Lebanese Basketball League-Preview: Sagesse vs Mouttahed

22 Mar.2017– Rejuvenated Sagesse hope to keep momentum high and defeat Mouttahed in Ghazir.

After an exceptional game on Sunday, Sagesse want to revenge their 23 point loss in Tripoli. This Stoglin-less team is playing more of a team game now. Passing the ball more, 26 assists against Tadamon, most in this season. Every player is having a touch of the ball and this is essential if you want role players to contribute to the scoring to take some pressure off the foreigners.

With Stoglin out, Mike Efevberha is clearly their go-to guy. A splendid triple-double showed how well he can score and feed his teammates at the same time. Mouttahed must pressure him high on the court to try a force him to surrender the ball as much as possible. Limiting him will kill most of the green offense as few players can create on the roster. Elie Rustom has shown he’s the guy to take these tough defensive tasks and might be asked to take this one also. Rotating with Omar Ayoubi or Tanguy Osman will keep Mike under pressure ( he’s surely playing 40 minutes), and giving some much-needed rest for the visitors’ defenders. Here comes Mohammad Ibrahim’s role. He must be the guy to push the ball forward to take pressure off his teammate. Handing Mike the ball at the three point line is definitely better as he can take any defender one on one from there on. Ibrahim is a crucial piece in this puzzle.

Down low, Sagesse have a bit of an advantage. Playing with two bigs that can play the post is going to create space in Mouttahed’s defense. While both Charles Tabet and Melvin Cleveland are good defenders, they can’t handle Kenny Adeleke and Calvin Godfrey. Sagesse’s duo is bigger, stronger and can both play the post. Double teaming will be the obvious thing to do, but this will leave space to the other to operate. Much of what we saw on Sunday. Mouttahed can counter that with their fast tempo, as Sagesse’s slow transition defense got even slower. They chose power over speed, let’s see who will win. Not to forget that Marwan Ziade and Thiago Makhlouf can both play the tough game.

As for Mouttahed, lacking a true PG after Akl got injured, hurt them a lot. With Spencer and Curry playing the 1 and 2, their team got more predictable. Spencer’s movements were well monitored and he could not use his off the ball screens as often to take his shots. Now with a defender like Mike on him, he will have a hard time finding his way, although he seldom loses his track. As for Curry, I really think a player like Junior Beyrouthy could limit his production. Junior suffers against quicker, stronger guards with the likes of Geron, Curry is neither. Beyrouthy can cope with his speed and can take him one on one. Curry will surely drain threes over his head but still, he will be a pain in the neck.

With Stoglin out, players are stepping up. Patrick Bou Abboud has been the turnaround for his team. His latest showings show the versatility this guy has. With Bashir Ammoury coming off the bench and Joe Ghattas taking his usual defensive duties, Sagesse have really a chance going into this game, especially underlining the fact that Mouttahed haven’t played since March 10.