Lebanese Basketball League-Preview: Byblos vs Louaize

29 Mar.2017– Louaize head to Jbeil vowing to clinch the win as they hope to cut Sagesse‘s hope of taking 3rd place in the group.

When Byblos cut ties with Ndudi Ebi everybody went mad, how can you let go of the MVP? Yet his work ethic and personality may have been the issue. Now with Ali Traore inserted in the lineup, Byblos have a typical center who can play the post and score down low. Today, he’ll be facing Wendell Lewis, who’s known for his defensive presence and his ability to run the floor. If positioned properly, Traore may cause some damage, especially that Lewis won’t have someone to back him up. With Ali Kanaan and Joe Abi Kheres matching up with Ribal Bechara and Edward Bechara, Lewis would be tempted to double the other side as both the Becharas are undersized. Leaving Traore to operate, while he can even take the mid-range shot, is a big NO NO.

In his first appearance, Chris Crawford showed glimpses that he’s a good shooter with that killer instinct. Although one game can’t show us everything but Byblos must make sure he doesn’t catch fire. With Geron Johnson driving the lane and forcing the defense to close up on him, a shooter like Crawford can find himself free to drain his shots. It will be hard for Jay to hold down Johnson but with the assist of Tarek Ammoury, they can force him to play from the outside as he isn’t that much of a shooter, you’de rather him taking 100 threes than driving the lane. With Ebi gone, Jay has been holding all the pressure to score some vital points for his team. He’s the engine and the motivator, so Johnson will have to put in some work on the defensive end too. Keeping Jay under close scrutiny will have Byblos looking for the difficult option.

As Jay might be held off, both Rodrigue and Ali Mahmoud must be ready to keep the flow of the game. Jay must move off the ball, so setting screens down low is very important. Here Rodrigue or Ali come into play as they must facilitate his movements and take their shots when available. Same goes for Miguel Martinez as his fast transition from defense to offense with Geron running the floor, will cause Byblos many problems.

Talking about shooters, Byblos count a lot of Clay Tucker to score those shots from downtown. Although he is a deadly shooter, he has been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. He can have the night of his life then the next day play like an amateur. He won’t cut to the basket nor play the pick and roll. One dimensional player that probably should have been changed a long time before. As for Louaize, they rely on Elie Stephan to make the difference. Elie has grown into that spot-up, take your shot whenever you need kind of shooter. He upgraded his game this year and showed he can carry some of the burden next to Geron.