One of the most frequent on-floor matchups in recent seasons has been the one between two elite guards set to face off on Tuesday for the 13th time in less than five years.
Frequent rivals Baldwin, Rodriguez cross paths again
The classic rivalry between Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv and Real Madrid dates all the way back to 1968, as this will be their 70th clash. In recent years, the two teams' star guards, Wade Baldwin and Sergio Rodriguez, have also been stacking up head-to-head Turkish Airlines EuroLeague games.
For Baldwin and Rodriguez, this will be the 13th time they go against one another even though they had never met before November 2018. Precisely, Tuesday night's clash between Maccabi and Real comes one day short of full five years since Baldwin and Rodriguez were on the opposite sides for the very first time.
It was a contest in which Baldwin, in his first season and only eighth EuroLeague appearance, had 8 points in just short of 11 minutes, helping Olympiacos Piraeus to a 91-70 win against EA7 Armani Exchange Milan. Rodriguez had 14 points and 3 assists in that loss.
That was the only game in which they faced off that season, but they would confront each other seven times in the following on. With Baldwin in the uniform of FC Bayern Munich, the two had a pair of regular-season games as well as a thrilling five-game playoff series in which Rodriguez and Milan pulled out a 3-2 win to reach he 2021 Final Four.
Rodriguez averaged 9.6 points on 41.7% three-point shooting, along with 3.0 assists in that series, and was even better in Milan's victories, posting 11.3 points and 3.8 assists across the three. Baldwin, on the other hand, scored in double figures and had at least 4 assists in each of those five playoff games, posting 15.3 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds for the series.
After playing twice more in the 2021-22, when Baldwin was with Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz and Rodriguez in his last season with Milan, Baldwin and Rodriguez had their first two head-to-head meetings as players of Maccabi and Real last season.
First, Rodriguez had 5 points and 6 assists in Real's 98-65 home drubbing of Maccabi. Baldwin had just 3 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in 13 minutes of that game. He came back with 11 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds in Maccabi's 100-96 overtime win in their regular-season finale as Rodriguez posted 8 points, 5 assists and 2 steals.
Over the 12 head-to-head games, Baldwin had a better scoring average with 12.9 points per game, compared to 10.0 from Rodriguez. However, Real veteran point guard has done his scoring with far better shooting percentages.
Interestingly, in 12 games each player attempted 45 three-point shots, with Rodriguez making 24 of his, good for a remarkable 53.3% accuracy rate. Baldwin knocked down just 9 of his 45 tries (20.0%). Rodriguez also shot 51.4% on two-pointers, compared to Baldwin's 46.5%, but the Maccabi guard attempted nearly three times as many two-pointers (99) as Rodriguez (37).
Overall, Baldwin had a slight edge in PIR and assists, as well as 2.6 rebounds per game compared to Rodriguez's 1.8.
But Rodriguez holds an 8-4 record in 12 games against Baldwin, and will hope to add to that edge and help Real stay unbeaten in the current season.