|A pivotal game in Group A will take place in Siena, Italy, where Montepaschi hosts Fenerbahce Ulker on Wednesday evening. Montepaschi is second in Group A with a 7-1 record and has already wrapped up a spot in the Top 16. Fenerbahce is tied for third place with Asvel Basket, each with a 3-5 record. It will seal its ticket to the Top 16 with a victory in Siena and a Cibona loss against Zalgiris in Kaunas. Fans in Siena will have the chance to witness a battle between two of the best point guards in the competition, Terrell McIntyre of Montepaschi and Lynn Greer of FB Ulker. McIntyre, a back-to-back All-Euroleague First Team selection, brings leadership, scoring, passing and defense to the table, but Greer is ready for the challenge. Nikos Zisis provides experience and smarts off the hosts' bench, but Fenerbahce counts on veteran playmaker Damir Mrsic to change the game rhythm with his shots from downtown. Montepaschi will be concerned with stopping Emir Preldzic, a tough mismatch due to his ball-handling skills, basketball IQ and size. Romain Sato could be the right man to guard him, as he can also put him into trouble with his physical game and strength. Preldzic will get help from off-guard Tarence Kinsey, defensive ace Omer Onan, sharp shooter Gordan Giricek and Serhan Cetin. Kinsey is ready to test his skills against the explosive David Hawkins. Meanwhile, Onan could see some minutes against Montepaschi bomber Henry Domercant. Marco Carrareto will come off the bench to offer defense and the occasional three-pointer. With Omer Asik sidelined long-term and Mirsad Turkcan not ready to face his former team, Oguz Savas and Semih Erden will see most of the minutes at center. Rasin Basak offers toughness and intensity at power forward, while head coach Bogdan Tanjevic may try to open the floor using Preldzic with either Savas or Erden. Erden must be ready to stop Ksistof Lavrinovic, a great outside shooter and rebounder. Savas must use his size and post skills against Ben Eze, but the X-factor for Montepaschi may well be captain Shaun Stonerook, who always takes care of all the small details that lead Montepaschi to win important games. Montepaschi must be its usual self in offense, with great ball circulation, opening the floor and running its game through McIntyre. FB Ulker must stop him, close the passing lines and find Savas and Erden down low to create more space for its shooters. Montepaschi must win to keep its chances of winning the group alive, while FB Ulker is desperate to get to the Top 16. Accordingly, expect an intense contest between two very talented teams.
REFEREES: Grzegorz Ziemblicki, Ilija Belosevic, Eddie Viator
All-Euroleague point guard Terrell McIntyre matched his career high with 6 three-pointers against Fenerbahce Ulker last season. He finished with 24 points and 6 assists in Montepaschi’s 87-79 Top 16 win in February.
McIntyre scored a season-high 25 points and made a season-high 5 three-pointers against FB Ulker when they met in Week 4.
McIntyre has drilled at least one three-pointer in 24 consecutive Euroleague games.
Henry Domercant has made 39 consecutive free throws dating back to last season.
Ben Eze scored a career-high16 points on 8-for-11 shooting in Montepaschi’s 87-79 win over Fenerbahce Ulker in the Top 16 last season. He also had 5 rebounds and 4 steals en route to a career-best 21 index.
Ben Eze needs just 1 more block to crack the top 10 on the Euroleague’s career shot-blocking charts. He is now tied with Real Madrid’s Jorge Garbajosa for 11th place with 79 career blocks. Marcus Haislip sits in 10th place.
Gordan Giricek swiped a career-high 5 steals in an 87-79 loss at Montepaschi Siena in the Top 16 last season.
Giricek scored a season-high 15 points against Cibona in his last Euroleague appearance.
Power forward Mirsad Turkcan played for Montepaschi Siena in the 2002-03 season. He helped the club reach the Final Four in Barcelona and was named the 2002-03 Euroleague Top 16 MVP and to the 2002-03 All-Euroleague Second Team. He was the MVP of the week in six out of the 21 games he played for Montepaschi that season and picked up 11 double-doubles.
Turkcan, Lynn Greer and Montepaschi big man Ksistof Lavrinovic were teammates at Dynamo Moscow during the 2004-05 season.
Turkcan has scored in double figures in eight consecutive Euroleague games. He has made at least one three-pointer in each of those games.
Oguz Savas has averaged 12 points and 5.3 rebounds per game at home this season, but just 2.3 points and 3.3 rebounds on the road.
Semih Erden set season highs with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks against Cibona in his last Euroleague appearance.
Tarence Kinsey matched his career-high with 21 points against Cibona in his last Euroleague appearance.
Emir Preldzic scored a career-high 18 points against Cibona in his last Euroleague appearance.
Tuesday, January 05, 2010