Virtus still with shiver, Venice gives in only on the mermaid. The report cards.

Virtus still with shiver, Venice gives in only on the mermaid. The report cards.
Virtus still with shiver, Venice gives in only on the mermaid. The report cards.

05.01.2024, Basketball Euroleague, Season 2023 2024, Herren, Alba Berlin – Virtus Segafredo Bologna, Copyright. Alexander Trienitz. Alessandro Pajola (Virtus Segafredo Bologna, No6) *** 05 01 2024, Basketball Euroleague, Season 2023 2024, Men, Alba Berlin Virtus Segafredo Bologna, Copyright Alexander Trienitz Alessandro Pajola Virtus Segafredo Bologna, No6

Second act of the semi-final with a potential Shakespearean duration between Virtus Bologna and Reyer Venezia. After extra time on Friday evening, the first question that arises is how hard the battle has affected the two teams, especially the older players. In Reyer, Kabengele doesn’t warm up. The 12 chosen by Luca Banchi have been confirmed, with Dobric inside and Lomazs in the stands. Among the themes of the match, certainly the countermeasures that Banchi will have prepared for the excellent Tessitori in game 1; Tucker, who will try not to repeat Friday’s match; and the defense on Belinelli, a true star.

The memory of the Virtussino public is confirmed to be short, as even today they booed loudly in the presentation of both Marco Spissu and Amedeo Tessitori, recent protagonists of beautiful pages in black and white. You are born gentlemen, someone said. And not all were born modestly.

Virtus comes out strong from the blocks with Pajola active in attack and who seems to double up in defense and in general all the Bianconeri concentrated behind, 14-2 at 5’30. Literally only Tessitori scores for 8 minutes, for Venezia, while on the other side Virtus distributes the points. The performers change but the Virtus defense remains of the highest level, and Reyer manages, thanks to Heidegger, from the line and three points, to limit the deficit of a terrifying first quarter, 28-15 Virtus.

Triple by De Nicolao at the start for -10 which sounds like a deal for Reyer. Virtus, however, is tied tonight, and a new break arrives – coincidentally with Pajola’s return to the pitch – for 35-17 with 7 minutes left. The Juventus attack stops and Venezia returns to producing with the usual Tessitori who seems unable to be stopped. Marco Belinelli’s moment arrives and tonight he doesn’t force anything but hits from the arc when it hurts the most. Meanwhile, one of the three Pajolas on the pitch assists, the other steals the ball, the other defends on Spissu who doesn’t see the light. Incredible match from Ancona. Dobric misses a counterattack but Virtus leads 47-30 at halftime.

Unpublished quintet for Banchi at the beginning of the third quarter, Virtus continues where they left off, +20 with Cordinier from the line. The quarter is fragmented, with many pauses, and the match becomes nervous also thanks to frankly low-quality refereeing. However, minutes passed without Reyer getting significantly closer until two minutes from the end, when Pajola’s fourth foul opened a small crisis for the Bianconeri who suddenly found themselves from +17 to +7 at the end of the third quarter.

Fifth foul for Shengelia at the start of the last quarter and Reyer gets even closer, -4 at 5’43″’. Virtus without Pajola is another team, and no better. Reyer approaches and when Banchi puts the Ancona point guard back on, quite a few cattle have escaped. Pajola again restores some order, which Cordinier escapes and attacks with his head down with mixed success, and Venezia, incredibly, overtakes with 3′ left. We score above all from the line and Hackett, having a bad evening, makes 1 of 2. Great breakthrough by Tucker taken by Cordinier, last attack for Virtus with 20 ″. Again the Frenchman in attack breaks the French defense with a penetration on which two free throws are awarded. 2/2 by Cordinier who is also the protagonist of the last defense on Tucker who fails to shoot. There was a sigh of relief for Virtus who held serve, 79-78 at the end, with Venezia one step away from completing a sensational comeback.

Virtus Segafredo Bologna

Lanyard 7: He plays a lot, in defense he still does a good job on Tucker but in attack he is often confusing, he often attacks alone, come on, he doesn’t achieve much then he becomes the protagonist in the end with the breakthrough taken by Tucker and the last penetration, rewarded by a whistle in favor. Very good at making the decisive 2/2 from the line.

Belinelli 7.5: Another splendid game from the captain, without forcing anything, providing assists, a magnificent one, for his teammates, and all in all better than other times in defence.

Pajola 7: average between the 9 he deserves for what he does on the pitch and the 5 for not having yet understood that he is the fundamental player of the team, the balance, and he cannot manage his fouls so badly. Virtus needs his beacon to be on the pitch for as long as possible.

Dobrich 5.5: he also plays as a guard, in defense he is generous but not always tidy, in attack he doesn’t find rhythm.

Male 5: he doesn’t repeat Friday’s performance, he’s disorganized in attack, he can’t hold anyone in defence, game 3 will be better.

Hackett 5: The moment of enormous difficulty for Forlimpopoli’s playmaker continues. Physically behind, nervous, he doesn’t respond when he is needed due to Pajola’s foul problems.

Shengelia 5: one of the worst of the year for the Georgian, put in difficulty by both Simms and Parks. He commits 5 fouls in less than 15 minutes of play.

Mickey 6.5: he plays little, but rather well in attack; in defense he doesn’t go down against Tessitori and Simms.

Polonara 7: Among the best of his, points, rebounds, confidence in replacing Shengelia.

Zizic 6.5: Tonight under the basket he makes a loud voice but, inexplicably, he only plays 8 minutes when he was holding up well against Tessitori and Simms and was dirtying many of the trajectories of the shots of Venezia’s wingers.

Dunston 6.5: tonight he does his thing in attack but the 0 rebounds speaks of a difficult match against the physicality of the opponents.

Abass 6: he plays a lot in bits and pieces and is unable to find continuity in attack. In defense however he is very incisive especially on Tucker who finds the most difficult moments with him.

Umana Reyer Venice

Spissu 6: when Pajola is on the pitch, he doesn’t see the light. When he’s not there he’s good at taking advantage of spaces.

Weavers 7: he doesn’t repeat Friday’s test but is still a factor both on the scoreboard and in rebounding.

Heidegger 6: only a flash at the end of the first quarter, tonight he is in great difficulty against the Juventus wingers.

Casarin 5.5: another difficult match for him, the physicality of the Bianconeri understandably suffers.

De Nicolao 6.5: better than Spissu tonight, he makes baskets consistently, he gets the team moving and they run a little more with him, he does what he can in defense against Hackett.

Jenelidze ne

Kabengele ne

Parks 6.5: for a long time not very productive in attack but puts Shengelia in difficulty with his athleticism, giving a good hand to Simms. He comes out in the finale, like on Friday.

Brooks 6: brief appearance, with a nice basket.

Simms 7: today he wins the duel with Shengelia, he always puts his body, disturbs receptions, does not allow the Georgian to take a position where he would like. He also does well in attack, even when used for a long time as a 5.

Wiltjer 5: the period of unjustified absence continues.

Tucker 7: he shows enormous intelligence in understanding how not to get caught up in the defense that had limited him so much in game 1. He doesn’t force anything, he defends strongly, he is the best of his team even if he fails to shoot on the decisive possession.

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