|Asseco Prokom will look to halt an eight-game losing streak and climb into contention for a quarterfinal berth when it hosts Armani Jeans Milano on Thursday evening in Group E. Prokom lost its Top 16 opener 99-77 at Tau Ceramica last week, but will have a new look with forward Qyntel Woods in the squad for the first time this week. In addition, the club’s other new signing, point guard Tyrone Brazelton, has had another week to gel with his new teammates. Meanwhile Armani Jeans opened the Top 16 with a home win over Olympiacos in which Luca Vitali and David Hawkins produced 15 points apiece ad forward Mike Hall added some clutch plays down the stretch. The win was Milano’s fourth in a row and sixth in its last seven Euroleague games. However, only one of those wins has come on the road. Like Prokom, Armani Jeans has a pair of new faces that it is working into its lineup – playmaker Hollis Price, who played 23 minutes off the bench last week, and power forward Maurice Taylor, who has yet to suit up for head coach Piero Bucchi. On paper these teams match up well with one another. The Polish champs’ strength is in its backcourt, where Brazelton teams with Dan Ewing and David Logan to form a quick and good-shooting trio. Milano has Vitali, Hawkins, Jobey Thomas and Yohann Sangare in addition to Price and will often play with a three-guard lineup. Woods joins Filip Dylewicz, Ronnie Burrell and Koko Archibong at forward, while Pat Burke and Adam Hrycaniuk form the center tandem. Pape Sow and Hall start at center and power forward, respectively, for Milano, though Hall can slide to small forward if Bucchi wants a bigger lineup. Rebounding machine Mason Rocca and the athletic Mindaugas Katelynas are Milano’s most important big men on the bench. The key to the game could be at the small forward. If Milano tries to play a faster pace with Hawkins or Thomas at the three position, Prokom will have to decide whether to respond with three guards or by trying to take the advantage at the other end with a taller Burrell or Woods. And if Milano needs Hall to slide to small forward for that matchup, will it have enough depth to handle Burke on the blocks. The answer to those questions could reveal the winner of this crucial encounter between to teams looking to make a move towards the Quarterfinal Playoffs.
Armani Jeans Milano
- Center Pat Burke has improved his production over the course of the season, averaging 14.3 points and 10.8 rebounds in his last four Euroleague games – including a pair of double-doubles.
- Forward Qyntel Woods could make his first Euroleague appearance with Prokom on Thursday against Armani Jeans.
- Guard David Logan has recorded at least 1 steal in 10 straight games this season.
- Big man Pape Sow played for Asseco Prokom last season, helping the team win the Polish League championship. He played under Prokom’s head coach Tomas Pacesas and alongside current players Filip Dylewicz, Adam Lapeta and Przemyslaw Zamojski.
- Power forward Maurice Taylor could make his Euroleague debut on Thursday against Asseco Prokom.
- Guard Jobey Thomas has made at least 1 three-pointer in every game this season.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009