The Round 26 clash between FC Bayern Munich and visiting Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on Thursday night will have major playoff implications. And within that battle will be one of the best confrontations in the paint this week, between a pair of teammates from last season, Bayern center Jalen Reynolds and Maccabi big man Othello Hunter.
The two played together for a dozen games last season after Reynolds joined Maccabi for his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut mid-way through the campaign. Reynolds came off the bench behind Hunter to post 5.7 points and an impressive 5.3 rebounds in just 14 minutes per game.
Reynolds has continued in the same manner this season in Bayern's uniform while almost tripling his scoring production.
Bayern's center ranks just outside the top 10 this season with 14.4 points per game. Reynolds enters this game having put up at least 12 points in 13 consecutive games and has scored in double figures in 22 of his 25 appearances, all but one of them coming off the bench.
What's more, Reynolds is the EuroLeague's runaway leader with 149 two-point shots made, 25 more than the next-best player this season, and has converted on 60.3% of his 247 attempts.
While Reynolds has spent an average of 21:53 minutes on court, his Maccabi counterpart has played 30 seconds less per game and made four fewer appearances. Hunter, who is still a reigning EuroLeague champion from when he was with CSKA Moscow in 2019, has averaged 9.0 points and 5.5 rebounds this season while making 56.5% of his two-point attempts.
The two players have identical number of assists and blocks going into Round 26, but Reynolds has been a little bit better on the glass.
Reynolds ranks third this season with 6.4 rebounds per game, and his 159 total rebounds is the third-most in this campaign, behind only Walter Tavares of Real Madrid and Nikola Milutinov of CSKA. He is also sixth in offensive rebounding this season with 2.3 per game.
Hunter, on the other hand, ranks third in offensive rebounding with 2.4 per game. Hunter has used his 51 offensive boards this season to rise to fifth place on the all-time chart and enters this game with 469 offensive rebounds for his career.
What Reynolds has done so far in rebounding department this season is similar to what Hunter has been doing since he made his EuroLeague debut with Montepaschi Siena in the 2013-14 season. Hunter has been in the upper echelon of the EuroLeague's rebounding charts season after season, amassing more than 130 boards each campaign since then, and he is on a path to surpass that mark this season again.
Indeed, no man has pulled down more rebounds in the EuroLeague since 2014-15 season, which was Hunter's second in the competition. Hunter, who averages 5.3 rebounds for his career, is the only player over the last seven seasons to have grabbed down more than 1,000 rebounds, which he accomplished in exactly 200 appearances over that span.
In their first meeting this season, Bayern's 82-85 upset in Tel Aviv, Reynolds had 14 points and 4 rebounds. Hunter had 4 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in a losing effort.
With both teams in a dire need of victory, and two big man very familiar with each other, their matchup will be the one to watch on Thursday night at Audi Dome.