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Game of the Week, Top 16 Game 11: Top 10 questions
March 12, 2013
Maccabi Electra vs. BC Khimki Moscow Region
1 Tradition counts?
Khimki, in its third Euroleague season, has never been past the Top 16. Maccabi has lifted five continental trophies, played in nine other title games and made countless semis or quarterfinals. If only one of these teams survives the Top 16, this will be the pivotal game. Can Maccabi's tradition trump Khimki's ambition?
2 Experience counts?
If Maccabi's track record is longer, Khimki's players have more experience. Zoran Planinic and Sergey Monya played in seven Final Fours combined (to just three for Maccabi players). Khimki won the Eurocup last season, the second time each for head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis Matt Nielsen. Does Khimki have more big-game experience?
3 Small ball?
During Maccabi's three-game winning streak, power forwards Lior Eliyahu and Nik Caner-Medley played less than 15 minutes per game combined. Most of the minutes at their position went to Devin Smith in a small-ball lineup. Will Maccabi go small, too, against Khimki, which has five players 2.08 or taller?
4 Record breaker I?
No Euroleague team this century has finished a season with a better assist-to-turnover ratio than Khimki's current 1.5 to 1. Khimki's leader, Zoran Planinic, is also its top player in this category, at 1.96 to 1. Can he and Khimki stay so sure-handed under pressure at Nokia Arena?
5 More efficient?
If Khimki as a team a higher assists-to-turnover ratio, Maccabi has the higher-ranked individual player. Yogev Ohayon is fifth, with a ratio of 2.2-to-1, among only 12 Euroleague players who have made at least 2 assists for every one turnover this season. Can his efficiency off-set Khimki's team advantage?
6 Record breakers II?
Khimki is the Euroleague assists leader at 18.5 per game, just behind CSKA Moscow's record of 18.65, set last season. After Planinic 's 6.2 per game, no Khimki player averages more than Vitaly Fridzon's 2.1 assists, although an amazing 10 Khimki players total dish at least 1 per game. Can Khimki pass its way into the record book?
7 Stop pass?
In the Top 16, Maccabi gives up the fifth-most assists, 15.8 per game. Only Alba, Brose, Fenerbahce and Besiktas (combined record 3-37) allow more. Defenses always yell "stop ball" and "stop shot", and behind Top 16 blocks leader Shawn James, Maccabi does both well. Against Khimki, should Maccabi yell "stop pass"?
8 Blocks encore?
Maccabi may lead the Top 16 in blocks, but in their first game against each other, Khimki set the Top 16 record. Three players - Davis with 5, Sergey Monya with 4 and Kresimir Loncar with 3 - blocked 11 shots, the most ever swatted back at Maccabi. Can Khimki's rejectionists beat Maccabi at its own game again?
9 Ensemble cast?
Maccabi has the Euroleague third-best season-long performance index rating with five players led by James and Ricky Hickman averaging individual PIRs of 10 or more (compared to just two for Khimki). Can an ensemble cast beat a Khimki team that handed Maccabi its worst Top 16 loss in five years in their first game?
10 Go-to guys?
Big man Paul Davis and Planinic account for 37% of Khimki's performance index rating this season. Both have been remarkably consistent: Davis scoring in double digits in 13 consecutive games and Planinic in 15 out of 18 games he played this season. The question is: if you stop one of them, can you stop Khimki?
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