It’s what we were waiting for, it’s what we needed, and Barcelona and Anadolu Efes delivered. Emmet Ryan explains how the race for the final playoff spots is going to deliver a hot mess or two in Euroleague
Those who follow this site on Twitter will occasionally see us declare that a game has become a hot mess. The concept in basketball isn’t a whole lot different to how the noted source Urban Dictionary describes it: “When ones thoughts or appearance are in a state of disarray but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty.”
The formula BiE has devised for that in basketball is pretty simple: Lots of bad or idiotic basketball + crazy cool stuff + a highly competitive game = a hot mess. We really got one of those in Palau Blaugrana on Thursday night. The game began utterly terribly. Efes were able to force turnovers at will but, a solid 14 minutes into the game, still had as many steals as made bucket. They were mining iron for ages and reached the glorious threshold of 7 steals and 7 made field goals at one point before finally getting their offence going. Barcelona, for their part, weren’t exactly looking like they knew what they were doing. Moving with all the grace of two weeping angels looking at each other, Barca just couldn’t get anything going and were kept in the game early be the offensive ineptitude of the visitors.
Then we actually started to get a basketball game, thanks in no small part to Vitor Faverani. The Brazilian was a crucial factor in this game hitting hot mess territory. Off the bench he started making scores and then in the third quarter he had the perfect sequence to confirm the status of this game as a true hot mess.
La pierde pero… gorrazo de Faverani
Posteriormente, triple de Doellman pic.twitter.com/BeI2APOZAf
— KIA en Zona 🏀 (@kiaenzona) January 19, 2017
That sequence where he manages to make an absolutely bone-headed turnover, really out of form with the way he had played up to that point, and then chase like mad to make the block at the other end…despite having the knees of a 60 year-old…that’s what we’re talking about. The game really became more watchable as it wore on. Viewers who had stuck with the dross early were rewarded for their patience. Faverani’s exploits were obvious but then came Brandon Paul making three pointers for fun before Petteri Koponen went off in the final quarter.
The timing of the increased spark to this game, while coincidental, made it all the more attractive. Maccabi’s loss at home to Crvena Zvezda ended just as this game really started to heat up. It’s unlikely the players on either side knew what was happening in Tel Aviv but the impact on the night for the standings meant those following at home really got what they needed.
This is what the fringe looks like. Teams on the bubble for making the playoffs are not going to be rock solid for 40 minutes but they aren’t so bad that they can’t deliver something fun when up against each other. Efes have been a hot mess machine in recent years, easily the most reliable team for delivering a game like this. Rob Scott summed it up as well as anyone else.
This is a pretty good bad game
— Rob Scott (@robscott33) December 9, 2016
That tweet was from over a month ago but it sums up what to expect from Efes in Euroleague and the addition of Faverani makes Barca promising for a few more hot messes as we hit the run-in. Faverani played NBA ball two years ago, has obvious offensive talent, yet is a liability on defence, and you never know when the knees are going to go. The man is a walking basketball hot mess.
Next Tuesday’s trip to Panathinaikos doesn’t really scream of hot mess territory, the Athens club seems a bit too good for the game to play out quite like that, but there are plenty of other games left on the docket for Barca to deliver a few more like last night. As for Efes, well they are just so reliable on this front. On Wednesday it’s a home date with Darussafaka Dogus. Dacka hold eighth spot right now, the upside of the fringe, and this Istanbul derby screams of hot mess territory.
Classics are good, well they are great, but if the only kind of good game to watch was a classic we’d miss out. Sometimes you need a game with enough flaws to make it watchable in a different way.