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The DraftExpress Daily
       
  Monday, May 22, 2006

Euro Roundup: Playoff Heat
By Luis Fernández

The href=/profile//> playoffs href=/profile//> started href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> spectacular href=/profile//> fashion href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> youngsters href=/profile//> both href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> Spain href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> Italy, href=/profile//> where href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> two href=/profile//> strongest href=/profile//> basketball href=/profile//> leagues href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> Europe href=/profile//> are href=/profile//> held. href=/profile//> Most href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> best href=/profile//> draft href=/profile//> prospects href=/profile//> shined href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> round href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> games, href=/profile//> although href=/profile//> only href=/profile//> Sergio href=/profile//> Rodríguez href=/profile//> kept href=/profile//> it href=/profile//> up href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second.

So href=/profile//> we href=/profile//> start href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> week href=/profile//> again href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> Sergio, href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> become href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> go-to href=/profile//> guy href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> Adecco href=/profile//> Estudiantes href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> quarterfinal href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> top-seeded href=/profile//> Unicaja href=/profile//> Málaga, href=/profile//> becoming href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> top href=/profile//> scorer href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> ACB href=/profile//> Playoffs href=/profile//> so href=/profile//> far. href=/profile//> Unfortunately, href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> offensive href=/profile//> prominence href=/profile//> hasn’t href=/profile//> translated href=/profile//> into href=/profile//> victories href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> team, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> Estudiantes href=/profile//> trails href=/profile//> 2-0 href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series. href=/profile//> Sergio href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> found href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> shooting href=/profile//> stroke href=/profile//> again href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> knocking href=/profile//> down href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> jumpers href=/profile//> regularly, href=/profile//> even href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> three-point href=/profile//> land. href=/profile//> He’s href=/profile//> also href=/profile//> looking href=/profile//> almost href=/profile//> unstoppable href=/profile//> slashing href=/profile//> towards href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> basket. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> appeared href=/profile//> more href=/profile//> scoring-oriented href=/profile//> than href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> last href=/profile//> part href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> regular href=/profile//> season, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> perhaps href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> distributing href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> suffering href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> reason. href=/profile//> Struggling href=/profile//> on href=/profile//> defense href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> he href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> back href=/profile//> stronger href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second. href=/profile//> Sergio href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> tried href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> pace href=/profile//> an href=/profile//> up-tempo href=/profile//> rhythm href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> overcome href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> notorious href=/profile//> quality-differential href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> Estudiantes href=/profile//> suffers href=/profile//> compared href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> powerhouse href=/profile//> such href=/profile//> as href=/profile//> Unicaja, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> even href=/profile//> if href=/profile//> it href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> worked href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> some href=/profile//> stretches, href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> outcome href=/profile//> so href=/profile//> far href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> been href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> little href=/profile//> bit href=/profile//> disappointing. href=/profile//> Rodríguez href=/profile//> posted href=/profile//> 24 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> going href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> 23 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> rebounds, href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> assists, href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 0 href=/profile//> turnovers href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> combined href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> shoot href=/profile//> 4/9 href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> three-point href=/profile//> line href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> both href=/profile//> games.

Rudy href=/profile//> Fernández href=/profile//> has href=/profile//> been href=/profile//> probably href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> biggest href=/profile//> hero href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> DKV href=/profile//> Joventut href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Gran href=/profile//> Canaria. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> took href=/profile//> over href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> by href=/profile//> scoring href=/profile//> 20 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second href=/profile//> half href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> total href=/profile//> 26 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 6 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals, href=/profile//> going href=/profile//> 10/14 href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> field. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> suffered href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> minor href=/profile//> sprain href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> ankle href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> but href=/profile//> apparently href=/profile//> it’s href=/profile//> nothing href=/profile//> serious. href=/profile//> DKV href=/profile//> Joventut href=/profile//> leads href=/profile//> 2-0 href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> just href=/profile//> one href=/profile//> step href=/profile//> away href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> semifinals, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> Euroleague href=/profile//> berth href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> next href=/profile//> season href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> might href=/profile//> affect href=/profile//> Rudy’s href=/profile//> decision href=/profile//> about href=/profile//> where href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> play href=/profile//> next href=/profile//> season. href=/profile//> Meanwhile, href=/profile//> second-seeded href=/profile//> Tau href=/profile//> Vitoria href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> suffering href=/profile//> more href=/profile//> than href=/profile//> expected href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> beat href=/profile//> seventh-seeded href=/profile//> Akasvayu href=/profile//> Girona. href=/profile//> The href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> tied href=/profile//> 1-1 href=/profile//> at href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> point. href=/profile//> Tiago href=/profile//> Splitter href=/profile//> played href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> major href=/profile//> role href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first-game href=/profile//> victory, href=/profile//> scoring href=/profile//> 16 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> grabbing href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> rebounds.

