CSKA Moscow will have to watch out for several talented players in Panathinaikos’ squad at the Euroleague Final Four and cannot afford to focus solely on point guard Dimitris Diamantidis, CSKA guard Milos Teodosic told RIA Novosti on Monday.
The Greek team will be CSKA’s semifinal opponent Friday in Istanbul when the Moscow team makes its ninth appearance at the Final Four in the last decade.
Focusing too heavily on Diamantidis could lead CSKA to overlook the threat posed by his teammates, such as former Memphis Grizzlies center Mike Batiste or ex-Indiana Pacers point guard Saruna Jasikevicius, Teodosic said.
“We can’t put him on a pedestal ahead of Panathinaikos’ other players, ones like Batiste or Jasikevicius,” he said.
Diamantidis remained the Greek team’s main threat, Teodosic said.
“Obviously the main player in Panathinaikos is Diamantidis. He’s one of the best players in Europe. I really respect him as a player,” he said.
CSKA beat Panathinaikos 78-76 and 91-75 in the first group stage of this season's Euroleague, but Teodosic said this did not mean another victory was on the cards in Istanbul.
"We played two games with Panathinaikos and we won them both, but the semifinal won't be similar to the group stage matches," he said.
Diamantidis was named Euroleague MVP and Final Four MVP as Panathinaikos charged to the 2011 Euroleague title, beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 78-70 in the final in Barcelona.
CSKA will be chasing its second Euroleague championship in the modern era in Istanbul, and its first title since 2008. The other semifinal pits Greek team Olympiacos against Spain’s Barcelona.