Two talented teams are set to clash in the Spanish capital. Madrid routed Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv last week and sits atop the standings with a 6-0 record. Khimki won its first game two weeks ago against Herbalife Gran Canaria, but came up short last week versus FC Barcelona Lassa and will be without EuroLeague leading scorer Alexey Shved. Khimki has won two of its last three games in Madrid, including an 80-86 decision last season.
With Shved sidelined, Anthony Gill will see more responsabilities on offense. He can open the floor with his three-point shots or use his post skills and strength to score around the basket. He faces a tough matchup against a top-class defender like Anthony Randolph, who also has unlimited range and smooth low post moves.
Bartzokas, Laso have clashed at the top
The head coaches in this game have met in plenty of high-pressure situations in the past. Bartzokas led Olympiacos over Laso's Madrid in the 2013 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game in London. A year later, Laso's men outlasted Bartzokas's Reds 3-2 in the EuroLeague Playoffs. They also dueled in el Clasico when Bartzokas coached FC Barcelona during the 2016-17 season.
Keys to victory: Real Madrid
Madrid leads the league in scoring (93.8 ppg.), rebounding (38.7 rpg.) and assists (21.8 apg.) and is third in three-point shooting (44.6%). One reason for Madrid's dominance is its depth; 10 players on the roster are averaging at least 6 points per game. That teamwork ensures that even if one or two players are struggling, there are many others able to step into their shoes. That depth makes Madrid dangerous every night.
Keys to victory: Khimki
Khimki is second-bottom in the league in rebounding this season (27.3 rpg.), though it is tied for the league lead in steals (8.2 spg.). It is imperative for Khimki big men Malcolm Thomas and Jordan Mickey to keep Madrid's rebounding studs Walter Tavares and Gustavo Ayon at bay, while as a team Khimki must turn its defensive gambles into steals and easy baskets. If the visitors can do that, Khimki will be in the hunt for another win in Madrid.
Trey Thompkins and Ognjen Kuzmic will be out for the game against Khimki for Real Madrid. Shved did not travel due to illness.