Lottomatica Roma ended the regular basketball season with a loss against Bipop Carire RE, but that didnt stop the squad from sneaking into the sixth seed for Legabaskets Serie A play-offs, which kick off on 11 May. Lottomatica Roma will face Montepaschi Siena in the best-of-five series, with game two and a possible game four slated to be played in Rome on 14 and 19 May respectively.

Lottomatica Roma finished the regular season with a reasonable record of 18-16 after suffering several key injuries and a coaching change. The squad was anchored by point guard Tyus Edney, renowned by American basketball fans for propelling UCLA to the 1995 NCAA basketball title with a game-winning basket against Missouri as time expired considered to be among the finest plays in college basketball history.

The team will look to Edneys countrymen David Hawkins for some scoring in the post-season. An Honorable Mention All-American for Temple University in 2004, Hawkins joined the team only weeks ago, is its leading scorer and is a favourite with fans.

The two Americans are among seven international players on the team, with France, Belgium, Australia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic also represented. Italians take up the remaining eight spots, which include Luca Garri part of the 2004 Olympic team that took a silver in Athens and 17-year-old wunderkind Daniele Bonessio.

Legabasket is considered one of the stronger basketball leagues in Europe and has produced NBA stars such as San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili. The Italian style of basketball stresses defence and passing over sheer scoring, which is prominent in the NBA. This explains why Romes diminutive floor general Edney excels so well in Europe, as he was once considered the best point guard in the continent while playing with Treviso Benneton years ago.

Play-off tickets are on sale now, a treat for the basketball fan that enjoys solid, fundamental basketball without the NBA ego.

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