Lebanese Basketball League-Preview: Homenetmen vs Hoops

15 Mar.2017– With the regular season almost over, bottom table teams are scrapping for any win to ensure they avoid relegation and have a playoff birth. This alone makes today’s game between Homenetmen and Hoops one not to miss.

Any sane guy reading this would say it’s a clear Homenetmen win. But never underestimate the fighting spirit of a team that has nothing to lose. With  Ali Mezher leading the way, Hoops have a small window to catch a break and maybe win this one. Ali has proved that he’s the heart and soul of this team. Scoring and feeding his teammates, he’s doing it all. The introduction of Elie Chamoun from the beginning to keep a close eye on him could kill Hoop’s chances from the start. Keeping Ali at bay will eventually kill Hoops at some point. What’s a car without an engine? If Elie isn’t starting, Nadim Souaid might take the task as rotating between him and Elie is bound to happen.

Homenetmen’s trouble isn’t only stopping  Ali. They must cut him from the team, don’t let him feel the ball much. His vision can break any defense. With Vladan waiting down low, Ali is the guy to find him. The matchup between the Serbian and Ater Majok is one to watch. Majok can hold him for so long, with either Fadi and Dewayne doubling him, it can be a done deal under the rim.

Talking about Fadi, we should definetly underline the fact that he has been playing his besy basketball lately, do you even age man? Stopping him is easier said than done, but Omar Thams needs to have his A game ready to take on the Tiger. Fadi will spread the defense pulling Thomas out and a defender who will always be at Thoma’s side to help in case Fadi decides to penetrate. This may help Majok and Jackson to room freely under the rim, specially that Vladan is slow on the switch. With Antonio Haymon, Hoops have a more mobile lineup but lack in size. So even with the presence of Vladan, Jackson and co should limit their 3pt shooting and pound hard down low. Putting Vladan in foul trouble will generate a blow out in Mezher.

As eyes are pierced on Ali and the 3 foreigners, Izzat Kaissi must step up to help his teammates find spaces in the defense and operate more freely. With Vladan double teamed, he will often find space to drain his shots or drive the lane. Doing so will push Homenetmen’s defenders to think twice about teaming up and will spread their defense.

A David versus Goliath confrontation, who will come up on top? Keeping in mind last year’s quarter-finals matchup.