Thursday, June 10, 2010

ACB Finals Preview: Barcelona vs. Caja Laboral

The best-of-five series to determine the best team in Spain begins on Thursday in Barcelona (2:30 est). You can watch each game on live or on replay. After taking home the Euroleague title a month ago, Barca would like to add a Spanish League finals trophy to their display case and put the finishing touches on one of the most dominating seasons in professional basketball history.

Tiago Splitter and his Caja Laboral teammates are major underdogs in this series and even winning a game would be a chore. Barca is just a level above every team in Europe. We've broken down Barcelona multiple times this year (here, here, here, here) so no reason to say much more. Basically, they're real good. Hard to identify any weaknesses with this squad.

Barca is currently 36-3 overall in the ACB with a whopping +16 ppg point differential. Since their last loss to Lagun Aro GBC (only double-digit loss all season), Barca is 9-0 in ACB action. winning every game by at least 10. Barca finished their Euroleague campaign with a 20-2 record and 14.6 ppg scoring margin. Simply, one of the best teams ever in Europe. If Caja wins this series, it would be a stunning upset.

Barca had a fairly easy time beating Unicaja 3-0 in the semis after sweeping Gran Canaria in the quarters. Barca has won each of their five playoff games by at least double-digits. Juan Navarro has led the way with Pete Mickeal, Erazem Lorbek and Terrence Morris also playing strong ball in the playoffs.

Caja Laboral is coming off a very competitive semifinal series where they knocked off a deeper Real Madrid team 3-2. Caja's defense was solid vs. Real, often forcing them to shots late in the shot clock and consistently challenging shots. Splitter was excellent throughout the series on both ends of the floor and his post-season play has solidified his status as the best all-around big outside the NBA.

Caja's main objective is to feed the ball to Tiago. Splitter will often peel-n-seal into post-ups off of rolls or cuts. Tiago is adept at finishing off of rolls as well. His righty hook has been effective this season and Tiago can finish with his left hand as well.

Good footwork gets him quality looks around the bucket. His touch can be dodgy but it seems to be more hit than miss these days. Sometimes his post-up attempts look fluid, other times his scoring attempts look ragged--kinda like Dwight Howard. His shooting stroke is still not easy on the eyes and his touch remains his main flaw. His shot comes off flat which is a factor in below-average free throw shooting.

We have mentioned Splitter's strong passing skills before but we feel it necessary to reiterate what a terrific passer he has become. Not to mention, Tiago can make passes off the move and delivers the ball quickly when he sees an open teammate.

His lateral movement on the defensive end is as good as any big in the NBA. Does a nice job defending pick/roll and does a good job when switched onto guards. Not to mention, he runs the floor hard.

Barca will try to focus their defensive gameplan on limiting Splitter. Intriguing matchup between Splitter and Lorbek, two of finest centers outside the NBA. Boniface NDong and Fran Vazquez could see some time checking Tiago, and sure the superb help defense of Barca will shifted in his direction.

Caja Laboral has the good fortune of having one of the best the four-spreaders (stretch-4) in Europe--Mirza Teletovic--next to Tiago on the frontline. The 6-9 Bosnian (a possible NBA prospect) has sharpshooting skills to keep Barca's help honest.

Lefty shooting guard Brad Oleson can knock down jumpers and hit big shots vs. Real. Caja will look to free Oleson and Teletovic off of screens when they want to take the focus off of Splitter.

PG Marcelino Huertas is a pesky on-ball defender whose ball pressure was effective vs. Real. Will be interesting to see if he can disrupt Rubio's rhythm in the finals. SF Fernando San Emeterio is crafty finding his way to the hoop and will take some of the playmaking burden off of Huertas on occasion.

Carl English gives Caja some scoring pop off the bench but could be limited as he's trying to work his way back from a rib injury. Walter Herrmann and Lior Eliyahu (Rockets hold rights) provide Caja with two active combo forwards off the bench. Caja could really use Stanko Barac (Pacers property) to help Splitter upfront in this series. Stanko gave Barca problems in the regular season but won't go in the finals because of injury.

We're picking Barcelona in 3. It's not like Caja is a mediocre team, they're actually quite impressive. It's just Barcelona is nearly flawless, one of the best units Europe has ever seen.


At 3:42 PM, Blogger Simeon K said...

Well..guess your prediction's not coming true.

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Thó said...

As a long-time Splitter fan, I am very happy to see you miss your prediction on a very unexpected game 1 win. An interesting story is Huertas checking his former teammate Rubio. Huertas was in a way forced to leave DKV Joventut as the preference to give playing time to Rubio so that he could develop his game was actually hurting Huertas chances to develop his own game.

At 4:24 AM, Anonymous boris said...

One thing about the ACB finals is that they make you appreciate the NBA officiating. I do wonder whether part of the coaching might involve, "If a black American gets inside rebounding position on you, just fall down and see if you get the foul."

Rubio is showing some of his weaknesses with shooting and TO's but mostly it looks to me that Barcelona are being out-coached. I don't know the pedigree of either coach so would be interested to hear other thoughts on that.

