Regular Season Round 11: Three nights of thrills!
More vital wins will be up for grabs as the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague heads into Round 11, featuring two of the competition's highest-scoring teams going head to head and a Game of the Week between two teams looking to break into the all-important top eight.
In a rare Wednesday fixture, Brose Bamberg broke its series of big leads that resulted in heartbreaking losses in style by steamrolling Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 70-85. With its first road win this season, Bamberg broke a five-game losing streak and lifted its record to 3-8, while Maccabi fell to 5-6. Nicolo Melli led the charge with career highs of 27 points, 14 rebounds, 6 three-pointers and a performance index rating of 40! After seven players shared 9-for-14 three-point shooting in the first half, Bamberg tied its club record in EuroLeague play by making 13 of 27 from downtown, or 48.1%. Andrew Goudelock scored 20 points for Maccabi, which went scoreless during the first four minutes of the first quarter and the first three of the second, after which it never got closer to the German champs than 8 points.
Fenerbahce Istanbul chalked up its fourth consecutive victory by overpowering Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 87-72 on Thursday at Fenerbahce Ulker Sports Arena. Ekpe Udoh dominated inside with 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks and Jan Vesely added 14 points to lead the Turkish champs, who outrebounded Zvezda 35-23 as they improved to 8-3 on the season. A 9-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters gave Fenerbahce the lead for good. Zvezda lost its third straight game in falling to 4-7. Marko Simonovic made 4 of 6 threes for 14 points to lead Zvezda.
Defending champion CSKA Moscow put on an offensive clinic in the third quarter and made a series of defensive stops in the second half, racing away to a 64-79 road win against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan on Thursday night at Mediolanum Forum despite missing its top two scorers. Milan led 38-36 at halftime, but CSKA scored 30 points in the third quarter and allowed only 10 points in the fourth en route to a win that improved its record to 10-1 atop the standings. Milan dropped to 4-7. CSKA played without last season’s EuroLeague MVP Nando De Colo and All-EuroLeague playmaker and this season’s assist leader Milos Teodosic. And after some struggles in the first half, the visitors dominated in the second behind Dmitry Kulagin who scored a career-high 14 points, and Aaron Jackson who had 14 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Miroslav Raduljica led Milan with 11 points.
Real Madrid (7-3) will be gunning for its fourth consecutive home win against an in-form Zalgiris Kaunas (4-6) which has won three of its last four games. Madrid's efficiency is reflected in the league's best assist-turnover ratio (184.4%), contributing to the second-highest scoring offense in the competition with an average of 89.5 points per game. Zalgiris will look to gain the physical edge, coming into the game ranked joint second in rebounding, with its 36.9 boards per game slightly better than Madrid's average of 36.5.
On Friday, the Game of the Week comes from Istanbul where high-scoring Anadolu Efes (5-5) and visiting FC Barcelona Lassa (5-5) will look to break into the top half of the standings. Efes, gunning for its fourth straight win at the Abdi Ipekci Arena, tops the league in rebounds (38.3 per game) and ranks third in scoring (87.4 points per game). The visitors have scored fewer points than any other team (70.6 per game) but also have the best defense, allowing an average of just 73.7 points.
Another team on 5-5, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens, will attempt to deny a first road win for visiting Galatasaray Odeabank Istanbul (3-7). Expect plenty of exciting action around the rim – these teams have blocked more shots than anyone else, with only Galatasaray (4.2 per game) rejecting more than Panathinaikos (4.1 per game). They have also committed the fewest number of turnovers, with Panathinaikos conceding possession just 10.5 times per game, and Galatasaray turning it over slightly more, 10.7 per game.
In Piraeus, Olympiacos (6-4) will seek to stay in the playoff places against a visit from Unics Kazan (3-7), which set a new club record by scoring 100 points last week. The two teams are tied for the fewest number of assists in the league, just 15.5 per game, but it should be a fierce battle under the boards with Olympiacos ranked second in defensive rebounds (26.1 per game) while Unics is placed third in offensive rebounds (11.9 per game).
And finally, two teams with big ambitions meet in Spain as Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (6-4) welcome a Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (5-5) side aiming to end a three-game losing streak. Baskonia has claimed more defensive rebounds than anyone else (26.3 per game) while Darussafaka is ranked next-to-last in that category (21.3 per game). But the visiting team has the clear edge in long-range shooting, tied for second in the league with 9.4 triples per game, with Baskonia sinking an average of just 7.5 three-pointers.
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