The beauty of the EuroCup is that every game is VITAL, especially in the regular season's second half, as teams are vying to solidify their spots in the playoffs.
Wednesday’s home game against Group B rivals Hamburg, at the Copper Box Arena, bares several significant levels of importance:
1. There will only be four games left of the regular season after the Hamburg clash
2. London currently sits one place above Hamburg in Group B
3. A London win will etch the team closer to solidifying the 7th spot in the group
4. A London loss may cause the team to fall to the 8th spot
5. If the playoff were to start today, the Lions would play Group A’s Joventut Badalona
6. The Lions became the first British team to win an away game in the EuroCup when the team thumped Hamburg 75-103 on the road.
London’s 103 collective effort was led by snipper Tomislav “Zuba” Zubcic, who pocketed 22 points on an efficient 8/12 shooting, including 66.7% from long range. Sam Dekker contributed to the Lions’ victory with 19 points (including a one-handed poster dunk in the face of Hamburg’s Christoph Philipps) and seven rebounds.
Big man Kosta Koufos supported his comrades with 18 points, his best points total thus far in the 7Days EuroCup, to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Vojtech Hruban came off the bench and was lights out from long-range (4/4), mid-range (1/1) and the free throw line (2/2), to the tune of 16 points.
Miye Oni made his Lions’ debut against the Northern German outfit, scoring 5 points and dishing out six huge assists. He also displayed phenomenal 2-way play grabbing five steals.
The Lions were without captain Ovie Soko through injury and Jordan Taylor, who hadn’t signed for the team yet. Now back with the team, Soko is averaging 11.4 points per game, and Taylor, averaging 5.9 assists (5th best in the EuroCup), is also set to suit up for the Lions.
Hamburg will be led by recent signing, 25-year-old Swiss small forward Anthony Polite. The former LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne player enters the contest averaging 18.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals after three EuroCup games for Hamburg.
The former Florida State player will be accompanied by forward Yoeli Childs, averaging 13.7 points and leading Hamburg in rebounds, with 8.1 boards. Young Slovenian playmaker Žiga Samar (averaging 6.0 assists) and American star Kendale McCullum (averaging 5.8 assists) will take turns orchestrating Head Coach Benka Barloschky’s offence.
Hamburg also is yet another unselfish team that moves the ball incredibly well to the tune of 19.7 team assists per game – fourth best in the EuroCup. However, the real battle may be in the paint, battling for rebounds.
Hamburg is currently the fourth-best offensive-rebounding team (11.8) in the EuroCup, whereas London averages 26.8 defensive rebounds, also fourth-best in the EuroCup.
The likes of Kosta Koufos, Ovie Soko, Sam Dekker and Josh Sharma will go toe to toe with Yoeli Childs, Anthony Polite, Lukas Meisner and Seth Hinrichs for the right to create transition offence versus the right to second-chance points.
This clash could come down to the battle of the BIG MEN!
London Lions Stats
Last Five Games: LLWLL
Points: 78.4 (13th in the EuroCup)
Rebounds: 37.4 (4th in the EuroCup)
Assists: 17.9 (9th in the EuroCup)
Steal: 6.6 (17th in the EuroCup)
Blocks: 3.3 (2nd in the EuroCup)
PIR: 88.1 (13th in the EuroCup)
Hamburg Towers Stats
Last Five Games: LWLLL
Points: 82.2 (13th in the EuroCup)
Rebounds: 35.1 (12th in the EuroCup)
Assists: 19.7 (4th in the EuroCup)
Steal: 7.8 (7th in the EuroCup)
Blocks: 1.7 (17th in the EuroCup)
PIR: 84.8 (17th in the EuroCup)