It will be another decisive duel in the Israeli capital for Round 9 when Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem (2-6) welcomes Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia (3-5) with both playing to stay alive in the competition. A loss would leave the hosts out of the picture completely while Reggio Emilia would improve its chances when facing decisive Round 10. A Jerusalem win, however, would make the group even tighter awaiting an eventful Round 10. In their only previous EuroCup encounter in Round 4, Hapoel won on the road, 61-63, so the tiebreaker factor is as fragile as they come in this duel. Jerome Dyson has been the main man for the hosts (14.8 ppg.), together with Austin Daye (12.5 ppg.) and Richard Howell (11.8 ppg.). For the guests, Amedeo Della Valle is still one of the best scorers in the league (18.1 ppg.), helped by Jalen Reynolds (12.1 ppg., 7.4 rpg.) and Julian Wright (11.1 ppg., 7.4 rpg.). Reggio Emilia has the second-weakest offense in the competition (72.5 ppg.) but Jerusalem allows some 11 points more in defense every game, so it will be a battle of styles. At this point of the season, tactics can give in to heart and spirit to win games, especially with so much at stake. The Jerusalem fans will surely be a factor in the game, but if Della Valle manages to execute one of its usual offensive displays, the fans will have to try extra hard in helping. Numbers say that Jerusalem could be considered favorite by a tiny hair, but in do-or-die games, anything can happen.
Sunday, December 17, 2017