Aris BSA 2003 and Hapoel Jerusalem offer a match-up of the two 1-0 teams atop Group C in Week 2 of the Eurocup regular season. Hapoel travels to Aris’s home court after a convincing Week 1 victory over BC Siauliai, while the hosts have already shown they know how to win on the road having dominated KK Zadar in Croatia. Aris now will look to its fans to help it improve to 2-0, but that will most likely prove to be easier said than done, however, as Hapoel deploys a very well-balanced attack with multiple weapons to choose from. On opening day, its starting frontcourt of Kevinn Pinkney, Leo Lyons and Dijon Thompson had a field day versus Siauliai’s big men. Thompson was huge with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block. Pinkney racked up 16 points and 7 boards, and Lyons chipped in with 8 points and 5 rebounds. The will have some extra help this week with sharp-shooting forward Sharon Shason available. The Hapoel quartet will have a more difficult challenge to face this week. In Andy Betts, Aris has one of the toughest centers in Europe, and this hard-nosed competitor will be looking to better his Week 1 line of 3 points and 5 boards. Flanking Betts, Aris can count on forwards Michailis Kakiouzis, who came off the bench on opening day for 29 valuable minutes, and starter Dimos Dikoudis. The major battle, judging from the two teams’ Week 1 victories, will most likely come in the backcourt where both squads boast natural scorers. Versus KK Zadar, Aris opened the game with a three-guard set of Keydren Clark, Jeremy Richardson and Juan Dixon while backups Aaron Miles and Nikos Hatzivrettas made significant contributions. Clark led his team with 16 points; Hatzivrettas had 15, and Richardson added 12. Hapoel will counterpunch with starters Tre Simmons, who had 19 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in Week 1, and Yuval Naimy, who added 9 points and 5 assists. To spell them, recent pick-up Pooh Jeter, who arrived from Unicaja just in time to score 10 points in 28 minutes against Siauliai, may either repeat his role as sixth man of perhaps get the start this week. In a meeting between two such evenly matched teams, the difference between victory and defeat could very well hinge on the little details down the stretch.
REFEREES: Guerrino Cerebuch, Milija Vojinovic, Rustu Nuran
Monday, November 30, 2009