Welcome back to Corner Stats! Real Madrid won a ticket for the EuroLeague Final Four with three consecutive victories against Panathinaikos. Let’s look at some data to understand the statistical keys of this series.
The three games played between the Spanish and the Greek teams have always been very close games. Apart from game 2, the point differences have always been below 10 points. Yet, Panathinaikos has never managed to get a victory; the main problem is that, apart from Calathes, Panathinaikos didn’t have a second playmaker. Actually, it is a problem that has been carried around for all the regular season; not surprisingly, the best moment of the whole team coincided during Calathes’ shining period (last five games of RS), confirming this defect. Calathes was, therefore, the tip of the scales for the Greek team’s performance: as we know, the playmaker’s main defect is the 3-point shot; this year he averaged 4 triples per game, converting them with the 25%. But if we look at the difference between wins and losses, we find out this:
In the games in which the defense forced Nick to shoot more than necessary from behind the arc, Panathinaikos’ attack suffered from it. In this series, he also found himself guarded by one of the best perimeter defenders on the EuroLeague, Jeffery Taylor. The Real’s player almost always passed under the screen in a PNR situation, thus leaving Calathes the space for a triple and not for a drive; in case the Greek tried to drive anyway, Taylor has almost always managed to guard it effectively. The result is having kept the Pana’s star at 22% from inside the area (33%; 0%; 33%, attempting 9 shots per game in the series, while in the regular season he has shot with 47%) and at 24% from beyond the arc (30%; 0%; 43%, with 10, 2 and 7 attempts respectively). An impressive defensive work, which we will resume soon; focusing on Calathes, it is clear that when your primary playmaker produces these numbers, the whole team suffers tremendously.
So, in conclusion, Real’s defense has effectively limited Calathes, inhibiting consequently the entire opponent attack, which was therefore based on extemporaneous solutions by Thomas, Lojeski, and Vougioukas.
For Real Madrid instead, Llull’s absence was completely hidden by Campazzo’s authoritative series. The Argentine playmaker played three games of the highest level for offensive production and leadership.
The Impact in the series is very clear: without him on the court, Real’s attack struggled enormously to produce points. The fourth quarter of game 3 is the perfect image of the Campazzo’s series, in which with the help of Ayon he built the decisive partial for the victory.
I mentioned before Taylor: he was a crucial factor in defense and he always made the right choice during the offense.
The values are even more remarkable than Campazzo’s ones. Jeffery was the key for Real’s victory, inhibiting Calathes and turning his offensive possessions into points or positive contributions. Taylor’s quality, however, is not discovered today: yet the fact that he is a less talented player than some of his teammates leads him to be less talked about.
Of course then, for Real there are always its big men: Tavares was a constant factor during the series, while Ayon grew game after game.
A consideration before concluding: for the series against Pana, Campazzo’s and Taylor’s performances were sufficient. Causeur and Carroll have played not so much due to insufficient performances; in fact, Laso has used also Prepelic in order to have a good deep bench for his guards. In a Final 4 view, however, it is clear that only Campazzo and Taylor are not enough for Real Madrid; Laso has to understand how will be Llull after the injury and has to require more from Causeur and Carroll.