Two teams with different momentums, Partizan Igokea and Lottomatica Roma, square off in a big Group C showdown in Belgrade, Serbia, on Wednesday night. Partizan has registered back-to-back defeats and hopes to break its negative streak, while Lottomatica comes off its first win in the competition and is ready for the big challenge in Belgrade. Above all, Lottomatica's main concern will be slowing Nikola Pekovic, who has averaged 28.5 points on 21-for-24 two-point shooting in two Euroleague games at Pionir Arena this season. Pekovic, however, was limited to just 6 points last week, as Real Madrid managed to double-team him on each and every occasion, so Lottomatica knows it needs physical defense against him. Pekovic leads a strong Partizan frontcourt that also features Dejan Borovnjak, Novica Velickovic and 2.29-meter center Slavko Vranes. Lottomatica, still without Erik Daniels, Christian Drejer and Simone Bagnoli, counts on Roberto Gabini to play physical defense against Pekovic, while using talented big men Gregor Fucka and Erazem Lorbek at the other end, as both can use their versatility and shooting range against the entire Partizan frontcourt. The point guard battle will be crucial, as Partizan counts on Milt Palacio to carry on playing well against Roma's young star Roko-Leni Ukic, who is having a career season so far. Jacopo Giachetti will be ready to step off the bench to help Ukic, while Partizan counts on Petar Bozic. Partizan is really solid at both wings, with streak shooter Uros Tripkovic, do-it-all swingman Milenko Tepic, versatile forward Cedomir Vitkovac and defensive ace Dusan Kecman. Tripkovic will be testing his shooting skills against Jon Stefansson, while Vitkovac, Kecman and Tepic will have the tough mission to slow David Hawkins and Allan Ray. Partizan will try to speed up the game tempo while trying to get Pekovic involved. Meanwhile, Roma will stay loyal to its offense, in which any player can be dangerous and score from outside. Expect a battle of basketball styles, as both teams try to reach higher in Group C.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007