Regular Season, Round 3: Get ready for the busiest of weeks!
The first two-round week of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season arrives in Round 3. The games are split into four games on Tuesday and four more on Wednesday. All the teams will have quick turnarounds with Round 4 games on Thursday and Friday. The Round 3 opener will see Khimki Moscow Region’s Charles Jenkins welcome old friends when Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade visits. Wednesday starts with a repeat of the 2007 and 2009 championship games between CSKA Moscow and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens followed by the first derby of the season with Fenerbahce Dogus and Anadolu Efes clashing in Istanbul.
Khimki Moscow Region vs. Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade
Round 3 opens in Russia, where Khimki Moscow Region (2-0) will look to make the most of its three-game homestand to open the season when it faces Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade (1-1). Khimki plays aggressive defense, which has seen it lead the league with 10.0 steals per game, but also commit the most fouls in the league (27.0 per game). The hosts are led by star guard Alexey Shved (17.5 ppg.), while Thomas Robinson (17.5 ppg., 8.0 rpg.) 2.0 bpg.) has been a monster in the paint. Zvezda has done well attacking from the perimeter; the team is second in the league with 9.5 three-pointers made per game. It’s top performers are veteran big man Milko Bjelica (20.5 ppg.) and former EuroLeague Top Scorer Taylor Rochestie (16.0 ppg., 7.0 apg.).
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv vs. Olympiacos Piraeus
The teams that have allowed the fewest points through the first two games of the season will clash when Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (2-0) hosts Olympiacos Piraeus (2-0). Each team has held its opponents to just 69.5 points on average while starting the season 2-0. This game is Round 3’s lone matchup between undefeated teams. Maccabi is tied for the league lead in blocks (4.5 bpg.) with center Art Parakhouski (2.5 bpg.) leading all players. The offense is fueled by the guard duo of Round 1 MVP Pierre Jackson (16.0 ppg.) and Norris Cole (15.0 ppg.). The Reds have started the season well despite missing star guard Vassilis Spanoulis. Georgios Printezis (13.0 ppg.) and center Niloka Milutinov are two players Olympiacos will look to as difference makers in Tel Aviv.
FC Barcelona Lassa vs. Zalgiris Kaunas
FC Barcelona Lassa (1-1) will have its top-ranked offense (90. ppg.) on display when it faces Zalgiris Kaunas (1-1). Ranked second in the league in rebounding (40.5 rpg.), Barcelona has done well in transition thanks to point guard Thomas Heurtel (12.0 ppg.), whose 10.0 assists per game are most in the league. Kevin Seraphin (20.0 ppg.) has been the team’s main reference inside. Zalgiris has committed the most turnovers (17.0 TOpg.) in the league thus far and must cut that number to have a good chance in Barcelona. The one player it knows it can rely on is veteran big man Paulius Jankunas (19.5 ppg.), who leads the league in performance index rating (32.0). Aaron White and Kevin Pangos will also need to contribute for the squad led by Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, a former Barcelona guard, to be at their best.
Real Madrid vs. AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan
Real Madrid (2-0) has won its last eight games against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (0-2) and will look to extend that run on Tuesday. Madrid leads the league in three-pointers made (10.0 per game) this season with teenage sensation Luka Doncic (20.5 ppg.) serving as the focal point of the offense. Madrid also relies on Rudy Fernandez, who leads the league in steals (3.0 spg.), and the league co-leader in rebounding Gustavo Ayon (10.5 rpg), who will need to carry some extra weight in the paint following injuries to Anthony Randolph and Ognjen Kuzmic. Milan, which is the second most accurate three-point shooting team (39.1%), has played much better than its record shows so far, but been unfortunate to open the season with three games against Final Four teams from last season. Swingman Vladimir Micov (15.5 ppg.) and sixth man Dairis Bertans (15.0 ppg.) lead a deep Milan squad with six players averaging double figures in points.
CSKA Moscow vs. Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens
One of basketball’s great international rivalries renews itself in this matchup between CSKA Moscow (1-1) and Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens (1-1). CSKA leads the league in rebounding (41.0 rpg.) and offensive rebounds (16.5 orpg.) in part thanks to league co-leader in rebounding Will Clyburn (15.o ppg., 10.5 ppg., 2.5 spg.). The Russian champs will look to former MVPs Nando De Colo (14.0 ppg.) and Sergio Rodriguez to take control at home. The Greens can ill-afford to give away points from the free throw line like in recent week; Panathinaikos is bottom of the league in free throw accuracy (60.9%). Playmaker Nick Calathes (18.5 ppg.) will have a staunch challenge, but is in great form after tying his career high in scoring last week. Chris Singleton (11.0 ppg., 7.5 rpg.) will be asked to battle a deep CSKA frontline.
Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul vs. Anadolu Efes Istanbul
The first derby of the season will take place in Istanbul with Fenerbahce Dogus (1-1) taking on Anadolu Efes Istanbul (0-2). The champs are the most accurate three-point shooting team (43.9%) in the league and tied for the league lead in blocks (4.5 bpg.), which are both key stats for Coach Obradovic’s side. Kostas Sloukas (16.0 ppg.) and Gigi Datome (14.5 ppg.) have been the steady hands for Fenerbahce, which is still working several new faces into the rotation. The good news for Efes is that it has committed the fewest turnovers (8.5 TOpg.) in the league so far. On the other hand, it is the worst three-point shooting team (16.2%), a number that it must improve on immediately. The man expected to change that is league co-leader in scoring Erick McCollum (23.0 ppg.), with Ricky Ledo (17.0 ppg.) also playing a big role.
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz vs. Valencia Basket
A pair of Spanish squad will face off when Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (0-2) hosts Valencia Basket (1-1). Baskonia is the lowest-scoring team (66.0 ppg.) in the league, but with weapons like Rodrigue Beaubois (22.0 ppg.) and Toko Shengelia, there is hope for a big offensive game any time. The opposition is led by red-hot guard Erick Green (23.0 ppg.), who was the Round 2 MVP and is the league co-leader in scoring. Big man Bojan Dubljevic is another key piece for Valencia, which plays at a faster pace than Baskonia and has superior rebounding numbers.
Unicaja Malaga vs. Brose Bamberg
Round 3 comes to a close in a matchup of reigning 7DAYS EuroCup champion Unicaja Malaga (1-1) and German champion Brose Bamberg (0-2). Unicaja is the second-worst three-point shooting team (23.7%) in the league and will need more accuracy from the likes of Dragan Milosavljevic (11.0 ppg.) and Ray McCallum (10.0 ppg.) to jumpstart the attack. Bamberg’s most effective players have been center Leon Radosevic (15.5 ppg.) and guard Ricky Hickman (14.5 ppg.). Unicaja is the superior rebounding team with an average of 14.0 offensive rebounds per game, which is something Bamberg must limit to have an advantage as it seeks its first win of the season.