This was a tough weekend for Luis Scola
. Not only did this mean the third time he falls just a bit short of the Euroleague title (after losing 3-2 in the 2001 Finals against Manu Ginobilis Kinder Bologna and last season in the final against Maccabi again), but his father suffered a heart problem while in Prague. Still, Scola led Tau in scoring (17 points) and rebounding (11) against Maccabi, not giving up to what quickly looked like a sure loss for the Spanish team.
With the disappearance of point guard Pablo Prigioni (shrunk by the very intense defense delivered by Solomon and Sharp), Scola couldnt take advantage of the multiple scoring opportunities that the pick and roll plays with his countryman provides him. Maccabi executed an awesome defensive game-plan all over the court, not allowing spaces and being particularly intimidating near the basket. Therefore, Scolas production off his excellent off-the-ball skills was dramatically reduced, being forced to play more one-on-one situations that anyway werent as effective as usual, having to battle against a surprisingly aggressive frontcourt.
Scola is a very smart player, a guy with incredible intuition to play the game, and if foul trouble doesnt bother him (he played 39 minutes), he usually finds a way to get points. This time, he managed to keep his production up thanks to his unusual activity on the offensive glass (and Maccabis own weakness securing their own rebounds), which provided him with several second-chance points off his 7 offensive captures.
Despite the delicate health situation of his father, Scola played the meaningless game for third place. There isnt much to say about it really. It was more of a conventional game, with Prigioni back in his distributing role, although Scola shared the scoring duties in the paint with Predrag Drobnjak
, settling for only 11 points.
The feeling in Spain is that Scola will finally leave for the NBA this summer. His contract apparently runs out in 2007, and Tau will likely prefer to cash in this year before losing him for nothing the following one.