At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

teds woodworking , woodworking plans

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Coach Factory said...

kate spade outlet, ray ban sunglasses, michael kors outlet, kate spade handbags, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin shoes, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet stores, jordan shoes, coach factory outlet, longchamp handbags, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany and co, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses, coach outlet store online, true religion jeans, air max, louis vuitton handbags, chanel handbags, coach outlet, burberry outlet, oakley sunglasses cheap, air max, michael kors outlet, nike free, michael kors outlet, tory burch outlet, louboutin, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, christian louboutin shoes, louboutin outlet, true religion outlet, coach purses, longchamp handbags, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, burberry outlet, nike shoes, true religion jeans, prada handbags, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton outlet, longchamp outlet, polo ralph lauren outlet

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Coach Factory said...

mont blanc, insanity workout, ugg boots, valentino shoes, ugg boots, beats by dre, moncler, baseball bats, rolex watches, ugg pas cher, new balance shoes, chi flat iron, instyler, canada goose, marc jacobs, soccer jerseys, ugg australia, soccer shoes, herve leger, canada goose outlet, celine handbags, air max, uggs outlet, ghd, canada goose, ugg, hollister clothing store, moncler outlet, mcm handbags, lululemon outlet, moncler, ferragamo shoes, canada goose, timberland boots, north face outlet, bottega veneta, birkin bag, north face jackets, iphone 6 cases, jimmy choo outlet, asics running shoes, giuseppe zanotti, wedding dresses, moncler, nfl jerseys, canada goose uk, reebok outlet, babyliss pro, p90x, canada goose jackets

At 5:59 PM, Blogger Coach Factory said...

hollister, nike trainers, sac louis vuitton, sac burberry, barbour, sac louis vuitton, sac hermes, nike air max, converse pas cher, nike tn, ray ban pas cher, polo lacoste, hogan outlet, nike roshe, abercrombie and fitch, longchamp, ray ban sunglasses, mulberry, sac guess, vanessa bruno, nike huarache, michael kors pas cher, air force, polo ralph lauren, air max, nike free, nike roshe run, michael kors, hollister, nike blazer, nike free pas cher, nike roshe run, timberland, lululemon, longchamp, louis vuitton, michael kors, hollister, ralph lauren, vans shoes, vans pas cher, louboutin, abercrombie and fitch, sac longchamp, new balance pas cher, mac cosmetics, north face, louis vuitton uk, oakley pas cher, north face

At 1:37 AM, Blogger cai huanglin said...

oakley sunglasses
gucci outlet
ray ban watyfarer
cheap jerseys
coach outlet
michael kors outlet
coach factory online
michael kors outlet
air max 95
michael kors outlet online sale
lv outlet
marc jacobs outlet
tods outlet
toms outlet
coach outlet store online
true religion
cheap ray bans
coco chanel
michael kors handbags
coach outlet store online
coach factory online
louis vuitton outlet
timberland pro
gucci outlet online
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet online
gucci uk
louis vuitton outlet
hollister clothing
jordan 4 toro
jordan concords
christian louboutin outlet
discount christian louboutin
cheap jordans
abercrombie & fitch new york
nike outlet
hollister clothing
kd shoes

At 11:57 PM, Blogger Shijun Lin said...

shijun 4.7 5
jordan shoes
insanity workout
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet online
michael kors outlet
cheap oakleys
jordan shoes
michael kors handbags
chanel bags
kobe 8
coach factory outlet
michael kors uk sale
concord 11
burberry handbags
hollister outlet
gucci bags
michael kors handbags
chanel purses
tory burch outlet
tods sale
abercrombie outlet
michael kors outlet online
jordan 3 retro
abercrombie outlet
air max 95
michael kors outlet
gucci outlet online
michael kors
jordan 13 retro
oakley outlet
michael kors outlet
the north face
celine bags
coach factorty outlet
ray ban clubmaster
timberland outlet
gucci outlet
soccer jerseys

At 5:12 PM, Blogger sfsd said...

Ralph Lauren Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet Canada
Michael Kors Handbags Outlet
North Face Outlet
MCM Backpack Outlet
MCM Backpack
UGG Boot Clearance
Oakley Sunglasses Outlet
Converse Outlet Online
Tommy Hilfiger Outlet
Abercrombie and Fitch
Longchamp Outlet
Michael Kors Outlet

At 12:11 PM, Blogger شركة ثراء الخليج said...

افضل الخدمات المنزلية التى تقدمها شركة ثراء الخليج للخدمات المنزلية حيث لدينا افضل كشف تسربات المياه بجدة التى تقوم بافضل خدمات التنظيف الى جانب افضل خدمات مكافحة الحشرات لما لدينا من افضل شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بابها التى تقوم بافضل المبيدات الحشرية الى جانب افضل خدمات نقل الاثاث لما لدينا من شركة تنظيف بابها التى تقوم بافضل خدمات كشف تسربات المياه لما لدينا من شركة نقل عفش بابها التى تقوم بافضل فحص كامل وشامل للمياه المسربة.

At 12:47 AM, Blogger Mie Helal said...

I truly feel this site needs far more attention

At 2:54 AM, Anonymous Agen Judi Online Terpercaya said...

You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.

At 11:54 PM, Blogger ninest123 said...

tory burch outlet store
adidas yeezy boost
ralph lauren outlet
michael kors outlet
michael kors handbags
canada goose
prada handbags


Post a Comment

<< Home