Tip off (Top16 2g.): Less road upsets

2015-01-07T22:10:09+00:00 2015-05-23T16:13:34+00:00.

Aris Barkas

07/Jan/15 22:10

Eurohoops.net

It’s time for the second week of Top16 action with four games on Thursday and four on Friday. So what we may expect? The answer is less road wins, compared to the five of the first gameday

By Nikos Varlas/ varlas@eurohoops.net

It’s time for the second week of Top16 action with four games on Thursday and four on Friday. So what we may expect? The answer is less road wins, compared to the five of the first gameday

Eurohoops game of the week: Barcelona – Panathinaikos

It’s a classic couple in modern Euroleague history and already the stakes are high. It’s more than unusual for a team like Barcelona to have a negative record in Top16, even after one game (0-1), and to come from three consecutive defeats, two in Liga Endesa and one by Alba in Euroleague. Panathinaikos started Top16 with a win over Maccabi, but lost in the Greek league to PAOK.

Abrines and Oleson are ready to return, so we expect to see them at least for some minutes on the court. The hosts need the win, they have already beaten Panathinaikos two times so far in regular season and they will try to get the ball in the paint, in order to take advantage of the poor post defense of the Greens. Despite its recent results, Barcelona is still the favorite, unless Panathinaikos manages to shoot with high efficiency from the three points line, a weapon that works mainly at home.

Honorable mention: Nizhny Novgorod – Fenerbahce/ Ulker

The big pleasant surprise of Euroleague’s regular season is already the Cinderella of this year’s tournament and has a 1-0 record. They hosts Fenerbahce/ Ulker (0-1) which comes from two defeats, by CSKA Moscow and Dogus Darussafaka in TBL. One more misstep will create turbulence in the course of Zoc’s unit. The bad news for the Turkish club, is that Nizhny’s style of play doesn’t help them at all. It’s all about defense in Novgorod, the Russians know how to control the games and impose a low tempo.

Fenerbahce should do quite the opposite, but defensive efficiency is needed for that. If Rochestie gets cut off from the rest of the team and the individual defense on Parakhouski and Kinsey is effficient, then the guests will be on the right track. They have the talent after all, but Nizhny has the chemistry.

The question mark: Maccabi Tel AvivCrvena Zvezda

The both started with a defeat and now they will fight each other representing a clash of styles. The hosts like to play run and gun, hoping that the individual talent of their players can make the difference. Zvezda is build on defense, they like to attack on five on five situations and get advantage of Marjanovic in the post.

So it will be a game of rhythm. If the Israelis manage to run, then Marjanovic will probably be left out of the game and they will get the advantage. If not, then the Serbs have the quality and the experience from the regular season to fight until the end. We expect also to see more of Joe Alexander in his second Euroleague game with Maccabi.

Under the microscope: Zalgiris – Alba Berlin

For the second time the last three seasons, the two teams are Top16 opponents. Zalgiris (0-1) with the exception of the win over Sassari, doesn’t have the same momentum they had in the start of the season. Alba (0-1) is quite the contrary both in BBL and in Euroleague and knows that road wins are needed in order to reach the play offs.

The Lithuanians at home will try to bring energy on the court, probably better rebounding and less turnovers. All those things depend a lot on their natural leader, James Anderson. Alba is a team of rhythm and physiology, which starts from the back court trio of Redding, Renfroe and Hammonds and then gets to the paint with the help of MacLean. If those four are feeling it, then anything seems possible.

The favorites

It’s risky to use that word, as an upset is always around the corner. Still on same cases things seems to be quite clear. Olympiacos (1-0) hosts EA7 Milano (0-1), which – until proven otherwise – has serious defensive and chemistry issues. If the Greek play solid defense and force the Italians to bad offensive choices, then things should be quite easy. Real Madrid (1-0) is not sizzling, but they have the advantage at home, because of their talent, against Galatasaray (1-0), which still is a work in progress.

Laboral Kutxa (0-1) is an unpredictable team, but against unbeaten CSKA Moscow (1-0) that is not enough. Finally in Istanbul, Thomes Heurtel is expected to be better adapted to the needs of his new team and Unicaja Malaga (0-1) has to play much better than usual in order to prevail. We don’t expect a walk in the part for Anadolu Efes (1-0), but still the hosts have the first – and probably the last – word.

Euroleague 2014-2015 – 12th Day

Anadolu Efes

Unicaja Malaga

F.C. Barcelona

Panathinaikos

Zalgiris

Alba Berlin

Nizhny Novgorod

Fenerbahce

CSKA Moscow

Laboral Kutxa

Olympiacos

EA7 Milano

Maccabi Tel Aviv

Crvena Zvezda T.

Real Madrid

Galatasaray MP