Game 3's players to watch

Mar 12, 2019 by Print
Game 3's players to watch

By the time the last game of a playoff series comes along, each team has already taken a punch from the other – and survived. Each has also got a good taste of how the other team wants to play and use its stars. As such, defenses usually prepare to stop the players who already hurt them in the series, which lets open the door of opportunity to others on the opposing team. For that reason, anyone can swing Game 3 and the series in his team's direction. It's all about stepping up. With that in mind, here is one player per team to watch out for during three do-or-die Game 3s on Wednesday that determine the remaining semifinalists – after Valencia Basket – in the 7DAYS EuroCup this season.

Quarterfinal A: ALBA Berlin vs. Unicaja Malaga

Joshiko Saibou, ALBA: After missing seven regular season games due to injury and going 0 for 11 from downtown in the Top 16, the 29-year-old ALBA guard has become a thorn in Unicaja's side in this series, dropping 10 points per game while hitting 8 of 13 field goal attempts and playing stellar defense. If he can do it again in Game 3, ALBA will be in good shape.

Giorgi Shermadini, Unicaja: A two-time Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion, this 2.17-meter center is among the surest shots in the business. He leads the EuroCup with a two-point accuracy rate of 74.1% that he has raised to 77.8% in this series. He has also gone 9 for 9 at the free throw line in the first two games, another reason he could be key in Game 3.

Quarterfinal B: LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne vs. MoraBanc Andorra

Mantas Kalnietis, ASVEL: After averaging 11.3 points in his first 15 games this season, the veteran former EuroCup champion has been held to 3.0 by MoraBanc Andorra in the first two games of their series. Kalnietis also happens to have ASVEL's top PIR in home games this season, 14.6 on average. No one should expect a third consecutive quiet game from him.

Moussa Diagne, MoraBanc: Diagne has raised his game in the quarterfinals. He averaged 7.5 points through 16 games until now, but 11.5 in this series, while bumping up his team-high rebounding average to 6.5. With his frontcourt mate Oliver Stevic now injured, Diagne will become even more important in Game 3, going against an undermanned ASVEL front line.

Dorell Wright - Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (photo Lokomotiv) - EC18

Quarterfinal D: UNICS Kazan vs. Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar

Jamar Smith, UNICS: This former EuroCup champ has been held to one-third of his scoring average in this series, but Smith never stays down for long. In fact, he averaged 2.7 triples this season before not trying any in Game 2. That broke his streak of 54 games in a row hitting from downtown, which only guarantees that he'll be back slinging shots in Game 3.

Dorrell Wright, Lokomotiv: This super-smooth veteran has struggled against the UNICS defense for two games, averaging just 3 points, but he was putting up 11.7 until now and was a 48.7% triple threat before going 1 for 8 in this series. All of which is to say that as soon as he gets his next long shot to fall, watch out, because Wright can change a game all by himself.