We come off a strong Round 28, in which three road warriors picked up really important wins that had a big impact in the standings. Anadolu Efes Istanbul defeated Buducnost VOLI Podgorica to clinch fourth place in the standings. Efes not only managed to get the home-court advantage, but was also the first playoffs team to find out its final regular season ranking. In a thriller and a critical game for both teams, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens topped AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan 83-95 behind a legendary performance from Nick Calathes: 27 points, 8 rebounds and 14 assists. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv edged Khimki Moscow Region on the road to remain in the playoffs race. In a battle of powerhouses, CSKA topped Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 70-68 on Cory Higgins's late heroics. FC Bayern Munich edged FC Barcelona Lassa 73-71 on a last-second shot by Petteri Koponen – against his former team! – and KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz registered a very important home win against Real Madrid, pulling down 50 rebounds. Zalgiris Kaunas and Herbalife Gran Canaria posted blowout home wins, too.
So, there are two rounds left in the regular season, then the playoffs, then the Final Four! That's a maximum 40 games until the end of the season – probably less! First things first: here are our five recommendations for EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge before Round 29.
Nick Calathes, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (2.28 million) – The man of the moment, coming off one of the best games of his career. Calathes had a monster double-double in Milan and has led Panathinaikos on its current six-game winning streak. No fantasy team will be fully competitive without Calathes.
Vincent Poirier, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz (2.09 million) – He pulled down 24 offensive rebounds in the last four games, which says enough about his hunger, willingness and determination. Poirier is in the best moment of his career and he only keeps getting better and better.
Jeremy Evans, Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul (1.75 million) – He comes off an extraordinary double week, averaging 17 points on 14-of-17 two-point shooting and a PIR of 27. Darussafaka may be eliminated, but the team is still fighting, and Evans is playing really well right now.
Johnny O'Bryant, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (920,000) – His team plays a critical game against already-eliminated Gran Canaria and will need its main players to step up. O'Bryant had a great performance against Khimki – 16 points, 11 rebounds – and wants to keep his momentum going.
Marius Grigonis, Zalgiris Kaunas (1.49 million) – He has not missed a free throw attempt since mid-December, and it is not because of a lack of shots. Grigonis is money from the foul line and has improved a lot in the second part of the regular season, becoming a serious threat from all distances.