With four teams tied in second place and another seven separated by just one win for a place in the playoffs positions, there’s everything to play for in this week’s second round of action. Here’s what to expect from Round 10 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague.
Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade vs Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv
Thursday’s action starts early with a 17:30 CET tip-off as Zvezda (3-6) looks to make it three wins out of three under new head coach Dusko Ivanovic against a Maccabi team (5-4) which still hasn’t won on the road. Backcourt leader Luca Vildoza has been fundamental to Zvezda’s recent improvement as he settles into life with his new team, averaging 15.3 points over the last three games. On Thursday he matches up against Maccabi’s dynamic Wade Baldwin IV, who ranks as the league’s fifth-leading scorer with an average of 16.7 points per game.
Olympiacos Piraeus vs ALBA Berlin
Two teams looking to bounce back meet in Piraeus as Olympiacos (6-3) seeks home comforts against an ALBA (3-6) team that has lost a league-worst six games in a row. ALBA’s free-flowing style has led to an average of 22.6 assists per game, best in the competition, but that will be challenged by always-alert Olympiacos defenders sho have snared 8.6 steals per game – second-best in the league. Olympiacos also loves to share the ball, averaging 21.1 assists per game, so we can expect a high-scoring and entertaining showdown.
EA7 Armani Exchange Milan vs Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
On the back of an alarming 29-point home loss to Efes on Tuesday, Milan (3-6) has the tough task of ending its dramatic slump with a visit from league-leading Fenerbahce (8-1). It’s very clear that offensive production is the chief challenge for Milan head coach Ettore Messina’s men, who have averaged just 57.3 points in the last three games. That certainly hasn’t been a problem for Fenerbahce, which has scored at least 93 points every night during its current three-game winning run. It’s clear that Milan must drastically improve at both ends of the floor to upset the competition leader.
Real Madrid vs Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade
After seeing its momentum squashed by a heavy loss to Barcelona on Tuesday, Partizan (4-5) needs to bounce back quickly with a trip to another Spanish giant. Real (6-3) is in great form after winning four games in a row, and Dzanan Musa picked up the Round 9 MVP award as he continues to make a mark with an average of 16.3 points over the last seven games. After being held to just 2 free throws against Barca on Tuesday night, Partizan needs Kevin Punter back to his best; he should be fresh after playing less than 13 minutes in that game.
AS Monaco vs FC Bayern Munich
Friday’s action gets underway at 19:00 CET in the principality, where Monaco (6-3) will look to end Bayern’s (3-6) revival. Sharpshooting Andreas Obst has been a key for Bayern, averaging 3.3 converted three-pointers during his team’s current run of three wins in four. He will look to profit against a Monaco defense that has struggled to defend long-range shooting so far this season, allowing its opponents a conversion rate of 38.8% – second-worst in the league. Elie Okobo is equally dangerous on the other side of the ball, making at least one triple every game so far with a conversion rate of 51.4%.
Panathinaikos Athens vs LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne
Two teams tied for last place meet in Athens as Panathinaikos (3-6) looks to build on Wednesday’s overtime win against Virtus by tussling with ASVEL (3-6), which has lost three in a row. ASVEL is the worst rebounding team in the competition, claiming just 31.8 boards per game, whereas Panathinaikos ranks third in offensive rebounding with an average of 11.1. The Greens will look for offensive rebounding specialists Derrick Williams (2.0 orpg) and Arturas Gudaitis (2.2 orpg) to crash the glass and gain some crucial extra possessions on Friday night.
Virtus Segafredo Bologna vs Anadolu Efes Istanbul
Efes (4-5) is picking up form after a slow start to the season, and will aim to make it three straight wins by overcoming Virtus (4-5) in a supercup-style showdown between the reigning EuroCup and EuroLeague champions. It’s the first meeting between the teams for 20 years, and host Virtus will try to control the game through its defense: three of its four wins this season have come by allowing 63 points or less. But that will be anything but easy against an Efes team boasting the league’s leading and third-ranked scorers, Will Clyburn (20.3 points per game) and Vasilije Micic (18.9 ppg).
FC Barcelona vs Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
After successfully subduing Partizan’s potent offense on Tuesday, Barcelona (6-3) will look to do the same against Baskonia (5-4), which has scored more points than any other team in the competition (88.3 points per game). Long-range shooting could be key: Baskonia’s Markus Howard has made more triples than any other player (3.2 per game), just ahead of Barca’s Nico Laprovittola (3.0). The home team now has extra help in that department in the form of Kyle Kuric, who returned from injury to make his first appearance of the season against Partizan.
Valencia Basket vs Zalgiris Kaunas
Another meeting between two teams separated by just one win will complete the week’s action, with Valencia (4-5) hosting Zalgiris (5-4). Five of the last six meetings between the teams were won by the road team, and to continue that trend Zalgiris will look for another stellar performance from offensive leader Keenan Evans, who has averaged 20 points and 4.0 three-pointers over the last two games. Valencia, similarly, will lean heavily upon Chris Jones, who has scored in double digits in seven straight games.
📝 Article from a press release issued by Turkish Airlines Euroleague.