Reunions and revalidations in Euroleague quarterfinals | Sports

Zeljko Obradovic on the way to Real Madrid and Saras Jasikevicius back to Kaunas with Barça. The quarterfinals of the Euroleague mix for the Spanish teams the nostalgia of the past, the demands of the present and the doubts of the future. The white team starts this Tuesday at home (8:45 p.m., Dazn) the series that opens the door to the Final Four against a team that shows off its brightest star on the bench. Obradovic is the owner of nine European Cups, one of them in his white triennium (1994-97). He is the great European totem, the wise man who knows everything and whose slate of a thousand scribbles will put Chus Mateo to the test in his first year as Madrid’s head coach after the Pablo Laso era. “When I was in the quarry he was already winning European Cups. I was going to watch him train. He is a reference, a beast. I have always admired him ”, Mateo assumed yesterday.

The course is a continuous exam for the Madrid coach, 54 years old, nine years younger than Zeljko. From linking the triumph in the last League to winning the Super Cup, losing in the Cup semifinals, being third in the regular phase of the Euroleague (23 victories, like Barça, one behind Olympiacos) and being behind Baskonia and the azulgrana now in the ACB. Mateo under the magnifying glass and under the long shadow of Laso, winner of 22 titles.

The demand is maximum for the whites due to the loss of Poirier, operated on for appendicitis and which leaves Tavares as the only five pure, and due to the lack of rest, barely 48 hours between his match against Joventut in Badalona and the appointment against Partizán . “We must empty ourselves. It is the hardest thing of the year”, Mateo commented this Monday. “We are at our best moment of the season, at a very high level of chemistry. We needed time,” Hezonja explained. Opposite, a Partizan that scores a lot but also allows scoring, with abundant possessions per game and above all hooked on the boiler of the Stark Arena in Belgrade, the pavilion that in the regular phase has registered the highest average attendance per game: 17,763 spectators, for the 14,801 of Zalguiris (Baskonia, 8,911; Madrid, 7,625; Barça, 6,291; and Valencia, 5,995).

Barça will host Zalgiris this Wednesday (8:00 p.m., Dazn) in another sentimental reunion, that of Jasikevicius with the Kaunas team. It was his last set as a player, there where he was filmed as an assistant and where he was head coach for four years (2016-2020) before joining the Palau. Barça recruited one of his myths with the focus on lifting the Euroleague, but he has crashed in the final against Efes and in the semifinal against Madrid in the last two courses. A new disappointment could condition the future of Saras on the Barça bench after each summer the club gave the squad another twist.

Barça and Madrid will once again be rivals in the first step of the Final Four if they both make it past the quarterfinals. The target is in Kaunas, the venue that will decide the champion from May 19 to 21. On the other side of the table, Olympiacos-Fenerbahçe and Monaco-Maccabi. Along the way, the champion of the last two years, Ergin Ataman’s Efes, fell in 11th position with 17 wins and 17 losses despite his luxury roster: Larkin, Micic, Clyburn, Polonara, Zizic… Outside the Turkish team, and without Russian teams, the Euroleague is open to any applicant.

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