13 things to look out for in Tuesday's games
MIES (Switzerland) - 2024 is here and, as is almost customary in the Basketball Champions League, the best way to usher in the New Year is by enjoying action on the court - and very important action at that, as the first two Play-In series get underway on Tuesday.
Here are 13 things you need to know ahead of Tuesday's two games:
Game 1 - 18:30 CET - Thessaloniki, Greece
Veteran guard Marcus Denmon is back in the BCL, this time with Tofas Bursa
● Tofas have signed veteran combo guard Marcus Denmon, who competed in the BCL with Peristeri last season, averaging 13 points and 2 assists per game.
● PAOK have a 1-4 record in the BCL Play-Ins, with the sole win coming last season when they prevailed 81-78 over Rytas Vilnius in Game 2 of their series. Four of PAOK’s last five home games in the BCL were decided by margins not greater than 3 points.
● Tofas have a 2-8 record in their last 10 road games in the BCL and gave up more than 90 points in each of their three road games so far this season. Tofas were in the Play-Ins also last season and they lost 2-0 against another Greek side, AEK BETSSON BC.
● PAOK are leading the league in three-point shooting percentage, averaging 43.2 percent from behind the arc. When they play at home, the Greek team are shooting an even more spectacular 47 percent from three-point range.
● Tofas on the other hand are leading the league in field goal percentage, converting 50.8 percent of their shots from the floor. The Turkish team also have the most productive offense at the end of the Regular Season, averaging 88.7 points per game.
● Kendall Smith scored 13+ points in each of his three BCL home games with PAOK, also grabbing exactly 6 rebounds in two of those games. Smith is one of only three PAOK players to have a positive +/- in the BCL this season (+1.5 per game).
● Zeljko Sakic of Tofas scored in double digits in 21 of his last 22 BCL games, with the only exception to this impressive run taking place in Tofas's most recent road game, when the Croatian forward was held to 5 points in the 91-85 loss at Bertram Derthona Tortona on November 29. Sakic is shooting 73.7 percent (14-of-19) from two-point range in the BCL this season.
Game 1 - 20:00 CET - Ludwigsburg, Germany
VEF Riga's BCL campaign has come to an end but Brendan Adams continues in the Play-Ins, after joining Darussafaka
● Darüssafaka have added 23-year-old Brendan Adams, who started the season at VEF Riga and averaged 12.8 points and 5 assists per contest in the BCL Regular Season.
● Ludwigsburg have alternated between wins and defeats in their last six home games in the BCL. They won 83-79 over AEK in their most recent home game, but have not won consecutive home games in a single season since January-March 2022.
● Darüssafaka are 1-5 in their last six road games in the BCL. However, they won the road game they played in the Play-Ins last season (89-76 at Benfica) and were also victorious on their only trip to Germany so far, precisely against Ludwigsburg, in November 2022 (a 77-63 win for Tofas).
● Ludwigsburg are the best team in the BCL in defending the three-point arc, as they allow a league-low 5.7 triples per game. They are also in the BCL Top-3 in opponents' three-point field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 29.1 percent three-point shooting.
● Jayvon Graves is the only player this BCL season to have scored 20+ points in four different games. He's pulled off this feat in all three of Ludwigsburg’s home games so far. The American guard also dished 5+ assists in each of those three home games.
● If Darüssafaka's Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scores 25 or more points on Tuesday, he will become only the third player in BCL history to have done so in three consecutive games, tying Kevin Punter. The player leading this select group is TJ Shorts II, as the only one to have pulled it off in five consecutive games.