In their dreams probably, and so there’s not even a smell of them in the Top16…
 
My position will not be left undefended, but you know what, I’m glad to receive comments of all type (even spam to some extent) rather than none at all. (:
 
I’m not saying that it wouldn’t have been better if Zalgiris big men would have played. But with guards playing as poorly as yesterdays – the outcome wouldn’t have been any different. You can’t claim that Klimavicius and Watson would have livened up the game, as they usually collect some garbage points after missed shots or once the D gets out of position, not good one on one. Despte the fact, that the Poles won the boards, it’s only because Zalgiris missed a lot of shots (a lot of which were unguarded). And Zalgiris actually got almost twice as much offensive rebounds – 15:8.
 
Begič played the first quarter fairly well, didn’t disappoint, but later his performance went only down – agreed. Only one board for the 220 cm player, but generally speaking, he didn’t play that bad. Delas played well indeed (14 ranking), his first decent game. I was surprised… And if he didn’t play as good as Watson, Klimavicius (average ranking of 7) was fully replaced. You could make the case that the situation had just got better compared to the game versus Fenerbahce, as only Watson was missing and Delas had a better game than Klimavicius usually does.
 
Now about the defense – do you truly think that Watson and Klimavicius are the cornerstones of Zalgiris defensive effort? Hell no. And Zalgiris didn’t have as much problems under the basket, as they did by the 3-point line. Zalgiris backcourt didn’t keep up with the players when they were defending man to man, and then later struggled to rotate quickly enough when they started using zone in the middle of the first quarter.One Lithuanian website called the Polish club’s players streetballers, but David Logan played with one move. A hesitation to the right and the always drove through the left. You can see that in the Euroleague highlights three times in the two-minute-long video.
 
About playing through Hrycaniuk, Burrell and Varda. The Pole shot the ball three times and scored four points… For Burrell, that’s what I wrote after one Butautas time out – “Butautas told not to close down Woods, Burrell and Varda. Don’t think this will work. Let’s see what happens”, on the next page: “Burrell not closed down. Hits a shot from near the free-thow line”, “Žalgiris doesn’t close in on Burrell again – mid-range bucket”. If I’m not mistaking he scored about half of his points this way. This is a tactical mistake and Watson wouldn’t have helped here as well (maybe Sherlock would?).
 
I found this by mistake actually, but Zamojski debuted in Euroleague against Zalgiris – 11 pts 3/3 from downtown, Seweryn had stepped on the court for two half-minute appearances before, but ended up with 8 points with 2/3 from the distance. Both played around 15 minutes each.
 
Two versions:
 
1) Prokom coach Pacesas, got the hang of Zalgiris defense and let his shooters out. The tactic works – all of their shots were unguarded. Logan drives to the rim, draws the defense to him, kicks it out. Bang, in the hole. 3 point shot. It would have been OK if this had been repeated a couple times only, but it was the way it was…
2) Pacesas didn’t care about the game, saw his team had a big advantage and let the locals for a run. Surprisingly, they nailed down 5/6 threes. Everything happens…
 
Choose the version you like more, I’d prefer to stick to the first one.
 
You used the word miracle. Here it is:
miracle – a marvellous event manifesting a supernatural act of a divine agent.
As there is no god, believe me, there isn’t, Zalgiris is kind of doomed… Or is it just me, who doesn’t get it? Why do you want to stick Rytas in right here? The greens screwed up by themselves in Poland.
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Defending my position

3 thoughts on “Defending my position

  1. Zamojski didn’t debut in that game. Last yr he played in 14 games av. 11 min. Since last season’ domestic Play-offs he had injury (ACL), and came back to the team in mid-Dec. It was just his first game in EL this season (and best overall).

    Seweryn – he was backup for Zamojski. He never played for any good teams. 3 yrs in a row he was trying to get into Prokom roster in offseason and he did it this yr. But he’s old (28) so not a prospect at all.

    Hrycaniuk – he’s starting to play in EL as he’s potential is, he could be a defensive monster (bit like Savrasenko some time ago). He had very good collage career at Cincinnati.

    Can you write something more ’bout Delas – he has looked yesterday like some next big thing.

    1. Thank you for the Polish update, some really interesting stuff. I’ll keep them under my watch. I promise to write something about Delas, with whom I was also very impressed after yesterday, once I return from a volleyball game that I’m about to head to.

      Should be up by the evening. Cheers!

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