Tactics Breakdown: Tenerife v Peristeri Semi-Final

BELGRADE (Serbia) - I'm not sure whose idea it was to allow Kyle Guy and Marcelinho Huertas to team up and create a duo this deadly, but on behalf of every neutral fan of the game watching, I'd like to say thank you.

We are all very grateful to them for the chance to watch guard play as close to perfection as this. 

Tactics Breakdown: Tenerife v Peristeri Semi-Final

"We tried everything, we switched, we played high flat, we played trap in the last offenses, and sometimes you need to find your opponent also not on a good day, but they made everything." - Vassilis Spanoulis

In the Friday Semi-Final against Peristeri bwin, Guy set a new BCL Final Four single-game scoring record with 34 points, whilst Huertas Huertas dropped 27 points, pulled 9 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists as they steered Lenovo Tenerife to a 97-93 win.

Giorgi Shermadini also shone with 21 points and, if anything, may have been even more vital tactically. We will get to the explanation for that shortly, but regardless, the main thing to understand here is that any time you have three players combining for 82 points, there isn't much an opponent can do tactically.

"We tried everything, we switched, we played high flat, we played trap in the last offenses, and sometimes you need to find your opponent also not in a good day but they made everything," said Peristeri head coach Vassilis Spanoulis.

This first clip, below, highlights his point perfectly.  #2 Nemanja Dangubic is guarding Huertas and using his length and mobility to try and disrupt the Brazilian. Tenerife used a screen at half-court to loosen the pressure, and then we see a wing-to-guard screen, which Peristeri switched and that relieved Huertas from Dangubic.

On the next screen, we see Peristeri's big man Trevor Thompson (#32 ) use the high flat that Spanoulis spoke about and it worked. Tenerife were unable to create an advantage, but instead of moving the ball onto a different player as Tenerife may have done in years gone by, Huertas waited for Fran Guerra to come back and set him another screen on the ball, they flipped the angle of the screen late and Thompson was half a step late on the coverage.

With Huertas playing like this, that's all he needs. Also worth noting is that Joe Ragland was guarding Kyle Guy in the corner and reluctant to leave the best shooter on the floor to help on Guerra rolling to the rim.

That's not to say Spanoulis and Peristeri weren't getting any success tactically. In truth, they used a mixture of coverages and small ball lineups to control most of the first two quarters, regularly forcing uncharacteristic Tenerife turnovers.

We see a sequence of two straight possessions with a turnover from Huertas in the video below.

Peristeri used a drop coverage from Thompson in both clips and on both occasions they managed to get a hand in and knock the ball away just at the point of indecision, when the coverage is inviting Huertas to score but he was looking for a pass.

We mentioned earlier how important Shermadini was tactically. As the first half was drawing to a close, it was really the big Georgian that caused Peristeri the most problems.

The Greek side were using small ball lineups - with either Thompson or Nate Renfro at the five - and then switching ball screens. Watch below how Shermadini was able to punish the switch, scoring down low against two players.

There was also self-inflicted damage for Peristeri.

Early in the third quarter, Dangubic made a bucket and drew the foul to go to the line and put his team up three.

Then on the next play, they inexplicably managed to leave Kyle Guy open in transition. Guy made the shot and reached 20 points. Offensive players like that don't need help and Peristeri learned that, the hard way, in this game.

Huertas and Guy completely took over the game from that moment on. Huertas had a stretch where he scored 8 of Tenerife's first 11 points in the third quarter, with the other 3 points coming from that assist to Guy.

Perhaps the most representative stretch of this game's storyline was late in the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes to play and the Canarian side up by 8, the game looked dead and buried but in one sequence Thompson switched onto Huertas and forced a stop which was followed by Stelios Poulianitis hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the game - he had made five all season before that point.

In the next sequence Jermaine Love gambled and helped off Joan Sastre in the corner to stop Shermadini rolling to the rim. They forced the stop and Dangubic cut the lead to just 2 points.

On most nights, against most teams, these are the types of hero sequences that change the momentum and win games.

But not this night, and not against this Tenerife team.

Joan Sastre stole in and picked up an offensive rebound and putback for Tenerife and then Huertas iced the game from the free-throw line.

Peristeri really couldn't have done much more to try and win this game and come out of the game with their head held high, and no matter what happens in the Third-Place Game, their season has undoubtedly been a success.

On this occasion, their opponents, the two-time BCL Champions Lenovo Tenerife, were just too good.   


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