KK Zagreb Croatia Osiguranje make their Turkish Airlines Euroleague home debut this evening against defending champions Panathinaikos.
This will be a very special game for veteran guard Damir Mulaomerovic, who helped Panathinaikos to win the Euroleague title in 2002, as he takes to the court against his former team.
Zagreb, come off a 31-point loss in Bamberg, need to bounce back right away to stay in the fight to reach the Top 16.
Panathainaikos had a good game against Unicaja and will look to stay undefeated. The Greens are the favourite to win the match, but Zagreb will give it all in front of its fans and has the size, strength and talent to get Panathinaikos into trouble.
Panathinaikos are without Stratos Perperoglou, who is sidelined long-term, while Mike Batiste, Ian Vougioukas and Kostas Tsartsaris have physical problems but are expected to play. Zagreb have no injury problems whatsoever ahead of this encounter.
Zagreb has its main strengths under the basket, with several big men able to do damage. Mario Kasun is really effective under the rim, Sean May is a pure low-post player with great moves while Josh Heytvelt and Papa Diasse are good, aggressive rebounders.
For the Greens, Mike Batiste, Steven Smith and Ian Vougioukas must give their best to control the defensive board. Aleks Maric has a chance to prove his value in the matchup against Kasun.
Of course, Zagreb needs to find a way to stop Euroleague MVP Dimitris Diamantidis. Krunoslav Simon and Mulaomerovic will try to do this by taking control of the game’s tempo.
The match-up between Diante Garrett and Romain Sato will also be interesting to follow and could be important to the final outcome.