20 October, 2020
09 May, 2021
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Hereda San Pablo Burgos v SIG Strasbourg - a closer look

NIZHNY NOVGOROD (Russia) - The underdogs take on the Champs in the second Semi-Final as SIG Strasbourg, fresh from an incredible win over one ACB behemoth in Lenovo Tenerife, walk straight into another one, the reigning Champions  Hereda San Pablo Burgos. 

Burgos join Casademont Zaragoza in reaching the Final 4 in their first two seasons. Only Monaco had done that before. They are also the first reigning champs to reach the Final 4 and could be the first back to back winner. This is SIG's first-ever Final 4 after playing in every season of the BCL so far. 


Looking at the stats in the data story above we can see why Burgos are the Champs. They have the second-best Offensive Rating left in the competition at 115 points per 100 and the best Defensive Rating at just 103 points per 100 possessions conceded. Put together that gives them +11.4 points per 100 for efficiency and a 5 point overall advantage over their opponents Strasbourg with an overall efficiency of +5 points per 100. It's not all dominance for the Spaniards. SIG are here for a reason and we saw exactly why in their Quarter-Final. they smash the offensive glass and do a great job of limiting turnovers. As a result they have the best Turvover Percentage at the Final 4 with just 13.2 percent of their possessions ending without a shot, and also the best Offensive Rebound Percentage, hoovering up 31.2 percent of their misses. What should make for an interesting clash of styles is that Burgos lead all teams for Assist Percentage with a crazy 71.9 percent of their field goals coming from an assist.

How they got here - Hereda San Pablo Burgos

Before the game, it was always going to be a game decided by Holon's ability to handle Burgos' size advantage and Burgos ability to slow Holon down. But Basketball isn't played on paper and in a typical juxtapose, Burgos started the game out-running the Israeli squad. They scored 11 points on the break in the first quarter. It could have been more if they'd taken other chances.

Before long, however, the pace started to suit Holon and in the second quarter their run and gun style was creating the open 3-pointers they love to take and they were making them. It was only really Vitor Benite fighting to keep the game close by half-time. 

The third Quarter was very different. The switching defense that Holon had used to great effect was starting to become easy pickings for Burgos. The play in the video below is a perfect example. As soon as Holon switched the ball-screen with Kravic and Benite, the Brazilian knew all he had to do was reverse the ball to Horton who had the angle to make the high-low pass over the top to Kravic with the mismatch.

Once Burgos had found the solution on the offensive end, there was really nothing Holon could do. Especially with Benite firing from the perimeter and pulling the defense back out to focus on him. It might sound strange to call the game over inside the first 30 seconds of the fourth, with only an 8 point lead for Burgos but really, after the sequence of play in the clip below, Holon's goose was cooked. 

The clip starts on the defensive end for Burgos and they were fighting over every screen, playing connected with each other and making excellent use of their hands to shrink the floor and contest. Then after the miss, watch how they are already employing Benite as the distraction point, running him off screens, then as Holon switch the pick and roll again, there is nobody in the paint to help and Rivero has the mismatch again.

Whilst the game was over, there is still time to talk about the passing of Omar Cook and also coach Penarroya's lineup adjustments. In the third quarter, Penarroya went to using almost exclusively three-guard lineups and his most used lineup was also his best. Renfroe, McFadden, Benite, Horton, and Kravic were +7 during their 5 minutes on the floor. The three-guard lineups also created so much space for Benite to exploit running off screens and the other Burgos players to find gaps slipping screens. 

When you have a human computer like Omar Cook at the Point Guard spot, you know he is going to find the open man, even when they are only half-open like the first pass in the video below.


Key Man

There are so many weapons on this Burgos team and last year's Final 8 MVP, Thad McFadden is yet to get going. But after his Quarter-Final performance and the determination he showed to keep Burgos in the game against Holon, Vitor Benite has to be the main man for Burgos coming into the game.


How they got here - SIG Strasbourg

Much like the matchup between Burgos and Holon, SIG Strasbourg against Lenovo Tenerife was a small-ball v tall-ball affair.  Before the game, almost everyone had predicted Tenerife would be too big, too smart and ultimately too good for Strasbourg. But in true BCL style, those predictions were thrown out the window and what we got was an all-time classic of a game. 

To start the game Strasbourg were really just trying to survive and stay in the game. They were struggling with Tenerife's bigs and were punished two possessions in a row at one point when they came off the strong side corner to try and help on the low post. There were positive signs though. Brandon Jefferson was already causing problems and they were executing when they needed to. 

In the second half, not only did SIG Strasbourg really arrive in the game but so did coach Tuovi. His adjustment to go even smaller with his lineups and mix coverages with switches, then extend his defense out to disrupt Tenerife's passing game really bore fruit. Tactical plans are nothing if the players don't execute and Tuovi got absolutely maximal contributions from his role players. 

In the clip below watch how they get caught out with a late switch but Leo Cavaliere came from nowhere to block the shot. Anchoring the helpside defense isn't his natural game but like so many SIG players he was willing to do whatever it took.

Another successful adjustment for Strasbourg was how they managed the low post. Watch the clip below and notice how early Jefferson is to help, and this time coming from the weakside on the baseline side. This disruptive defense, quickly turned into explosive transition offense was the decisive factor for Strasbourg.

More of the same again in the clip below. This kind of defensive playmaking from Ish Wainwright is exactly what Strasbourg will have to do again for 40 minutes against Burgos.


Key Man

Brandon Jefferson was undoubtedly the start man for SIG in the win against Tenerife and he will need to be equally outstanding in the Semi-Final. But for SIG Strasbourg to find another way to continue their incredible season, they will need the MVP of the season to do what he does best. Bonzie Colson was quiet in the Quarter-Final, don't expect that to happen twice.



This looks to be another case of big v small, Jack against the giant, David v Goliath, whatever you want to call it. SIG Strasbourg will face a different kind of size challenge with Dejan Kravic chasing his thrid BCL title in a row and this Burgos team has even more perimeter threats to consider. Benite looks to have arrived in Russia in an irrepressible mood and whilst McFadden was quiet in the Quarter-Final, that very is unlikely to happen twice. Who do they task with slowing him down if he gets going? The smart money would be on Lansdowne to get that assignment. Jasiel Rivero is the lethal combination of not only being freakishly strong but also playing strong. His match up with the likes of Ish Wainwright will be fascinating. Who will Burgos throw at Bonzie Colson is another great question and how does Strasbourg stop Renfroe and Cook from doing what they do and dictating the game? Jefferson matched up against Cook is absolutely one to keep an eye on. 

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.