Euroleague basketball predictions included under each mini game preview.
November’s first two-round week is in progress. Round 7 is over where we had our ups and downs and we’re heading straight to Round 8. Olympiacos Piraeus shocked the Euroleague winners of 2017 Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul with a revenge win on Wednesday, but there is more to come. All teams look capable of making the headlines and we are expecting a thrilling end of the week.
CSKA Moscow vs Fenerbahce
Friday night’s action tips off with a cracker as league leading CSKA (6-1) hosts reigning champ Fenerbahce (4-3) in a rematch of the 2016 Championship Game. It’s a meeting between the league’s best offense and best defense, with CSKA averaging 87.7 points per game while Fenerbahce has allowed just 72.4 per game, and visiting coach Zeljko Obradovic will be focused on stopping Nando De Colo and Sergio Rodriguez as he goes up against his long-time assistant Dimitris Itoudis. There will be a big battle in the paint as Kyle Hines and Othello Hunter take on Jan Vesely and Nicolo Melli, while CSKA can’t overlook the scoring threat of James Nunnally, who leads the league in three-point conversion rate (56.5%).
Olympiacos vs Crvena Zvezda
After getting back into winning ways in impressive fashion with Wednesday’s triumph at Fenerbahce, second-placed Olympiacos (5-2) will welcome a Zvezda (2-5) team eager to snap a three-game losing streak. The Serbian side has been struggling offensively, averaging just 64.3 points per game during its recent slide, and will be hard pushed to punish an Olympiacos defense which ranks second in the league after allowing just 72.6 points per game. A key area could be rebounding, where Olympiacos will hope Nikola Milutinov can dominate the boards, while the athleticism of Mathias Lessort could help Zvezda disrupt the home team’s usual control of the paint.
AX Olimpia Milan vs Brose Bamberg
Fresh from dramatic victories on Tuesday night, Milan (2-5) and Bamberg (4-3) will look to summon more energy as they meet in Italy. The home team’s double overtime victory in Valencia owed much to the new backcourt duo of Curtis Jerrells and Jordan Theodore, who will have to step up again with Andrew Goudelock sidelined by injury. Bamberg’s recovery from a 26-point deficit to beat Barcelona was a real team effort with seven players scoring at least seven points, and the German side will be confident after winning its last two road games. Ultimately, it could be decided by whichever team is best able to overcome mental and physical fatigue following Wednesday’s heroics.
FC Barcelona Lassa vs Valencia Basket
The victims of those sensational wins for Milan and Bamberg will attempt to take out their frustrations on each other as Barcelona (2-5) and Valencia (3-4) meet in a Spanish derby. Barcelona’s performance in Bamberg offered a microcosm of their season so far, with an outstanding first quarter followed by a complete collapse. And after showing their capabilities by hammering Panathinaikos and Olympiacos at home, the hosts will hope their good version shows up against a Valencia team which will look for offensive inspiration from the league’s joint-third highest scorer, Erick Green (16.3 points per game).
Khimki Moscow Region vs Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv
Two teams looking to rebound from heavy losses two days ago meet in Moscow as Khimki (5-2) and Maccabi (4-3) attempt to solidify their places in the top half of the standings. Maccabi will expect shot-blocking experts Alex Tyus and Art Parakhouski to protect the rim against the penetration of the league’s second-highest scorer, Alexey Shved (19.0 points per game), while the home team’s defensive ace Charles Jenkins – who leads the league in steals with 2 per game – will look to slow down the offensive orchestration of Maccabi’s playmaker Norris Cole. Expect a close game between two dynamic teams.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
Efes (2-5) and Panathinaikos (4-3) will go in search of a third consecutive victory in a showdown between two of the competition’s form teams. The biggest priority for Panathinaikos will be to stop Efes’s red-hot shooting star Errick McCollom, who has averaged 26 points and hit 12 three-pointers in his last two games. But the visitors also have long-range scoring potential after equalling a club record with 17 triples in Tuesday’s win over Khimki, seven of which came from Marcus Denmon. The battle in the paint will also be fascinating, with the home team’s athletic Bryant Dunston and crafty Vladimir Stimac facing good match-ups with Chris Singleton and Ian Vougioukas.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz
After enjoying two consecutive road wins, Zalgiris (4-3) defends its home court against a Baskonia (2-5) team still basking in the glory of a 30-point blow-out of Real Madrid two days ago. Baskonia, looking for its first away victory, has become extremely potent on offense since the arrival of new coach Pedro Martinez, averaging 93.3 points in the last three games. Zalgiris ranks second in the league in three-point shooting percentage (42.2%), with Kevin Pangos presenting a particular threat after making 50% of his long-range shots this season including 9 of 13 in his team’s recent road wins in Milan and Malaga.
Real Madrid vs Unicaja Malaga
A Spanish derby will see Real Madrid (4-3) and Unicaja Malaga (3-4) attempt to bury the demons of heartbreaking losses earlier this week. Los Blancos have slumped to a three-game losing streak culminating in Tuesday’s record loss at Baskonia, while Unicaja fought back from 20 points down against Zalgiris before being sunk on the buzzer in overtime. With Anthony Randolph joining Gustavo Ayon and Ognjen Kuzmic in the treatment room, expect to see Unicaja fully test the home team’s presence in the paint by giving plenty of ball to inside threats James Augustine, Giorgi Shermadini and Jeff Brooks, who will look to give Madrid’s new center Walter Tavares a tough home debut.
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