|A direct showdown to take pole position in Group B is set to take place in Barcelona, Spain, where Regal FCB hosts Montepaschi Siena on Wednesday night. Both teams are tied atop the Group B standings with a 6-1 record, so the winner will take a step forwards in the Top 16 race. Montepaschi downed Barcelona 71-61 in Siena earlier this season and a 2-0 record against the Spanish powerhouse would be critical for the outcome of this group. Barcelona is injury-free for this game, as Victor Sada rejoined Barcelona last week. Sada is set to offer physical and passing skills, sharing the point guard duties with Andre Barrett and Jaka Lakovic. Meanwhile, Montepaschi may be without backup point guard Morris Finley, who missed his team's last two games. If Finley is sidelined, All-Euroleague guard Terrell McIntyre will see extended playing time, so Sada's defensive work on him may well become the key to this game. Marco Carrareto, however, will be ready to come off the bench to provide intensity and defense. Montepaschi has a little advantage at both wings, as it features shooting ace Rimantas Kaukenas, physical forward and former Barcelona player Romain Sato and all-around scorer Henry Domercant. Kaukenas will have an advantage in offense if coach Xavi Pascual opts to play with Juan Carlos Navarro or Lakovic at off-guard. Both players are natural-born miss-matches, however, with unlimited range, quickness and experience. Lubos Barton is ready for a key matchup against Sato, while Roger Grimau will have to work hard against Domercant. The battle in the paint will be equally interesting, as Barcelona is more athletic inside with Ersan Ilyasova, Fran Vazquez and former Montepaschi center David Andersen. Vazquez and Andersen will be most focused on stopping Ksistof Lavrinovic, who has been unstoppable lately. Ilyasova will test his game knowledge and shooting range against Shaun Stonerook, while Benjamin Eze is ready for a big battle in the paint against Daniel Santiago. Barcelona needs to get Navarro involved and stop McIntyre, who gets the guests' run-and-gun, extra pass offense going. Meanwhile, Montepaschi must make the most out of its physical advantage at shooting guard and small forward, with Kaukenas and Domercant playing a major role. Intensity and passion will be high in this high-stakes clash between two of the best teams on the continent.
Regal FC Barcelona
- Teammates David Andersen and Gianluca Basile can become the leaders for the most career appearances in the competition this decade when they take the floor Wednesday. They enter the game tied with former Barca player Denis Marconato with 165 Euroleague Basketball appearances, but will both overtake him when they check in.
- Center David Andersen played for his team’s Week 8 opponent, Montepaschi Siena, during the 2003-04 season. Andersen helped Montepaschi reach the Euroleague Basketball Final Four in Tel Aviv and win the Italian League title.
- Forward Jordi Trias needs just 1 more blocked shot to reach 50 for his Euroleague Basketball career.
- Guard Juan Carlos Navarro is best known for his scoring ability, but he has recorded at least 5 assists in the last three games and at least 2 assists in 11 consecutive Euroleague games.
- Shooting guard Henry Domercant has made at least 1 three-pointer in 12 consecutive Euroleague appearances.
- Domercant recorded the best individual performance of his Euroleague career against Barcelona. In November 2005, Domercant scored 23 points, grabbed 8 rebounds and picked up 3 steals for a 31 index as he led his team at the time, Efes Pilsen, to a 66-63 win.
- Forward Shaun Stonerook has made at least 1 steal in 23 consecutive Euroleague appearances.
- Small forward Romain Sato reinforced Barcelona for the 2006 Spanish League playoffs. He was a teammate of four current Barcelona players: Juan Carlos Navarro, Jordi Trias, Gianluca Basile and Roger Grimau. This will be Sato’s first meeting with Barcelona since he left.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008