|Two teams fighting for radically different goals in Group B meet in Vilnius, Lithuania, where Lietuvos Rytas welcomes Entente Orleanaise Loiret on Wednesday. L. Rytas is part of a three-way tie with Efes Pilsen and Partizan for third place at 3-3 and needs to add more wins to advance to the Top 16. Orleans is sixth at 0-6 and already faces a do-or-die situation, as it will be all but mathematically out of the Top 16 race if it loses at Siemens Arena. L. Rytas already downed Orleans 62-69 in Week 2 in France behind 16 points from Martynas Gecevicius. Bojan Popovic dished 9 assists in that game and stopping him will be one of the keys to this game for Orleans. With Vidas Ginevicius sidelined, Popovic is set to see most minutes on the court, with Evaldas Dainys coming off the bench. Orleans relies on Aldo Curti to speed up the game tempo and well-rounded veteran Laurent Sciarra to offer ball circulation, know-how and leadership off the guests' bench. Getting Popovic into foul trouble would increase Orleans's chances to upset L. Rytas. Arturas Jomantas and Gecevicius will see most of the minutes at the wings for L. Rytas, which likes to open the floor using Donatas Zavackas at power forward. Steponas Babrauskas offers intensity, defense and deep shooting range off the bench, while Justas Sinica is a deadly shooter that has been off target so far this season - but sank 3-of-7 three-pointers against Unicaja last season. Jomantas has a critical matchup against Anthony Dobbins, more athletic, but less experienced than him. Gecevicius is ready for a major shootout against Cedrick Banks, who sees most minutes at off-guard for Orleans. Austin Nichols gives Orleans more firepower and intensity and could have an advantage against Sinica and Jomantas. Orleans has a deep frontcourt that features solid big man Ryvon Covile, power forward Adrien Moerman, versatile swingman and three-point threat Justin Doelmann and up-and-coming center Ludovic Vaty. Covile is set for an old-school battle in the low post against Aron Baynes. Milko Bjelica should use his post skills and quickness against a good defender like Moerman. Meanwhile, Zavackas and Dejan Borovnjak have a tough mathcup against Doellman. L. Rytas must play up-tempo and be its usual self in defense to gave more chances to win a difficult game. Orleans must play the way it did in the first half against Olympiacos last week - aggressive defense, outstanding ball circulation and a fluid, fast offense led by Sciarra. Even though L. Rytas is the favorite, expect Orleans to be a tough opponent at Siemens Arena in its last chance to stay alive in the Top 16 race.
REFEREES: Recep Ankarali, Robert Lottermoser, Juan Carlos Garcia Gonzalez
Martynas Gecevicius has yet to miss a free throw in a Euroleague game, shooting 17 for 17 from the line in 24 career Euroleague appearances.
Gecevicius has made at least one three-pointer in nine straight Euroleague games.
Head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis has named the same starting lineup – Popovic, Genevicius, Jomantas, Zavackas and Baynes – in five of his team’s six games this season.
L. Rytas leads the Euroleague this season with 11.7 offensive rebounds per game.
Head coach Philippe Herve coached Lietuvos Rytas head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis as a player at French club Chalon during the 1996-97 season.
Justin Doellman scored a season-high 17 points last week against Olympiacos.
Doellman has made at least 1 three-pointer in five consecutive appearances.
Ryvon Covile recorded a season-high 4 blocked shots in Week 2 against Lietuvos Rytas.
Aldo Curti has recorded at least 1 steal in five straight appearances.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009