Prokom Trefl hosts Armani Jeans Milano on Wednesday in Sopot, Poland, in a crucial encounter for the two lowest-placed teams in Group B. Both are currently tied at the bottom of the table with 2-7 records - two victories out of fifth place, the last sure one to a berth in the Top 16. Wednesday's winner will find itself right back in the qualification picture, while the loser will fall into sole possession of last place. Prokom came out on top when these teams last met, winning 71-92 in Milano as Goran Jagodnik nailed 7 three-pointers on the way to 25 points. After falling in overtime at home last week to Lietuvos Rytas - the team's third straight defeat - Milano signed playmaker Alejandro Montecchia to strengthen the backcourt, which leads the league in turnovers (16 per game). With the Olympic champ backing up Massimo Bulleri (13.4 ppg., 3 apg.) and Dante Calabria (12.4 ppg.), who scored a season-high 26 last week, Milano will look to run in order to win. However, Prokom's guards are no slouches. Playmaker Tomas Pacesas contributes in ways that cannot be measured by statistics, while Istvan Nemeth (9.4 ppg.) and Christian Dalmau (9.3 ppg.) are crucial to Prokom's attack, as they balance out the team's loaded frontline. Jagodnik (14.7 ppg., 7.1 rpg.), Adam Wojcik (11.1 ppg.) and Michael Andersen (7.8 ppg.) are the keys to the Prokom gameplan on both sides of the court. But Milano also features a stacked inside rotation, with Joseph Blair (6.8 ppg., 7 rpg.), Diego Fajardo (7.8 ppg.), Giacomo Galanda (10.3 ppg., 5.6 rpg.) and Sven Schultze. Prokom has lost six in a row, and will need a team effort to end that streak. In its last two games, it has averaged just 60 points and had only one player score in double figures. Last week that was Nemeth with 15. The difference between these teams last time was shooting, as Prokom made 62.1 percent of its two-pointers, compared to AJ's 42.1%. This game could go the same route, as the players with the hot hand lead their team to victory and a chance to keep hoping in Group B.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006