In href=/profile//> Italy, href=/profile//> Andrea href=/profile//> Bargnani href=/profile//> led href=/profile//> second-seeded href=/profile//> Benetton href=/profile//> Treviso href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> comfortable href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Armani href=/profile//> Jeans href=/profile//> Milano. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 20 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals. href=/profile//> Most href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> production href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> line, href=/profile//> posting href=/profile//> career href=/profile//> highs href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> free-throws href=/profile//> attempted href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> made href=/profile//> (12/14). href=/profile//> His href=/profile//> production href=/profile//> drop href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> along href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Milano, href=/profile//> leaving href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> tied href=/profile//> 1-1 href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> moment.

In href=/profile//> similar href=/profile//> fashion, href=/profile//> top-seeded href=/profile//> Climamio href=/profile//> Bologna href=/profile//> also href=/profile//> won href=/profile//> its href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> led href=/profile//> by href=/profile//> Marco href=/profile//> Belinelli, href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> off href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> bench href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> score href=/profile//> 19 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> grab href=/profile//> 4 href=/profile//> rebounds. href=/profile//> Eighth-seeded href=/profile//> Angelico href=/profile//> Biella href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> back href=/profile//> strong href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> second, href=/profile//> tying href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> all-around href=/profile//> contribution href=/profile//> coming href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> Thabo href=/profile//> Sefolosha, href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 8 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 9 href=/profile//> rebounds, href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals.

Ante href=/profile//> Tomic href=/profile//> keeps href=/profile//> shining href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> Croatian href=/profile//> League. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> helped href=/profile//> Zagreb href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> two href=/profile//> games href=/profile//> played href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> week. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 13 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Cedevita, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> few href=/profile//> days href=/profile//> later href=/profile//> faced href=/profile//> Split href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> front href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> our href=/profile//> Balkan href=/profile//> scout href=/profile//> Kristian href=/profile//> Hohnjec: href=/profile//> Tomic href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> another href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> performance href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> KK href=/profile//> Split, href=/profile//> even href=/profile//> if href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> shot href=/profile//> wasn’t href=/profile//> falling href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> him. href=/profile//> Usually href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> offensive href=/profile//> end href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> where href=/profile//> Tomic href=/profile//> does href=/profile//> most href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> damage, href=/profile//> but href=/profile//> today href=/profile//> he href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> more href=/profile//> impressive href=/profile//> on href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> defensive href=/profile//> side, href=/profile//> controlling href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> boards href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> playing href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> more href=/profile//> intensity. href=/profile//> The href=/profile//> fact href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> Split href=/profile//> doesn’t href=/profile//> have href=/profile//> consistent href=/profile//> post href=/profile//> threat href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> Franko href=/profile//> Kastropil href=/profile//> being href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> foul-trouble href=/profile//> certainly href=/profile//> helped. href=/profile//> After href=/profile//> putting href=/profile//> up href=/profile//> 6 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> row href=/profile//> late href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> quarter, href=/profile//> Tomic href=/profile//> struggled href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> score href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> rest href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> game. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> created href=/profile//> some href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> looks href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> himself, href=/profile//> but href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> unable href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> finish href=/profile//> them. href=/profile//> Ante href=/profile//> finished href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> 8 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> (FG href=/profile//> 3/11), href=/profile//> 11 href=/profile//> rebounds, href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> blocks href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> assists.

Hrvoje href=/profile//> Kovacevic href=/profile//> is href=/profile//> another href=/profile//> Croatian href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> shape. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 16 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 8 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> assists, href=/profile//> leading href=/profile//> Svjetlost href=/profile//> over href=/profile//> Dubrovnik, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> even href=/profile//> if href=/profile//> he href=/profile//> improved href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> 22 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> next href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> an href=/profile//> Adriatic href=/profile//> League href=/profile//> squad href=/profile//> such href=/profile//> as href=/profile//> Zadar href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> too href=/profile//> much href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> him href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> his href=/profile//> team.

