Euroleague enters the final phase, and on 13 April are continuing decisive quarter-final battles for the placement on the Euroleague Final Four in Berlin, and today we will present day second quarter-final couples that are beginning their duels on 13 April. Second matches of these quarter-final series will continue two days later, and then the series are moving on the court of weaker ranked participants of the playoffs, and these encounters are scheduled for 19 April, and if neither side by then does not record 3 wins, fourth match will be played on April 21, while the eventual fifth match is on the program on 26 April.
The first couple that begins its duel on the second day are Lokomotiv Kuban and Barcelona. Although Lokomotiv Kuban in this duel comes with the home court advantage, Barcelona has overcome crisis of results and it seems that in the right moment raised form before the most important matches of the season, so this will be a very interesting and equalized series, and would not be a surprise that these teams play all five matches. These rivals have already met this season in the first phase of the Euroleague and the score is 1-1, and each team has achieved a triumph on its court. However, that does not mean anything, because both teams have progressed significantly in the meantime. Coaches of both teams have already won the Euroleague trophy – Georgios Bartzokas 2013 with Olympiakos, while Xavi Pascual led from the bench Barcelona to their last title of European champion in 2010. By looking at rosters of these teams, it seems that Barcelona possess more quality and more experienced roster, but Lokomotiv Kuban this season playing very disciplined and concentrated throughout the match and are capable to make a problem to every opponent. On the other hand, Barcelona this season opted for the composition which is a combination of youth and experience, and have the highest quality at the guard positions, where playing Tomas Satoransky and Carlos Arroyo, followed by the legendary Juan Carlos Navarro, Pau Ribas and super-talented Alex Abrines. The player from whom all starts in the game of Lokomotiv Kuban is certainly point guard Malcolm Delaney, who plays perhaps the best season in Europe, and if the Barcelona players be able to stop him, will be closer to victory.
The last quarter-final pair that will fight for the Euroleague Final Four are Laboral Kutxa and Panathinaikos. These two teams have often met during the last 15 years, and the Greek team is more successful in those duels. However, Panathinaikos last seasons is not so dominant force in Europe, especially since Zeljko Obradovic left the bench after 13 years, which are considered as the most successful in the history of the club. The previous seasons club wandered, and often changed coaches, and now the chance has received the current coach of Serbia and a student of the legendary Obradovic, Aleksandar Djordjevic. To him and the players before the start of the season Management set as a goal placement on the Euroleague Final Four, and on that way now is standing Laboral Kutxa, which this season playing remarkable. Coach Velimir Perasovic, who once was a rival of Aleksandar Djordjevic on the court, doing an outstanding job today in a team that in a very difficult group F of Top 16 phase took second place, leaving behind teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid and Olympiakos, which sufficiently speaks about the power of the club from Vitoria. Panathinaikos has unconvincingly started a new season, but after the arrival of players like Elliot Williams, Vince Hunter and Marquez Haynes, the club started playing much better and got into a series of victories, so now full of confidence going on a duel with Laboral Kutxa, which on other side has its own trumps, primarily veteran center Ioannis Bourousis, who plays one of the best seasons in his career. A potential trouble for the team from Vitoria could represent an injury of the French guard Fabien Causeur. There is also a brilliant shooter Davis Bertans which only because of severe injuries now does not play in the NBA. Latvian shooter recently returned on the court, and already a few weeks ago has with a shot for 3 points in the last moments brought his team victory over Real Madrid. Coach Perasovic has found the right role for him in the team and his job is pretty clear – shoots when is in the open position, or runs out of blocks and shoot the basket. In this series is very difficult to predict the final winner, as both of these teams have their own advantages and flaws, so we expect a lot of tactical circumvention of two coaches.