When injury-hit Scavolini Spar Pesaro face Krasnye Krylia in the first semi-final of EuroChallenge 2010 there is much more for the Italian side to do than merely placing shackles on the inspirational Luis Flores.
While the playmaker has been one of the stars of the season so far and definitely makes the Russian side tick, there is plenty more for the Lega A side to be concerned with. For Krasnye Krylia are the best defensive team in EuroChallenge and a fierce rebounding unit.
The Redwings hold their opponents to a paltry 71.1 points per game and with Pesaro lacking some firepower due to absences, it will be tough for them to breach the Samara defence. Take a look at the numbers down the page and the size of the task facing the Italian club and especially on the glass will be pivotal.
They shouldn't expect too many second chance points from rebounds with Krasnye Krylia the third best rebounding team in the competition at 36.2 boards per game, mainly through the work of the powerful Marcus Douthit. Pesaro manage a far from impressive 29.6 and Coach Dalmonte will know this is one facet of the game his team will have to improve on but one reason for this is hugely positive.
For Pesaro are the best finishers in the tournament and shoot a super 60.2% from inside.Finishing around the hoop is what they do best and that could neutralise the edge their opponents hold in rebounding and defence.
Interestingly the ‘X Factor' in this game could be who excels from the perimeter. Both teams shoot an impressively solid percentage from outside and there is absolutely nothing to split them so far this year. So, can someone really step up and drain the triples to fire their team into the Final?
Individually there will be some terrific duels. While Flores stands head and shoulders above anyone else in terms of his usual stat line, the downside for Krasnye Krylia is whether they have a Plan B if their marquee player has a rare off-night.
Flores is the third highest scorer in EuroChallenge averaging 18.8 points per game and that is built around good numbers both inside and out. Forget fouling him too, Flores is a near 90% foul shooter emphasising his all round offensive threat.
In stark contrast, Scavolini Spar Pesaro share the workload offensively although someone might have to step up big time in this respect to fill the void left by forward Dusan Sakota who has been a key player for the Italians.
The backcourt match-up will also be intriguing with the experienced Ernest Bremner one of the leading playmakers around with 5.8 assists per game although Pesaro have Marques Green - the man with the most steals in EuroChallenge.
So, while stopping Flores will be vital for Scavolini Spar Pesaro, they have a lot more to ponder as they bid to overcome injury problems and domestic relegation fears to achieve EuroChallenge success.