Tip off (EL 6g.) – Battles for survival

2014-11-19T20:28:14+00:00 2015-05-23T16:13:37+00:00.

Aris Barkas

19/Nov/14 20:28

Eurohoops.net

The second round of the regular season starts with 8 big games games on Thursday. The time has come for survival battles to begin for many teams and also many new “old” names returning in the league

By Nikos Varlas/ varlas@eurohoops.net

Thursday is the day of the main even in the sixth week of action in Euroleague. In total eight games will be played, we have fights for the top, but mainly games which may decide the Top16 fate of many teams, which are already on the verge of elimination.

Eurohoops game of the week: EA7 MilanoFenerbahce/ Ulker

Both teams are coming from important wins in their domestic leagues. The hosts (2-3) need the result which will solidify their course towards the Top16, while Fenerbahce (3-2) wishes to make one more step forward. They are teams which similar characteristics, having talented offensive players and also defensive and chemistry issues. It will be a test of character for both of them. It’s also a game in which details will count, as EA7 Milano will try to cover the three points differential from their first round defeat in Istanbul (77-74).

Honorable mention: GalatasarayCrvena Zvezda

Galatasaray (2-3) once again is in turmoil, after losing to Fenerbahce for TBL, still faces financial issues and has an eye on the market after cutting its ties with Nolan Smith and losing Pocius and Micov to injuries. Crvena Zvezda (3-2) is one of the pleasant surprises of the league so far and the win for the hosts is a must. It’s also a fact that Galatasaray plays much better at home. The same can be said for the Serbs, but they have proven in Vitoria that they are growing as a team. Galatasaray’s players will also have on the back of their mind the 8 points differential (76-68) from the first round defeat in Belgrade.

The question: Will Zalgiris endure?

Young and hopeful Zalgiris (3-2) is unbeaten at home, but now hosts Real Madrid (4-1) which comes from the road defeat by Anadolu Efes in Istanbul. The Lithuanians are also a team which produces much better basketball at home, but even without fan favorite in Kaunas Rudy Fernandez, Real Madrid is the – much – better team, at least on paper. So the question is simple: Can Zalgiris produces one more game like the one in Madrid – Real won 80-71 – and create even more trouble for the Spanish powerhouse?

Under the microscope: Neptunas – Laboral Kutxa

It’s a key game for the Top16 race. Neptunas (2-3) has already two home wins and totally transforms for the better at Klaipeda. Laboral (2-3) after losing two straight games, changed a coach, added Begic this week and it’s still a work in progress. It sounds strange, but the Lithuanians are the favorite at this point and we will have to monitor their reaction in the first game that they are a facing a must win situation.

Battle for survival

Unics Kazan (1-4) replaced coach Pedoulakis with Evgeny Pashutin, according to our sources is also probing the marker for a big guy and has to play Anadolu Efes (4-1) having its back on the wall. What the hosts desperately need is chemistry and some of their players have to convince themselves that they should play for the team.

Dinamo Sassari (1-4) hosts Nizhny Novgorod (2-3) and only a win can keep the Italians alive. However Nizhny comes from three big wins – two for VTB – and the status of the team has improved dramatically.

In Munich, Bayern (1-4) will have Bo McCalebb ready to go in a no hold bars contest against unbeaten Barcelona (5-0). We expect a real fight since the situation is more than simple. Only a miracle will get Bayern to Top16, if they lose a third game at home. What will be the key? Defense, which has also been a problem for the Germans so far.

The situation is similar in Piraeus, but the guests have the problem. Olympiacos (5-0) still without Printezis and Lojeski hosts battered Valencia (1-4) which just need to win and hopes that Nemanja Nedovic’s debut can turn the tide.

Finally in Poland, Turow (1-4) has to play a must win game against Panathinaikos (2-3) in order to stay alive on the Top16 race.

Euroleague 2014-2015 – 6th Day

FC Bayern

F.C. Barcelona

Olympiacos

Valencia

Neptunas

Laboral Kutxa

Zalgiris

Real Madrid

PGE Turow

Panathinaikos

CSKA Moscow

Alba Berlin

EA7 Milano

Fenerbahce

Galatasaray MP

Crvena Zvezda T.

Limoges

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Unicaja Malaga

Cedevita Zagreb

Dinamo Sassari

Nizhny Novgorod

UNICS Kazan

Anadolu Efes