In href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> Serbian href=/profile//> League, href=/profile//> another href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> performance href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Zoran href=/profile//> Erceg. href=/profile//> 19 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 11 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> weren’t href=/profile//> good href=/profile//> enough href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Borac href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> beat href=/profile//> Vojvodina. href=/profile//> In href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> previous href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> loss href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> FMP, href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> time href=/profile//> it href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> Dragan href=/profile//> Labovic href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> stepped href=/profile//> up href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Borac, href=/profile//> scoring href=/profile//> 17 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> grabbing href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds. href=/profile//> Before href=/profile//> losing href=/profile//> its href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> Serbian href=/profile//> Superleague, href=/profile//> Partizan href=/profile//> beat href=/profile//> Masinac, href=/profile//> enjoying href=/profile//> an href=/profile//> excellent href=/profile//> scoring href=/profile//> contribution href=/profile//> coming href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> Uros href=/profile//> Tripkovic, href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 20 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 6 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals.

Dynamo href=/profile//> St. href=/profile//> Petersburg href=/profile//> hasn’t href=/profile//> been href=/profile//> able href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> advance href=/profile//> past href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> semifinals href=/profile//> after href=/profile//> losing href=/profile//> 3-2 href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Khimky. href=/profile//> Vladimir href=/profile//> Veremeenko href=/profile//> led href=/profile//> Dynamo href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> third href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> which href=/profile//> resulted href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> loss, href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> 24 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> assists. href=/profile//> He href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> helped href=/profile//> by href=/profile//> Viktor href=/profile//> Keirou, href=/profile//> who href=/profile//> scored href=/profile//> 10 href=/profile//> points. href=/profile//> Veremeenko href=/profile//> gave href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> hand href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> fourth, href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> this href=/profile//> time href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Dynamo, href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> 13 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 8 href=/profile//> rebounds. href=/profile//> Both href=/profile//> Veremeenko href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> Keirou href=/profile//> still href=/profile//> have href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> play href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> series href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> decide href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> third href=/profile//> position href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> league, href=/profile//> which href=/profile//> will href=/profile//> last href=/profile//> until href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> end href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> May.

The href=/profile//> French href=/profile//> league href=/profile//> enjoyed href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> spectacular href=/profile//> showdown href=/profile//> last href=/profile//> week href=/profile//> between href=/profile//> two href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> most href=/profile//> promising href=/profile//> small href=/profile//> point href=/profile//> guards href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> country: href=/profile//> Mickael href=/profile//> Mokongo href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> Aldo href=/profile//> Curti, href=/profile//> both href=/profile//> excellent href=/profile//> athletes href=/profile//> but href=/profile//> under href=/profile//> six-feet href=/profile//> tall. href=/profile//> It href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> preliminary href=/profile//> round href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> playoffs, href=/profile//> facing href=/profile//> Chalon/Saone href=/profile//> vs. href=/profile//> Le href=/profile//> Havre. href=/profile//> Coincidentally, href=/profile//> both href=/profile//> youngsters href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> off href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> bench href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> lead href=/profile//> their href=/profile//> teams href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> scoring, href=/profile//> but href=/profile//> it href=/profile//> was href=/profile//> Mokongo’s href=/profile//> Chalon href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> team href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> prevailed, href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> 22 href=/profile//> point, href=/profile//> 3 href=/profile//> assist href=/profile//> effort href=/profile//> by href=/profile//> their href=/profile//> playmaker. href=/profile//> Curti href=/profile//> settled href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> 17 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 5 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> steals.

In href=/profile//> Greece, href=/profile//> Panathinaikos href=/profile//> already href=/profile//> waits href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> final href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> winner href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> semifinal href=/profile//> that href=/profile//> Olympiacos href=/profile//> leads href=/profile//> 2-1 href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Maroussi. href=/profile//> In href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> third href=/profile//> game, href=/profile//> a href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Olympiacos, href=/profile//> Panagiotis href=/profile//> Vasilopoulos href=/profile//> had href=/profile//> 14 href=/profile//> points href=/profile//> (4/5 href=/profile//> from href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> three-point href=/profile//> line) href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds. href=/profile//> In href=/profile//> Belgium, href=/profile//> Mirza href=/profile//> Teletovic href=/profile//> came href=/profile//> off href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> bench href=/profile//> for href=/profile//> Telindus href=/profile//> Oostende href=/profile//> to href=/profile//> contribute href=/profile//> with href=/profile//> 16 href=/profile//> points, href=/profile//> 7 href=/profile//> rebounds href=/profile//> and href=/profile//> 2 href=/profile//> assists href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> victory href=/profile//> against href=/profile//> Liège href=/profile//> in href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> first href=/profile//> game href=/profile//> of href=/profile//> the href=/profile//> semifinal href=/profile//> series.

 
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