Euroleague Top 16 Round 12, Thursday Preview

Euroleague Top 16 Day 12 Preview

Only three games left till the end of the Top 16 phase in this year’s Euroleague. Some of the teams have already said goodbye to the competition and few of them have secured their spot in the playoffs. There are three teams in each group that have the same score and it will be very interesting to see which two of them will secure their spot in the playoffs. Olympiacos Piraeus, Fenerbahce Ulker, and Unicaja Malaga will fight for the final Playoff spot in Group E. Lokomotiv Kuban, Galatasaray Liv Hospital, and FC Bayern Munich are in the same situation in Group F.

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We will preview the games played on Thursday only in this post. The reason for this is because the importance of some of the games played tomorrow greatly depends on the outcome of tonight’s fixtures.

CSKA Moscow vs. FC Bayern Munich – Group F (16:45 CET)

Milos Teodosic is still out of action for CSKA Moscow with a muscle injury and he will probably sit out the rest of the Top 16 phase. CSKA is second on the table with a score of 9 wins and 2 loses. They will surely want to take over the top place from Real Madrid and this is probably their last chance. Reason for this is that Madrid travels to Maccabi in this round, which is always an unpleasant court for away teams. If they lose and CSKA Moscow wins tonight then the Russians will come one step closer to the Euroleague’s Final Four Tournament.

Bayern Munich has lots of reasons to win tonight as well, but it will be hard for them to surprise one of the most secure home sides in Europe even with a full squad available. They have only one away win in the Top 16 phase against Zalgiris Kaunas. Nevertheless they were able to surprise Real Madrid at home two rounds ago. If they win tonight they will make their chances of going to the playoffs more realistic, especially if Galatasaray Liv Hospital loses in Zalgiris later this day.

CSKA Moscow-Bayern Munich-Euroleague

Last game between these two sides finished 61:86 in favor of CSKA Moscow. The Russian side is currently in a winning streak of 6 consecutive games at home so it would not be a surprise if they win again tonight with a huge point differential.

Injury Status:
CSKA MoscowOut: Milos Teodosic (muscle)
FC Bayern Munich – Full squad available

 

Zalgiris Kaunas vs. Galatasaray Liv Hospital – Group F (18:45 CET)

Zalgiris Kaunas has been mathematically eliminated from the Euroleague with a 1-10 score in the Top 16 phase. They will try to put up a good show for the home crowd and play for basketball pride till the end of their European season this year.

Galatasaray is in a must win situation if they want to continue their Euroleague campaign this year. They will battle FC Bayern Munich and Lokomotiv Kuban for the last spot that leads to the playoffs. The leader of the team and one of the best individuals in recent games Carlos Arroyo just emphasized the importance of this game with his statement:

Obviously it’s a game that we need to win. If we play like our last games, we have a big chance to win. Everybody understands how important this game is. Collectively we have to do a better job. Offensively helping each other and communicating better at the court , but its gonna take a team effort to win.

Galatasaray Liv hospital- Zalgiris Kaunas-Carrlos Aroyo-Euroleague

Galatasaray won the last game between the two sides and it will be interesting to see if Zalgiris Kaunas has enough motivation to show resistance to the Turkish side tonight.

Injury Status:
Zalgiris Kaunas – Out: Vytenis Cizauskas (knee), Kaspars Vecvagars (ligament), Siim-Sander Vene (ankle). Doubtful: Paulius Jankunas (Game-time decision).
Galatasaray Liv Hospital – Out: Jamont Gordon, Nate Jawai and Erwin Dudley. Doubtful: Pops Mensah-Bonsu (knee)

 

Anadolu Efes vs. Laboral Kutxa – Group E (19:45 CET)

The only game in tonight’s program that holds literally no importance. Both teams are placed on the bottom of Group E and have no chances of qualifying for the playoffs. Anadolu played few close games during the season and had the chance to notch couple of more wins, just as a reminder they have lost two games in OT. Laboral Kutxa on the other hand is a team that started to rebuild and already plans how to enter next season. They managed to win against Panathenaikos and Unicaja in the Top 16 phase, which only shows that they are a team that has spirit.

Anadolu Efes-Laboral Kutxa-Euroleague

Injury Status:
Anadolu Efes – Out: Gasper Vidmar, Ilkan Karaman and Kenan Sipahi.
Laboral Kutxa – Out: Lamont Hamilton

 

Maccabi Electra vs. Real Madrid – Group F (20:05 CET)

Derby of the giants. These two teams always provide interesting matchups especially when Maccabi plays at home. With a win tonight Maccabi Electra will confirm their spot among Europe’s Top 8 teams this year. Real Madrid needs the win in the race for the first place in the group.

Maccabi won all of their home games in the Top 16 phase and will need one more win in their last three games (Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow and FC Bayern Munich) to reach the playoffs. It is an important home game for the Israeli after they failed to win in Belgrade against Partizan last week.

Real Madrid received a big blow after their visit to Bayern two rounds ago, but they have focused and continued with a win against their direct rival for the first spot in Group F – CSKA Moscow.

Real Madrid-Maccabi Electra-Euroleague-Top 16In their last matchup Real Madrid won in a close contest at home, leaving Maccabi Electra to battle for one of the bottom two spots that lead to the playoffs. It will be a tough game tonight as well, a game whose outcome can steer things up a little bit in Group F.

Injury Staus:
Maccabi Electra – Out: Shawn James (back). Probable: Joe Ingles (rest)
Real Madrid – Out: Jaycee Carroll (knee)

 

Unicaja Malaga vs. Olympiacos Piraeus – Group E (20:45 CET)

We saved the best for the end. Voted as the most interesting game of the week. Direct battle between two European giants that will decide which one of these two teams will boost their chances to enter the playoffs.

Spanoulis is back for Olympiacos and that is the best news they had in a long time. He led the team to a victory against Laboral Kutxa last week, after a streak of four consecutive loses for the Greek side. Olympiacos has been the champion of Europe in the past two years, feature that only two teams in the history of the Eurolague managed to accomplish. Now they play for a greater cause, they play to win three Euroleague Championships in a row.

Unicaja has lost three times already this season against Olympiacos, but this game is played in a different atmosphere, it is almost a win or go home situation for both sides.

Olympiacos Piraeus-Unicaja Malaga-Euroleague-Top16

Fenerbahce probably has the easiest schedule from all three teams that battle for the final playoff spot in this group. Everything will depend from the outcome of this game and what Fenerbahce does tomorrow night against Emporio Armani.

Injury Status:
Unicaja Malaga – Sergi Vidal, Nik Caner-Medley and Rafa Hettsheimeir  missed the last Spanish League game last weekend.
Olymipacos Piraeus – Out: Perperoglou Doubtful: Printezis

 

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