Two teams with opposite dynamics will meet in Round 7 when Darussafaka hosts Milan in Istanbul. Dacka has lost its last four games, the last one at FC Bayern Munich in a tough manner despite 20 points and 8 rebounds by Jeremy Evans. Milan also lost against CSKA in Round 6 after three straight wins, as Vladimir Micov had a great night with 24 points. Coming from losses, both teams will want to get back to the winning path ASAP.
Michael Eric and Arturas Gudaitis are two big men that are shining in this first part of the season. Eric is averaging 11.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and a PIR of 14.5 for Dacka. Gudaitis comes off the bench for Milan and his numbers are equally impressive: 12.8 points, 7.2 boards, 1.5 steals and a PIR of 20.7. The battle in the paint promises to be one of the hot spots in Istanbul on Thursday night.
The visiting team should not have trouble picking a place to eat in Istanbul. Head coach Simone Pianigiani and three of his players have all lived in the Turkish metropolis in the past. Pianigiani coached Fenerbahce during the 2012-13 season; Dairis Bertans suited up for Darussafaka two seasons ago; Vlado Micov played three seasons for Galatasaray from 2014 through 2017; and Curtis Jerrells has spent time with Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Galatasaray.
Keys to victory: Darussafaka
Darussafaka is in a delicate situation. It has only won one game so far and its last loss in Munich by 46 points to Bayern was painful. The team has the second-weakest offense in the competition (72.6 ppg.) and also the second-weakest defense (88.0 ppg.). Dacka needs to regroup and quickly. The most noticeable thing is its league-low three-point shooting (28.8%), so better selection from that distance and tougher defense could go a long way for the hosts at this point.
Keys to victory: Milan
Milan is a team that does not stand out in any major statistical categories, but at the same time it plays like a unit and is consistently among the better teams in most areas. If Mike James (18.7 ppg.), Vlado Micov (16.3 ppg.) and Gudaitis deliver, the rest of the team regroups and contributes as a unit. That's the big secret for this team and there's no reason to stray from it.