Tip off (Top16 10g.) – La Bomba’s legend!

2014-03-12T19:12:19+00:00 2015-05-23T16:13:42+00:00.

Aris Barkas

12/Mar/14 19:12


All the eyes will be fixed on Barcelona and the game against Olympiacos. Not so much about what will happen on the court, but for the historical all time record of Juan Carlos Navarro in a night that will be remember, no matter the result

By Nikos Varlas/ varlas@eurohoops.net

The 10th Top16 gameday is upon us and most of the games are almost do or die affairs. However, the game between Barcelona and Olympiacos is stealing the show. Not so much for its possible outcome, but because of Juan Carlos Navarro who will become the all time leader in Euroleague games appearances in a duel between two teams which both have reached the play offs the eight seasons.

Game of the week: Barcelona – Olympiacos

Barcelona is the only team already qualified for this season’s play offs. For the ninth straight season the Catalans are one round away from the Final Four and Olympiacos wants to keep the same pace, as the Greeks have also an eight seasons play offs streak. The Reds are the defending champions but they have just a 4-5 record, three defeats in a row and they will have to fight in order to advance. Add to the night the fact that Juan Carlos Navarro will become the all time leader in Euroleague with 253 games played, surpassing Thodoris Papaloukas and also Kostas Papanikolaou hosting his former team in Spain.

However, on the court, Barca is the absolute favorite. Τhe hosts have a 9-0 Top16 record, Olympiacos will not have available Vasilis Spanoulis and Giorgos Printezis. The festivities and an opponent which has already qualified to the next round are the hope of Olympiacos in order to try and “steal” the game.

Honorable mention: Fenerbahce Ulker – Unicaja Malaga

This is going to be a fight! Fenerbahce (4-5) of coach Obradovic has already made its come back, but next week will have to visit Athens for a do or die game against Panathinaikos and that makes the home win against Unicaja (4-5) a must.

Fener is playing much better at home, Pierre Jackson is slowly adapting to his new environment, but Unicaja is not an easy prey. On the contrary the Spaniards specially in the first game against the Turks proved that specially their back court can create real trouble for their opponents. A win by Fener will make the possible ties in Group E for the last two play offs spots even more complicated, a win by Malaga will make the guests the big favorite for the third place.

War: Lokomotiv Kuban – Galatasaray

This is the most important game of Group F. After beating Maccabi Tel Aviv, Lokomotiv Kuban (4-5) is hosting Galatasaray (3-5) in the most crucial game for both teams. That applies even more to the guests.

If the Turkish champions can’t get the road win, then it will be almost impossible for them to get to the play offs, as they will have a two wins disadvantage against the Russians who will also have the tie break advantage, because of their 63-62 win in Istanbul. Add to the equation the 4-5 record of Bayern Munich and Galata is essentialy playing for its life. We expect a big and close game, that could be decided even in the last shot, even without Kruboslav Simon on the court due to his injury.

Need for win: Anadolu EfesPanathinaikos

Anadolu Efes (2-7) has the fighting spirit but not the results. After losing to Barcelona in overtime – Erden’s blunder probably erased the last viable hopes – the qualification to the play offs is a long shot. On the contrary Panathinaikos (4-5) is still in the game, but after losing at home to Laboral Kutxa, coach Argiris Pedoulakis was fired, Fragkiskos Alvertis and Dimitris Priftis are the new faces on the bench and the Greens need to returns to win before the historical return of Zeljko Obradovic at OAKA.

James Gist is expected to miss the game, his absence will be a problem, but Panathinaikos just has to win. On the other side Anadolu Efes tried its best during Top16, we are not expect the hosts to back down without a fight and the result will be a slow tempo, low scoring game.

Sergio: Laboral Kutxa – EA7 Milano

In a strange turn of events, Odom-less Laboral Kutxa (2-7) after seven Top16 defeats, beat Panathinaikos at Athens and now hosts EA7 Milano (6-3) which is the favorite for the second place in Group E, even if coach Banchi doesn’t want to say it loud yet. The pride and sports ego of Baskonia will push the players to fight, coach Sergio Scariolo would like a win against his former team, from which he left without achieving any major goal, but the Italians are sizzling and they have the opportunity to “lock” the second place”.

Like football: Bayern Munich – Real Madrid

There is a long history for this couple, but in UEFA’s champions league. Bayern (4-5) in its first Euroleague appearance is still on the race for the play offs, but against Madrid (8-1) they will have a really high wall to climb. The result is almost entirely depended on the guests and we expect a really uptempo, spectacular game.

A classic: Maccabi Tel AvivZalgiris Kaunas

This match up has a long tradition of big games. Most notably, in 2004 Maccabi qualified to the Final Four which the team hosted thanks to Derrick Sharp’s version of “The Shot” against Sabonis’ team. However, now the hosts have a 6-3 record, the play offs qualification in their pockets and Zalgiris (1-8) will just try its best in order to be competitive. Add to the important notes of the game, the return of Saras Jasikevicius in the land where he is still considered a basketball god.

Revenge: CSKA Moscow – Partizan

It’s the first game in this week’s schedule and CSKA wants revenge from Partizan. The road defeat of the Russians in Belgrade is still a hick up in CSKA’s quest for the top spot of Group F and one more defeat is not an option. Partizan (2-7) is expected to fight, they did that after all at home against Bayern and can’t be underestimated. Still, CSKA, at least on paper, is a much, much better team…

Euroleague 2013-2014 – 20th Day
FC Bayern Real Madrid
Fenerbahce Unicaja Malaga
Laboral Kutxa EA7 Milano
Anadolu Efes Panathinaikos
F.C. Barcelona Olympiacos
Lokomotiv Kuban Galatasaray MP
CSKA Moscow Partizan NIS
Maccabi Tel Aviv Zalgiris