|A direct fight to rejoin the Top 16 race in Group A will take place in Lyon, France, where Asvel Basket hosts Cibona Zagreb on Wednesday. Asvel is looking for its first win after four consecutive losses, while Cibona is only slightly ahead with a 1-3 record. It will be a special game for Asvel forward Rawle Marshall, who not only Marshall returns to the Euroleague, but faces his former team right away. Marshall joins an interesting Asvel backcourt that already features combo guard Mindaugas Lukauskis, veteran shooter Laurent Foirest and forward Ben Dewar. Marshall has an interesting matchup against Jamont Gordon, while Lukauskis is set to use his defensive skills against Marko Tomas, Cibona's top scorer so far this season. Tomas has a nice combination of size, deep range and one-on-one skills, but two-time Eurocup champion Lukauskis is ready for the challenge. Bojan Bogdanovic and Marin Rozic will also play an important role for Cibonba. Bogdanovic must take advantage of his quickness against Dewar, while Rozic is a key piece for head coach Velimir Perasovic due to his defense and experience. The battle in the paint will be critical, even though both teams are without their starting centers, Dalibor Bagaric of Cibona and Curtis Borchardt of Asvel. Ali Traore has been unstoppable for Asvel, taking over in the low post with a fine array of moves highlighted by a deadly left-handed jump hook. Power forward Eric Campbell, versatile big man Kristjan Kangur and aggressive forward Victor Samnick are available to help Traore around the baskets. Without Bagaric, Cibona will try to open the court with Luksa Andric and Vedran Vukusic, taking advantage of their mobility and shooting range. Leon Radosevic offers rebounding skills and intensity off the bench, while Rozic may see playing time at power forward. Bobby Dixon is set to run Asvel's offense with Aymeric Jeanneau coming off the bench. Dixon faces a key matchup against Gordon and Antonio Graves. Cibona thrives in five-on-five offense, slowing the game tempo and using the extra pass to get open shots. Asvel must try to feed Traore down low and try to speed up the game. This crucial game promises a clash of styles, where the guards that play smartest could have the upper hands in the end.
REFEREES: Juan Carlos Mitjana, Gianpaolo Cicoria, Elias Koromilas
Asvel Basket looks to snap an 11-game Euroleague losing streak this week. Asvel’s last Euroleague win came at home against Zalgiris 85-83 in December 2004.
Ali Traore is averaging 20 points on 63.6% shooting, 8.7 rebounds and 1 block in the games in which he has started this season.
Rawle Marshall will make his first Euroleague appearance of the season after joining the club last week.
Marshall started last season with Cibona, where he averaged 13.1 points in eight Euroleague games and 13.5 points in eight Adriatic League games. He was a teammate of six players that are on the current Cibona roster.
Marin Rozic has made 14 consecutive free throws over his past seven Euroleague games.
Antonio Graves began his European career in France, playing 18 games for Pau-Orthez during the 2007-08 season. He was the French League's runner-up in scoring that season after averaging 20.4 points on 43.5% three-point shooting.
Graves scored a career-high 40-point performance in a French League road win against Asvel Basket in February 2008.
Marko Tomas has been Cibona’s top scorer in three of four Euroleague games this season.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009