|A big fight for different goals in Group D is scheduled for Wedneday when Asseco Prokom hosts Real Madrid in Gdynia, Poland. Madrid is tied with Panathinaikos for first place in Group D at 5-1 and will advance to the Top 16 if it downs Prokom on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Prokom is fourth in Group D at 2-4 and will take a huge step forwards to clinch a Top 16 berth with a win against Madrid. It won't be an easy task, however, as Prokom lost its three previous game against the Spanish powerhouse and Madrid's only loss in Poland came on April 4, 1962. Madrid may be without Louis Bullock, who missed a Spanish League game this weekend due to a knee injury. If Bullock is sidelined, Rimantas Kaukenas and Travis Hansen are set to see most of the minutes at the wings. Sergi Vidal offers defense and experience off the bench. Vidal has a critical matchup against Qyntel Woods, who comes off a 25-point game against EWE Baskets Oldenburg last week. Woods is a natural-born mismatch due to his ball-handling, talent and one-on-one skills. Meanwhile, Kaukenas and Hansen are ready to test their shooting skills against David Logan, an outstanding scorer ready to pull the trigger at any time. Piotr Szczkota and Lukasz Seweryn may see some playing time off the bench. Prokom must be concerned with stopping Pablo Prigioni, Madrid's floor general and head coach Ettore Messina's extension on the floor. Sergio Llull is his perfect complement due to his quickness, driving skills and up-tempo game. Both players have been sharing playing time in crunch time, too. Prigioni has an interesting matchup against Daniel Ewing, with Llull ready come off the bench to face Junior Harrington or use his defensive skills against Logan. Madrid is really deep around the baskets, with versatile forward Novica Velickovic as its key player. Coach Messina has been using him mostly at power forward, but he may start at the '3' position against Woods, with World and European champions Felipe Reyes and Jorge Garbajosa playing inside. Darjus Lavrinovic offers deep range, post skills and blocked shots off the bench, with Tomas Van den Spiegel providing size, defense and know-how. Velickovic faces Ronnie Burrell, who will try to take him to the low post to get him into foul trouble. Garbajosa and Lavrinovic need to open the court against Pape Sow and Adam Hrycaniuk. Garbajosa must also face power forward Jan Jagla, in a battle between two very similar players - even though Garbajosa is far more experienced. Madrid must play up-tempo, run its offense through Velickovic and keep its outstanding ball circulation to grab its sixth consecutive win right before its critical showdown against Panathinaikos. Prokom must rely on Logan and Woods to have a chance to win the game down the stretch. Expect nothing but an extraordinary basketball atmosphere in Gdynia on Wednesday.
REFEREES: Luigi Lamonica, Milivoje Jovcic, Luis Lopes
Asseco Prokom Gdynia
David Logan has scored in double figures in 17 straight Euroleague games. He has also made at least one three-pointer in 17 straight games.
Logan has picked up at least 1 steal in all 21 Euroleague games in which he has played.
Qyntel Woods scored a career-high 25 points last week against EWE Baskets.
Woods is one of only two players in the Euroleague this season ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. He is fourth in the league in scoring (16.8 ppg.) and seventh in rebounding (6.8 rpg.).
Pape Sow grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds last week against EWE Baskets.
Ronnie Burrell picked up his only double-double of the season in Week 2 against Real Madrid with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Prokom shoots the second-most three-pointers in the league with an average of 24.5 attempted threes per game.
Tomas Van den Spiegel played for Prokom during the 2007-08 season. Adam Lapeta and Przemyslaw Zamojski are the only remaining Prokom players from Van den Spiegel’s time there.
Louis Bullock needs just 2 more assists to reach 20th place on the Euroleague’s career assists charts. He currently has 278 assists in 125 career games.
Bullock needs just 1 more steal to reach 20th place on the Euroleague’s career steals charts. He currently has 154 steals.
Jorge Garbajosa needs just 2 more steals to reach 200 for his Euroleague career. Garbajosa is currently ranked sixth on the Euroleague career steals list.
Garbajosa needs 1 more blocked shot to move into the Euroleague career top 10 in blocks. He is currently ranked 11th with 79 career blocks. Marcus Haislip is 10th with 80 career blocks.
Rimas Kaukenas has scored in double figures in each of his last 11 Euroleague appearances.
Real Madrid is ranked last in the Euroleague in offensive rebounds with 38 this season.
Tuesday, December 08, 2009