2005 Euroleague Final Four Preview
The 2005 Euroleague basketball season has wrapped up, the playoffs have come and gone, and all that remained was the Euroleague final four. Below is a brief 2005 Euroleague Final Four preview:
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Panathinaikos:
Maccabi Tel Aviv: The Current Euroleague champions, Maccabi won the 2004 Euroleague championship in dramatic fashion and hope to repeat in 2005. They are trying to become the first Euroleague basketball team in 14 years to successfully defend their championship and win back-to-back titles. Last season, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat CSKA Moscow in the semifinals, then destroyed Skipper Bologna in dominating fashion, for the 2004 Euroleague championship. As for the current Maccabi basketball team, they are led by guard Anthony Parker (18 ppg, 5 rpg, 4 apg), who won MVP of the Euroleague regular season. Sarunas Jasikevicius (16 ppg, 3 rpg, 5 apg) is always a major threat from anywhere on the court. Athletic forward Maceo Baston (14 ppg, 6 rpg, 1 apg) does more than his stats show. Center Nikola Vujcic (14 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg) is versatile. And Tal Burstein, Derrick Sharp and Deon Thomas all add buckets. Maccabi plays extremely effective team basketball, scoring plenty of points at a very high field goal percentage, and dishing tons of assists in the process. The team scores a fantastic 92 ppg. Maccabi Tel Aviv's coach is Pinhas Gershon.
Panathinaikos: This Greek team has enjoyed incredible success in recent years. They're led by guard Jaka Lakovic (16 ppg, 2 rpg, 3 apg). Forward Michael Batiste (11 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 apg) is key. Guard Dimitrios Diamantidis (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg) is the winner of the new Best Defender trophy. And sharpshooter Vlado Scepanovic, slasher Nikos Hatzivrettas, and the experienced Fragiskos Alvertis all contribute close to 10 points per game each. Finally, forward Ibrahim Kutluay (7 ppg) is on the NBA radar. The team scores 81 ppg. They're not a strong rebounding team, and that may hurt them in the Euroleague Final Four. Panathinaikos' coach is Zeljko Obradovic.
CSKA Moscow vs. Tau Ceramica:
Tau Ceramica: This is the first time Tau Ceramica has ever reached the Euroleague basketball final four. They're lead by Luis Scola (15 ppg, 6 rpg, 2 apg) and Arvydas Macijauskas (18 ppg, 2rpg, 3 apg). Tiago Splitter (7 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 apg) is a known name with a bright future. Kornel David (11 ppg, 5 rpg, 1 apg) has been around the block. Guard Travis Hansen (7 ppg, 3 rpg, 1 apg) has some NBA experience. The team scores 84 ppg. Tau Ceramica's coach is Dusko Ivanovic.
CSKA Moscow: Famous for their constant Euroleague basketball success, CSKA Moscow won 21 of their 22 games this Euroleague basketball season and are as strong as they've ever been. They are led by guard Marcus Brown (16 ppg, 3 rpg, 3 apg), whose scoring is key. Guard John-Robert Holden (11 ppg, 2 rpg, 3 apg) does more than his stats suggest. Forward Martin Muursepp (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 1 apg) is a known hoops name. Forward David Anderson (12 ppg, 7 rpg, 1 apg) is a key brick in this wall. And forward Sergey Monya (5 ppg, 3 rpg) was drafted by the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers last year. The team scores 85 ppg. CSKA Moscow's coach is Dusan Ivkovic.