|Cibona hosts Unicaja in Zagreb, Croatia, on Thursday in a matchup of two teams jockeying for position in Group A. The two teams have already clinched Top 16 berths and now want to finish as high as possible in the group. Unicaja enters the game tied with Olympiacos for first place at 6-2, while Cibona and Maccabi Electra are right behind at 5-3. It will be a special game for Cibona combo guard Davor Kus, who played for Unicaja last season. Kus leads a solid Cibona backcourt that also offers point guard Earl Calloway, backup playmaker Vedran Princ and swingman Rawle Marshall. The addition of Alan Anderson at small forward only makes Cibona stronger, as he can offers his scoring skills. Anderson and Marshall are ready to face Jiri Welsch and Thomas Kelati, who has been in great shape recently. Calloway has a key matchup against assists leader Omar Cook, even though Carlos Cabezas is set to see extended playing time now that his injuries are a thing of the past. Meanwhile, Kus is ready for a big matchup against a player he knows well, Berni Rodriguez. Joseph Gomis could play a key role for Unicaja, as he is a dangerous scorer coming off the bench. The battle in the paint will be equally interesting, as Cibona relies on a pure post player in Niksa Prkacin to go against Robert Archibald. Cibona's main concern, however, will be stopping Marcus Haislip, a natural-born mismatch because of his versatility, shooting range and incredible athleticism. Luksa Andric and Vedran Vukusic are ready to battle against him and Boni Ndong. At small forward, Carlos Jimenez offers experience and shooting range, but he faces a similar player in Marin Rozic. Unicaja must play up-tempo and try to get Ndong and Haislip involved around the baskets. If its defense is at the same level as it was against Maccabi in Tel Aviv, Unicaja is the favorite in this game. Meanwhile, Cibona must try to run the break with Calloway and Marshall, so sealing the defensive rebounds will be a big key for the hosts. Cibona has already beaten Olympiacos and Maccabi in Zagreb, so head coach Velimir Perasvoic’s men will be confident and ready for an intense Euroleague game.
- Guard Davor Kus will face the club he played for last season. Kus spent the 2007-08 campaign in Spain with Unicaja. Seven players on Unicaja’s current roster are former teammates of his.
- Rawle Marshall scored a season-high 25 points and drilled 7 three-pointers in the last game against Unicaja back in November.
- Guard Earl Calloway has scored in double figures in seven straight games, averaging 15.6 points per game over that span.
- Big man Jared Homan blocked a total of 8 shots in the first three games of the season, but has not blocked any in the past five games.
- Newcomer Alan Anderson could make his first Euroleague appearance for Cibona this week. He stepped right in with 18 points and 5 rebounds in 23 minutes in his debut with the club in the Adriatic League over the weekend.
- Guard Omar Cook has dished at least 5 assists in each of his last five games and leads the Euroleague with 5.4 assists per game this season.
- Center Boniface NDong has averaged just 4 points per game in his last two appearances. NDong scored in double figures in the first six games of the season, averaging 14.3 points per game in that stretch.
- Guard Thomas Kelati has made at least 1 three-pointer in every game this season and leads the Euroleague with 23 three-pointers made.
- Forward Marcus Haislip scored a season-high 17 points in his last Euroleague outing before the winter break against Avellino.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009