|The Polish champion hosts the Greek champion in an important Group B clash over the weekend between Asseco Prokom and Panathinaikos. Prokom is in fourth place with a 2-2 record, but has started the season in superb form at home. Prokom has won both its games in Poland thanks to excellent play from the backcourt of Dan Ewing and David Logan and a strong defense that limited its opponents to 61 points per game. Meanwhile Panathinaikos is in a three-way tie for the top spot in the group with a 3-1 mark. Its only loss did come on the road at Barcelona, where Prokom also lost two weeks ago. This game will be a clash of two of the most talented backcourt in the competition this season. Prokom head coach Tomas Pacesas, a former Euroleague point guard himself, puts his team in the hands of Ewing and Logan, whose combined 32.5 points per game make them the highest scoring guard duo in the league. Aleksej Nesovic has been reliable in reserve too. However Panathinaikos’s guard rotation is as deep as it gets, with Sarunas Jasikevicius, Dimitris Diamantidis, Vassilis Spanoulis and Drew Nicholas playing the majority of the time and Dusan Kecman and Nikos Hatzivrettas coming on for special assignments. Stratos Perperoglou supports them from the small forward spot, where he will be tested by Ronnie Burrell and Filip Dylewicz. In the paint, Pat Burke, Koko Archibong and rookie starter Adam Hrycaniuk will battle the likes of Mike Batiste, Nikola Pekovic, Antonis Fotsis and Kostas Tsartsaris. Prokom will have a few issues it must deal with to hold off the Greens, including avoiding foul trouble and controlling the glass, where it currently ranks atop the Euroleague with 37.3 rebounds per game. The battle at the small forward position could have major impact on the outcome, since Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic will likely use a three-guard lineup at times, which could cause Prokom trouble if it wants to use the bigger Burrell or Dylewicz. However, if Prokom can flip that advantage and use its size there to score and rebound, the hosts will have a real chance to remain perfect at home, where they have won five straight dating back to last season.
- Center Pat Burke spent three seasons early in career playing for his next opponent, Panathinaikos. Burke won the 2000 Euroleague with Panathinaikos and three Greek League crowns with the Greens between 1999 and 2001. He played under current Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic and alongside forwards Fragiskos Alvertis and Antonis Fotsis.
- Asseco Prokom has now won five consecutive Euroleague home games dating back to last season. The club lost its first home game under head coach Tomas Pacesas shortly after he took over midway through last season, but the club bounced back and has not lost at home since.
- Guard David Logan’s scoring has decreased in each Euroleague game so far this season, starting with 25 in the season openers down to 8 points in Week 4.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008