The main conclusion from the Final Four in Malaga: the hunger and lust of the Hapoel fans is different from that of the yellow rival from Tel Aviv. With the Reds, it is a feeling of hunger and an underdog that drives it and it is doubtful that it will ever disappear
Published on: 18.5.23 11:42
By: Ofer Matan
1. Among the things that stood out the most at the end of the Final Four weekend in Málaga was how much the Hapoel fans’ passion for basketball is greater than that of its rivals’ fans. Boon fans are a sympathetic bunch of welcoming people, who are completely alien to treating the sport as an identity battleground; The Málaga fans treat the game as entertainment, cheering with applause and wind instruments and finished getting upset about the loss in the semi-finals within fifteen minutes; And anyone who knows anything about the existence of Tenerife fans is asked to go to the savior’s pavilion. Against all these stood 4,000 people in red, most of whom finished the weekend hoarse, with sore feet and a chronic cough from inhaling an unreasonable amount of flare smoke.
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One must not be tempted to include the Jerusalem passion for basketball as part of an all-Israeli sports passion, that is, to put them and the Maccabi fans in the same boat (there were some “fans of the industry” who claimed this in recent days). There is a fundamental difference between the madness of Maccabi fans in the Purim Final of the Euroleague, which is based on a lust for conquest and binge eating, and the lust of Hapoel fans whose fuel is hunger and the feeling of being an underdog, which it is doubtful that will ever disappear. In the end, with 4,000 reds shouting “Futa Tenerife, Futa Tenerife!” He snorted in his throat on the soil of Spain – their collective subconscious sees in front of him Shimon Mizrahi and not Marsilinho Huertes.
But the red lust comes with modesty, and few of those who went to the Final Four came back feeling that their team had failed. In the raucous conversations held by Hapoel fans on Sunday night in the few Malaga eateries that remained open even after midnight, many compliments were heard for the mesmerizing TJ Shorts and not a little appreciation for Džikić’s players who gave everything they had. It was not a good game for Hapoel, everyone agreed, but they also added that losing in the Champions Final is probably the ceiling of this team’s ability, and that it is an impressive piece of ceiling, and by the way, pass me the yogurt sauce because this doner kebab is horribly mediocre and dry for God’s sake.
2. In contrast to speaking as if Hapoel lost the final defensively, and specifically because it failed to narrow the steps of Shorts the cat, I think it actually lost the game in attack. On a visual level, the most noticeable difference between Bonn’s and Hapoel’s attacks was that the ball in the German attacks went in and out of the paint all the time, including quite a few penetrating baskets, while the Hapoel players hardly ever penetrated the paint and rarely scored from there (except for a few cases and baskets after an offensive rebound). The only one who played offensively was the mighty Leway Randolph, but he made most of his field goals on 2-pointers from the three-point arc and not on penetration.
In the end, the two structural issues with the roster (which were visible as early as October) were the reason why she was unable to penetrate or get balls to Zach Hankins. The first is the absence of a player with outside shooting in position 4 who can clear the paint to the most talented center in the factory, and the second is that Hapoel’s two centers, Smith and Brown, do not really penetrate the basket. Boon knew that these were Hapoel’s weak points and therefore stuck to the players in red in defense. They just didn’t believe any of them would be able to get past their guard except for Carrington, who unfortunately fell on an offensive dark day.
Regardless of the question of whether Hapoel will be able to win a championship or not, these two structural problems should be the starting point for this coming summer: the signing of a talented stretch 4 who knows how to both shoot threes and defend, and the signing of a senior center who knows how to both penetrate and create shooting situations for himself from the outside, alongside Or instead of Smith. When your wallet reads Matan Adelson, these assignments can be a ton of fun for Dzikic and Jonathan Alon.