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2024 EuroLeague Final Four: Hedgeout.net previews Real Madrid vs Panathinaikos Championship Game

Since the new regular season round-robin format was introduced in the 2016/17 season, the top two teams had never reached the final. Real Madrid and Panathinaikos did so relatively easily by eliminating Olympiacos and Fenerbahce respectively, in two games where different types of basketball games were played.

Similar to the semifinal game, where a significant amount of their field goals were made in early-offense situations, Real Madrid will try to push the tempo and get some early buckets. Panathinaikos’ transition defense was not at high standards this season (although in the semifinal game it was definitely better), so this is definitely a key point.

Regarding the defense, the Merengues are expected to focus on denying the low-post entry to Mathias Lessort as they did in the game against Olympiacos where the Reds’ big men (Moustapha Fall, Nikola Milutinov, Moses Wright) only attempted one field goal and two free throws. Of course, Eddy Tavares’ low post defensive skills can make a huge difference.

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Also, one very interesting point is how they will defend against PAO’s pick and roll (Fenerbahce involved 3 players and their big was in drop coverage mostly).

For the Greens, as always, their offensive game depends heavily on the individual skills of their guards. Kendrick Nunn will be the focus of Ataman’s plays, while Kostas Sloukas is expected to be the main decision-maker when he is on the court.

In my opinion, PAO’s chances will improve significantly if their wings (Papapetrou and Grigonis) display elite 3-and-D characteristics.

Also, Panathinaikos’ strength all year long is their half-court defense, and maybe the hardest and most important fight for them will be whether they can force Real Madrid to a slower tempo.

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