Round 24 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague tips off on Thursday with four big games. CSKA Moscow can extend at the top if it beats Maccabi Tel Aviv, while Zalgiris can continue its great form with a win over Barcelona. Valencia and Brose Bamberg will clash in a game between two inconsistent teams, while finally a basement battle sees Milan host bottom team Anadolu Efes.
Zalgiris Kaunas vs. FC Barcelona Lassa
Most hoops fans will be used to seeing the fortunes of these clubs reversed in a normal Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. However, this year, Zalgiris is high-flying in fifth place with a 14-9 record, while Barca is one off the bottom with a dismal 7-16 showing. A win tomorrow will complete a double for Zalgiris over the Catalan giant this season. Barcelona is not traveling well this season, so the team will have to turn in a big performance to get a win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow became the first club to qualify last week and now holds an 18-5 record. Don’t expect the club to take its foot off the gas when it meets another former Turkish Airlines EuroLeague winner in Maccabi Tel Aviv. CSKA is still in the hunt to ensure first place through the regular season. Maccabi will be a test at home, the Israeli club is doing well in a transition season with a 12-11 record. The hosts have also won six from their last seven at home. However, CSKA is scoring heavy with 93, 99, and 93 points in its last three games.
Valencia Basket vs. Brose Bamberg
Time is certainly running out for both Valencia and Brose Bamberg, but a win in this game could spur a season-saving run to the play-offs. Spanish champ Valencia is at 8-15 and has won four of its last five at home. If the team’s home form traveled with them, they would be higher up the standings. As for Bamberg, the German champions are inconsistent, but when they turn it on, it is usually in style. That said, the team does not turn it on when away from home and has not won on the road since Round 5.
AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul
The standings tell us neither of these clubs will be progressing this season and will play for pride. Anadolu is at the bottom of the standings with a 6-17 record, while Milan is close with a 7-16 showing. Efes has lost its last seven away from home and is in terrible form, so Milan will see this as a chance to grab a rare win.