Yesterday, in the absence of Timofey Mozgov, Dairis Bertans and Sergey Karasev, Khimki Moscow Region had to play hard every second to overcome Maccabi Tel Aviv who had the whole roster at disposal. The Russians dominated the game from the first quarter and never look back, while the visitors were trying desperately to come back. I will analyze here the 2 huge mistakes of Maccabi Tel Aviv that make them an easy catch for Khimki:
- The Israeli team full with athletic ex-NBA Americans was not able to defend the 3 point line from where Khimki get an important advantage. I never understand why Maccabi considered so important to use 2 defenders for the centers of the Russian squad, while was logical that shooting from the arc was their main weapon. And Shved was no in his best shape yesterday with only 2/10 at 3pointers. But Janis Timma was finishing with 5/12, while Anthony Gill was perfect having 100% – 3/3, Sergey Monia 2/2 and Jonas Jerebko 2/5. Khimki has built the entire game offense on 3 pointers. They had more shots (35) from the arc than inside of it (32) and in many moments of the game a better percentage at 3’s than at 2′.
- On the other side, Maccabi based the whole game on the premise that their offense had to be built around the big men of the squad, who indeed had very good percentages in the paint: Omri Casspi – 13 points (4/5), Othello Hunter – 11 points (5/6) and Tarik Black – 17 points (6/8). Together these 3 guys were dominating under the basket, without a doubt. But this opportunity converted in fact in a tactical error on offense where the main focus was scoring 2 pointers and not preparing wide-open shots from the arc. The Israeli powerhouse finished the game with a disastrous 4/22 – for a low 18% but they had at the break time 1/10 from the 3 point line.
The 3 point shot is creating a big shift in the history of modern basketball. There not possible that a team who insists too much in scoring in the paint to have a real chance to beat a team with sharpshooters. The Golden State Warriors’s story is proving this theory. The time of pushing the opponents in the paint as Shaquile O’Neal did is gone. It’s the 3 points ERA! In order to succeed you have to prepare very well the shot from the arc, not to misuse it and to keep it as a last choice. Creating space for the 3 points shot has to be the first choice of a team! If Maccabi don’t understand this, they will repeat the last seasons’ story of not entering the Euroleague playoffs.
Photo: BC Khimki