|Caja Laboral targets its first win of the new season when it hosts Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in Vitoria, Spain, in a rematch of the 2005 Euroleague title game. Maccabi was the winner that time, but with only a handful of players remaining from that contest – or the 2006 Euroleague semifinal in Prague, which Maccabi also won – the past will have little influence on this contest. One reason for that is that Caja Laboral will debut one of Maccabi’s best players in recent seasons, forward Lior Eliyahu, who missed last week’s opener with illness. Without several of Laboral’s summer signings, including forward Walter Herrmann, who is out several months, and scorer Brad Olseon, head coach Dusko Ivanovic’s men fell in their opener 77-65 at Lottomatica Roma. The bright spots came in the play of their big men as All-Euroleague center Tiago Splitter had 17 points and 9 rebounds, power forward Mirza Teletovic also scored 17 and small forward Fernando San Emeterio grabbed a career-best 10 boards. With Eliyahu fit to play, Caja Laboral boasts a promising frontline. However they won’t have it easy against Maccabi, who rolled to an 85-65 win over Union Olimpija in the traditional opening game two weeks ago. D’Or Fischer swatted 5 shots while the backcourt of Alan Anderson, Andrew Wisniewski and Doron Perkins paced the attack. Fischer joins Maciej Lampe, Stephane Lasme and Yaniv Green in giving Maccabi a formidable rotation to counter Laboral’s. A key matchup will be at small forward, with Chuck Eidson pitting his skills against San Emeterio. Eidson is more technically talented, while San Emeterio is more physically gifted. The outcome of their duel will have major implications on the direction of the game. At guard, Laboral features playmakers Pau Ribas and Marcelinho Huertas and scorers Carl English and Chris Lofton, who’ll go against Maccabi’s playmaking duo of Wisniewski and Perkins and scorer Anderson. If Splitter can put up big numbers on Fischer, Laboral should be able to post a big win. However if the Maccabi guards are able to get out and run, the Israeli champs could score an important road win. The smart money on this game is to expect 40 minutes of action, with the game coming down to the closing minutes.
REFEREES: Romualdas Brazauskas, Jakub Zamojski, Robert Vyklicky
Forward Lior Eliyahu has spent the past three seasons playing with this week’s opponent, Maccabi Tel Aviv. Among the current Maccabi players Eliyahu has played with are Derrick Sharp, Yaniv Green, D’Or Fischer and Raviv Limonad.
Forward Fernando San Emeterio grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in the season-opener against Lottomatica Roma last week.
Brad Oleson is due to make his Euroleague debut this week.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv
Maccabi defeated Caja Laboral in the Euroleague championship game in Moscow in 2005. Head coaches Pini Gershon and Dusko Ivanovic coached in that game and are back with their teams now. Only Derrick Sharp and Yaniv Green of Maccabi and Tiago Splitter of Caja Laboral are still with the teams.
Maccabi also beat Caja Laboral in the 2006 Euroleague semifinal in Prague. Gershon, Green and Sharp were also on that Maccabi team, as was Splitter for Laboral.
Gal Mekel is due to make his Euroleague debut this week.
Point guard Andrew Wisniewski has made at least one three-pointer in each of his last seven Euroleague games.
Alan Anderson has scored in double figures in each of his last 11 Euroleague appearances dating back to December 2007. He also has at least 1 steal in 11 straight games.
Big man D’Or Fischer matched a career-high with 5 blocked shots on opening night.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009