By Tim Shea
A story of faith
The 2008 Euroleague Final Four in Madrid, Spain
It’s said that faith can move mountains although something closer to the truth might be; Faith can always try to move the mountain. This was what the 2008 Euroleague Final Four was all about. It was not about the fanfare, the million word basketball analysis, pageantry, lights, media and lots and lots of very loud sounds in the Palacio de Madrid. It was about the team that believed. It was about Maccabi Tel Aviv. It was about a team that recovered from a disasterous start of competition to get to the Final Four: Qualifying for the Final Four against a FC Barcelona that, unlike Maccabi, realized and reacted too late into the season with necessary changes. For Maccabi it was about getting a veteran head coach and about a wise president reacting when he saw necessary and when he saw fit. It was about a team that watched itself grow and expand and above all, believe that they could be the Club Champions of Europe. The problem was only the aforementioned one, the metaphysical one… about faith and mountains. In particular, this Russian Mountain. A Big Mountain. CSKA…
With the best team here and surely one of the top teams since the Euroleague was created. CSKA is a team that brings to mind the powerhouse teams of Dan Peterson and Simac of Milano, starring PG deluxe Mike D’Antoni, The best Euro Bigman Dino Meneghin and Bob McAdoo with the great coaching from Peterson and Cassalini. The Boselli twins as marksmen off the bench and Gallinari (father) as the Sheriff. CSKA has all this and more. Solid, compact and well prepared defensively they were simply bigger and overall athletically superior to a Maccabi team that had the faith but not the strength to confirm the saying. Will Bynum was a rock crashing into and down the Mountain. Andersen and Holden made the Mountain bigger. The Mountain won. It will win more. You could bet on it.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will never go away. You could bet on it.
Something has to be said about the other two teams. So,… Tau Vitoria is not playing to it’s potential. It is that simple. Don’t ask me why. I have my opinion but that is not important. What is important is that Tau has talent, skills, size and speed to compete with and beat the best. They did not. They had 35 minutes of good (but not great) Tau basketball in the semi-final. Against CSKA 35 is simply not enough. Tau will make changes. You could bet on it.
Montepaschi Sienna was a victim of the faith of the team from Tel Aviv. The faith to come all the way back from a deep dark hole in it’s semi-final and leave Sienna wondering why they shot so many outside shots. In a forty minute game Sienna shot forty five threes and that is a lot of threes! They will know better next time. You could bet on that.
It was great to see the past (top 50) Euro Stars recognized. Lots of wonderful memories. Great games and great players and coaches. great idea.
Finally, in this, the dawning of the Pick and Roll Era X I suggest that more is not always better. Louder is not always better. I suggest that a live announcer, of the style used during these games is PERHAPS counterproductive to the show. I ask if it is necessary to announce the number and name of a player EVERY TIME A BASKET IS MADE? It would be expected from a radio presentation. More is not always better.