|Two teams waiting for different goals are ready to battle in Barcelona, Spain, where Regal FCB faces SLUC Nancy on Thursday night. Barcelona comes into the game holding a share of first place in Group C and could essentially clinch a spot in the Top 16 with a win, since it has already beaten the French League champion on the road. Barcelona playmaker Victor Sada remains sidelined, but combo guard Jaka Lakovic is not only back in action, but had 22 points on 5-for-5 three-point shooting against Zalgiris in Lithuania last week. Lakovic will share the point guard duties with Andre Barrett, with Roger Grimau ready to offer a helping hand, too. Lakovic will have a physical test against Serge Tchicamboud, a pleasant surprise for Nancy this season. Meanwhile, Barrett will matchup against John Cox, while Grimau will guard Nancy’s star swingman Ricardo Greer. Nancy must worry about Barcelona's battery of elite shooters, featuring Juan Carlos Navarro, Gianluca Basile and Lubos Barton. Navarro will have a tough matchup against Jeff Greer, while Basile and Barton will also have to take care of Ricardo Greer and former Barcelona small forward Michel Morandais. Both teams are really deep around the baskets, in what could be the biggest key to this game. Barcelona faces some troubles, as former All-Euroleague center David Andersen missed a Spanish League game this weekend due to stomach issues. If Andersen is not 100% recovered, expect Daniel Santiago and Euroleague October MVP Ersan Ilyasova to see extended playing time, with defensive aces Fran Vazquez and Jordi Trias ready to come off the bench. Ilyasova will test his aggressiveness and three-point shooting skills against Lamayn Wilson. Meanwhile, Vazquez and Santiago are ready to guard Cyril Julian, who is in great shape recently. Zaki Aboubacar and Rod Benson are seeing limited playing time, so expect Victor Samnick to see minutes at power forward, too. Barcelona needs to get Navarro, Lakovic and Ilyasoba involved and to stay strong in defense. Meanwhile, Nancy needs a big game from the Greer brothers and to cut down on its turnovers to win on the road. Barcelona has now won six straight Euroleague contests at home and remains the favorite to add another.
Regal FC Barcelona
- Guard Jaka Lakovic became just the fourth player in Euroleague Basketball history to score 2,000 career points last week. Lakovic shot 5 for 5 from downtown in that game and now leads the competition this season with a 78.6% success rate (11 for 14) from behind the arc.
- Teammates David Andersen and Gianluca Basile can both move within 1 appearance of matching former Barca player Denis Marconato for the most career appearances in the competition this decade. Marconato made 165 Euroleague Basketball appearances, including 68 with Barcelona. Injured CSKA Moscow guard J.R. Holden is currently second with 164 appearances, while Andersen and Basile will make their respective 164th appearance this week.
- Forward Jordi Trias needs just 2 more blocked shots to reach 50 for his Euroleague Basketball career.
- Big man Cyril Julian scored a career-high 21 points in the loss last week at Montepaschi. Julian is averaging 19 points and 8 rebounds on the road this season, but only 5 points and 4.5 rebounds at home.
- Swingman Michel Morandais returns to Barcelona this week, which is where he began last season. Morandais played six Euroleague games and 10 Spanish League games with Barcelona and was a teammate of six current Barca players.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008