Olympiacos puts perfect home record on the line against ALBA
Olympiacos Piraeus will look to get back to its winning ways when it hosts ALBA Berlin on Tuesday night. Olympiacos (3-2) comes off a tough 88-82 loss at CSKA Moscow in which Tyler Dorsey shined with a career-high 32 points. The Reds bring a perfect home record to the table and have allowed opponents to score a mere 62.7 points at Peace and Friendship Stadium.
ALBA (2-3) notched its first road win of the season last week with a 63-78 beatdown of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. Maodo Lo continued his hot start to the season with 17 points and Tamir Blatt, the son of former Olympiacos head coach David Blatt, provided a big boost off the bench. Olympiacos has a 7-1 record in the EuroLeague against ALBA, including a pair of wins last season by 4 points.
Marquee matchup: Olympiacos's Vezenkov vs. ALBA's Sikma
The top all-around performer on both of these teams this season has been the starting power forward. Luke Sikma of ALBA Berlin is fourth in the league in average PIR at 20.2 and leads the competition with 8.4 rebounds per game. He also leads his team with 3.8 assists while posting 13 points per night. His Olympiacos Piraeus counterpart Sasha Vezenkov leads his team in PIR (14.8) and rebounds (5.8 rpg.) and is second in scoring (12.4 ppg.). Both can score from behind the three-point stripe or close to the basket and impact games in multitudes of ways. Perhaps the main difference in their games is Sikma's playmaking ability from the post. Their head-to-head showdown is surely one to watch.
Keys to victory: Olympiacos Piraeus vs. ALBA Berlin
Though Olympiacos Piraeus has one of the stiffest defenses in the competition, allowing opponents a mere 70.6 points per game, which is third-lowest in the league, ALBA Berlin is sure to present some stiff challenges. The German champs lead the league in offensive rebounding (13.0 orpg.) and have turned the ball over the second-fewest times (9.6 TOpg.). In its most recent road win on Friday in Belgrade, ALBA had 15 offensive boards and 20 second-chance points. Olympiacos, which has averaged only 5.2 steals per game and therefore isn't likely to put much pressure on the ALBA ballhandlers, getting the likes of Sasha Vezenkov, Hassan Martin, Moustapha Fall and others to lock down the glass may be crucial against ALBA.
The Berliners lost their top three-point shooting weapon when Marcus Eriksson was injured and the team is near the bottom of the league with 32.1% accuracy from downtown. This week they face the team which has held opponents to the fewest threes (6.0 per game) and the lowest conversion rate (24.2%). If Maodo Lo, Tamir Blatt or Jaleen Smith heat up from the outside, it could turn this game on its head.