Euroleague basketball predictions included under each mini game preview.
The always hot derby of Athens is one of several must-see clashes in Round 6. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and Real Madrid will renew their rivalry on Thursday night before Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens faces Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday. Also of note, playmaker Thomas Heurtel of FC Barcelona Lassa will square off against his former side, Anadolu Efes Istanbul, and Brose Bamberg will welcome All-EuroLeague forward Nicolo Melli, who will face his former club for the first time since joining Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul.
Khimki Moscow Region vs. Baskonia
Friday action begins in the Russian capital with two teams on opposite ends of the table when Khimki Moscow Region (4-1) takes on Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (1-4). Khimki, which is undefeated in three home games this season, comes off a big win at Real Madrid. Coach Bartzokas’s side boasts the third-most points scored (81.2 ppg.) in the league this season and its star guard, Alexey Shved (19.2 ppg.), is the competition’s No. 2 scorer. Baskonia, which comes off its first victory, is the second-lowest scoring team (70.4 ppg.) in the league, but also ranks second in rebounds (37.0 rpg.).
Brose Bamberg vs. Fenerbahce
Red-hot Brose Bamberg (3-2) has won three straight games, but faces its toughest challenge yet when it hosts reigning champion Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul (3-2). The game will be a homecoming of sorts for All-EuroLeague forward Nicolo Melli, who the past two seasons in Bamberg. All-EuroLeague guard Brad Wanamaker also played two previous seasons in Bamberg. Bamberg guards Nikos Zisis and Ricky Hickman both have history with Fenerbahce, too. The champs are the league’s top three-point shooting team (42.4%) and allow the fewest rebounds (30.0).
Olympiacos vs. Panathinaikos
The Greek capital will come to a stop on Friday night when Olympiacos Piraeus (4-1) takes on crosstown rival Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens (2-3) in the Athens derby. The game has the two teams with the fewest assists in the league; the Reds are last (13.6 apg.) and the Greens (14.0 apg.) are not ahead. Interestingly, Panathinaikos playmaker Nick Calathes (7.2 apg.) is the league-leader in assists. Olympiacos, which comes off its first loss of the season, has found success on defense; it allows the second fewest points (71.0 ppg.) and fewest offensive rebounds (7.2) in the league.
Unicaja Malaga vs. Crvena Zvezda
Round 6 comes to a close with Unicaja Malaga (2-3) against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (2-3). The game has two of the top offensive rebounding teams in the league; Zvezda (13.2 orpg.) is second and Unicaja fourth (11.8 orpg.). Despite its success in that area, Unicaja is the lowest-scoring team (70.2 ppg.) so far this season. These teams have only met twice before in the EuroLeague; Zvezda swept the season series two years ago.
CSKA Moscow vs. Valencia
Round 6 opens in the Russian capital where CSKA Moscow (4-1) and Round 5 MVP Nando De Colo host Valencia Basket (3-2). This will be the first meeting between the sides since 2010. That season Valencia handed CSKA one of its worst ever losses, 82-57. The games pits a clash of styles as the Russian champs boast the second-best attack (87.0 ppg.) and lead the league in steals (8.2 spg.), while the Spanish champs’ defense allows the fewest points (68.2 ppg.) in the competition.
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Real Madrid
Two teams with rich histories clash in Tel Aviv. Host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (3-2) is the league’s top rebounding team (39.6 rpg.) thanks to the league-leading rebounder, Alex Tyus (8.2 rpg.). Visiting Real Madrid (4-1) in the league’s top scoring team (87.4 ppg.) led by league-leading scorer Luka Doncic (21.6 ppg.). Tyus is the only Maccabi player on the team from the 2014 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game, which saw Maccabi edge Madrid 86-98 after overtime for the title.
Milano vs. Zalgiris
Two teams looking to bounce back from losses meet in the fashion capital when AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (1-4) hosts Zalgiris Kaunas (2-3). Milan, the No. 2 three-point shooting team (41.0%) in the league, has also struggled defensively and is allowing the most points in the league (87.6 ppg.). It will be an interesting game for Milan’s two Lithuanians and former Zalgiris players, Mantas Kalnietis and Arturas Gudaitis.
Barcelona vs. Anadolu Efes
The Thursday slate finishes in the Catalonia region with FC Barcelona Lassa (2-3) facing Anadolu Efes Istanbul (0-5). Rebounding could play an important role in the game since leads the league in offensive rebounding (15.0 orpg.), while Barcelona is last (7.0 orpg.) in the same category. On the other hand, Barcelona leads the league in assists (21.2 apg.) thanks to its point guard duo – one of whom, Thomas Heurtel, arrived from Efes. Meanwhile Efes is last in three-point shooting (26.2%).
Basketball Tips: livetipster.com