Three games and three road wins is what Turkish Airlines EuroLeague meetings between Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade and LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne have produced in the past two season. The next one is set for Friday in the Serbian capital, with forwards Dejan Davidovac of Zvezda and David Lighty of ASVEL ready to embrace the roles of the main protagonists.
Davidovac, who turned 26 years old last week, is in his fourth season with the club where he made his EuroLeague debut in the 2017-18 season. On the other hand, at 32 years of age Lighty is a seasoned veteran in his second stint with ASVEL.
Lighty has spent a total of six seasons with the club, is also coming off his career-high scoring performance, as he netted 21 points in ASVEL’s come-from-behind 83-77 win over TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Wednesday night. Davidovac is entering this contest after posting 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in Zvezda’s road loss against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on Tuesday.
Zvezda loves versatility that Davidovac brings to the floor with his 2.02 meters. He is mostly used on the wings in either forward positions, however, Davidovac can play any position 1 through 4. Within a single game Davidovac spends time from being a ball-handler to playing as a stretch-four. Just for his size and length, he consistently creates matchup problems for opposing defenses.
Lighty, on the other hand, is as consistent as they come. He brings energy and focus in each game, and on both ends of the floor. Lighty is also one of ASVEL’s go-to guys, trusted to take the last shot or make a defensive play with games on the line. That was exactly the case on Wednesday against Baskonia, where he took, and made, a pair of jumper, including the one with 20.0 seconds to go to seal the victory. He was the choice to make the last shot(s) even though he might not exactly be the greatest of shooters, averaging just 33.3% from three-point line this season.
But Lighty has still not struggled from long range this season as much as Davidovac, who has made just 11 of his 43 shots (25.6%) behind the arc. However, both players do better and like a lot more to take it to the rim, and that is where most of their points come from. Playing 25 minutes per game, mostly as a starter, Lighty is averaging 11.5 points per game this season, and also contributes with 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists, while collecting 1.0 steal per game, too. Davidovac is playing just below 23 minutes, mostly off the bench, and has posted 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists. However, the intangibles Davidovac brings with his presence on the floor go beyond the pure numbers.
When it comes to Davidovac and Lighty performing in clashes between Zvezda and ASVEL, their shooting numbers do go up, with Davidovac for example making 70% two-pointers and Light sinking 42.9% of his three-pointers. Earlier this season in a Round 4 game, which Zvezda won 68-89 at Astroballe, Davidovac did have a modest role with 5 points and 2 rebounds in 16 minutes, while Lighty scored 11 points and added 3 rebounds and 2 steals in a loss.
Davidovac did a lot better against ASVEL last season. When they met in Belgrade, ASVEL pulled out a 72-74 overtime win in which Lighty was held to just 3 points, but he found a way to contribute in different ways with 6 assists, 2 steals, 2 rebounds and a block. Davidovac collected 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and a block in that game. Later last season, when Zvezda edged ASVEL 80-83 at Astroballe, Davidovac had 9 points and 5 rebounds, while Lighty scored 11 in a loss.
Lighty will try to keep up his levels against Zvezda, and a recent good form as he has been averaging 14.5 points over the last four games, stretch during which ASVEL has 3-1 record. He also hopes it would help the team continue its winning run. Meanwhile, Davidovac would like to build on his performance against Efes while helping Zvezda get back to the winning ways, and finally getting a home win over ASVEL.