20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
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Casademont Zaragoza v Pinar Karsiyaka - a closer look

NIZHNY NOVGOROD (Russia) - The first Semi-Final pairing sees Casademont Zaragoza matched up with Pinar Karsiyaka.  The Spaniards have made it to their second straight Final 4 and Karsiayaka became the second Turkish club since Bandirma to reach this stage. Both teams had close-fought Quarter-Finals and we can expect another battle. 


Looking at the efficiency ratings the Turkish club holds the edge. Their Net Rating of +7.3 points per 100 possessions gives them an advantage of 4 points per 100 possessions against Zaragoza with a Net Rating of +3. If were to simplify this and expect a 75 possession game, this is just enough to give the Turkish team a 1 possession advantage. The two clubs are almost identical when it comes to shooting efficiency, they have Effective Field Goal Percentages of 53.8 percent (Zaragoza) and 53.4 percent (Karsiyaka). Coach Sarica's squad has also enjoyed a marginally better season thus far with respect to turnovers and offensive rebounding. They hold the joint-best Turnover Percentage with Strasbourg on 13.2 percent vs 13.9 percent for the Spaniards. On the offensive glass Karsiyaka pull down 25 percent of their own misses, giving them a 4 percent advantage over Zaragoza with 21.1 percent. In the Play-Offs, however, these small margins often count for little. Against Nizhny Novgorord Zaragoza recorded an Offensive Rebounding Percentage of 26 percent and there is nothing to suggest that can't happen again in the Semi-Final. 

How they got here - Casademont Zaragoza 

We knew before the game that Zaragoza play the game with a high volume of possessions and with an uptempo style that fits the roster. The Quarter-Final was no different. In fact, Nizhny possibly played into their hands a bit with the pace. The two clips below are great examples of how Zaragoza have the horses to win a race and also know how to make them count.  First clip Harris puts the pressure on by sprinting the middle of the floor and then Brussino matches the effort with a wide sprint and aggressive finish. Then the second clip Wiley came up with a huge score in the context of the game as Zaragoza started to assert some dominance in the third. 

Elias Harris was huge for Zaragoza, particularly in the first half when they needed him. He played like a man that has unfinished business from his last Final 4 with Bamberg. When you have a talent advantage you don't need to hit home runs every play and run fancy X's and O's, sometimes you just need to hit the singles and run something simple to get the matchup you want. The two clips below were just that, simple pick and pops to allow Harris to go to work.

There were positive signs in terms of team chemistry and being able to go deep into the options of their sets if needed. The "Horns" set below is a perfect example. They finally got what they wanted with a ball reversal and "Angle" pick and roll for Wiley.

The other adjustment coach Casimiro made in the second half was to tweak his lineups and go for more athletic, slightly smaller lineups. This decision was vindicated in the stats and in the video below. Their best lineup was also their most used with the five of Ennis, Sulaimon, Brussino, Harris and Wiley playing 7 minutes together for a +7 when they were on the floor. That combination of talent, versatility, athleticism, and hustle is going to be something Pinar Karsiyaka will need to plan for. Especially when they play together like we see in the clip below. Five of Zaragoza's six field goals were assisted during the 5 minutes this lineup played at the start of the third quarter.


Key Man

Dylan Ennis. It's that simple. Ennis is possibly playing the best basketball of his career and looks nearly unstoppable.


How they got here - Pinar Karsiyaka

As was expected, Pinar Karsiyaka looked to establish interior dominance early with Raymar Morgan. Rhythm and tempo are a big part of what Nymburk do on offense but for Karsiyaka, the ability to come down the floor and run something easy to get the ball in the post is their weapon for controlling rhythm. Here they use a very simple set with pin downs on either side of the floor. The intent is for Morgan to set a screen to get himself open and then take his time, use the full shot clock and take a high percentage shot. For Nymburk it's tough to establish a high tempo when there aren't many actions to disrupt on defense and then they have to take the ball out after a made field goal.

Once the inside presence of Morgan was established, he remained a threat that Nymburk needed to react to for the rest of the game. It took some time for Karsiyaka's cavalry to get going but Nymburk collapsing on Morgan in the paint created enough room for Sek Henry to find his touch. He hit three vital 3-pointers in the third quarter. This was a huge part of Karsiyaka wrestling control of the momentum.

It wasn't just Henry either. In the clip below you can see the type of disruptive defensive schemes that Nymbrurk were running with #98 Tuma coming over very early to switch on the pick and roll. Karsiyaka's patience to run the clock down and search out a shot vs Nymburk's switching was a difference maker. Birsen hits the shot in this video and he was present in all of coach sarica's best lineups. Taylor, Henry, Birsen, M'Baye, and Morgan were a +13 in their 5 minutes together on court.

Again, in the clip below we see the same patience as Karsiyaka's execution became more and more fluid as their confidence and momentum grew. Here they were using a continuity offense to move the ball side to side. Now Nymburk had moved out of switching coverages and  eventually Karsiyaka caught them helping too far in and Birsen was already in the flow.


Key Man

Of course, the man that everything was built around was Raymar Morgan. The veteran American plays at his own tempo and there is very little that you can do to stop him from getting to the spots he loves to work in.




In terms of size these two squads are much more evenly matched. Zaragoza may well be able to use lineups with Hlinason and Benzing more against the likes of Erden and Morgan. They are also more evenly matched athletically. The likes of Wiley and Harris will be coming up against player like M'Baye and Morgan that they may not have the same quickness advantage again. The frontcourt duels could be huge but it is likely to come down to Pinar Karsiyaka's ability to slow down Dylan Ennis. That task will probably fall to Sek Henry and very few players at the Final 8 are as well equipped for strength and quickness to take on the task. Brussino and Benzing getting it going from behind the arc could be the ones to watch for Zaragoza. For Karsiyaka, Birsen will be hoping to get his shot going earlier this time around. The health of D.J Kennedy could be huge for Pinar Karsiayaka. If he can recover from that finger injury, he is a matchup headache on the offensive end and certainly helps with attempting to slow the likes of Elias Harris.

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon Lloyd-Smeath

Diccon is a basketball coach and analyst living in Madrid. Constantly digging in the crates of box scores and clicking through hours of game footage. Diccon is on the hunt for the stories within the stories. If you like to get a closer look at what’s going in the Basketball Champions League, you have found it.