Round 29 was everything a basketball fan could hope for – and much more. A lot of road wins, a lot of decisive results and even a buzzer-beater that could change the playoffs map. Rudy Fernandez hit an off-balance, impossible circus shot to lift Real Madrid over Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in the Greek capital. Zalgiris Kaunas stayed alive by defeating Olympiacos Piraeus on the road, too, for its fifth consecutive win. The Lithuanian powerhouse now has good chances to advance. It was a very good round for all three Turkish teams. Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul had a great game against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan, playing very fluid basketball. Anadolu Efes Istanbul used a different rotation that worked really well against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. Baskonia would have clinched sixth place with a win, but instead needs to fight for a playoffs spot against CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital. And Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul eliminated FC Bayern Munich, showing great character in its home finale. FC Barcelona Lassa topped Buducnost VOLI Podgorica, CSKA took the Leningradka derby against Khimki Moscow Region, and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv recorded a comfortable win against Herbalife Gran Canaria to remain a playoffs contender.
If you think Round 29 was exciting, here comes Round 30. Six teams will battle for three playoffs spots, and literally, anything can happen. Get ready for some exciting basketball and some top individual performances. Here are our five weekly recommendations in the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge.
Tibor Pleiss, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (870,000) – Bryant Dunston got injured and missed Round 29. With extended playing time, Pleiss had a very solid game against Baskonia: 21 points, 12 rebounds and a PIR of 28. Dunston was supposed to be out for two weeks, and since Efes will be fourth no matter what, I expect the team to be conservative with Dunston and give Pleiss more playing time, which usually leads to a higher PIR.
Keith Langford, Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (1.22 million) – Slowly but steadily, Langford is becoming Panathinaikos's most reliable scorer. He had 17 points against Milan and 14 against Madrid, with a PIR average of 20. His team faces a do-or-die game against Buducnost and will need its main players to rise up to the challenge. Langford never hides in tough situations. Expect him to play well.
Briante Weber, Olympiacos Piraeus (890,000) – Olympiacos lost team leader Vassilis Spanoulis for the remainder of the season, and new alternatives were needed at point guard. Weber had a solid individual performance last week: 26 points and 21 PIR. Olympiacos is in a must-win situation, and Weber seems the right player to go against Round 29 MVP Toney Douglas – and at a very reasonable price, too.
Johannes Voigtmann, KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz (1.93 million) – A mobile big man who can run the floor and take three-point shots like a guard, Voigtmann is ready to contribute in Baskonia's decisive regular season finale. He had a PIR of 15 or higher in each of the last five games, and even when Toko Shengelia is back, Voigtmann will remain a pillar in Baskonia's offense.
Brandon Davies, Zalgiris Kaunas (1.89 million) – Zalgiris is rolling, and Davies is a big part of that. Davies had a PIR of 17 or better in each of the last five games, which shows great consistency. It is no surprise that Zalgiris won them all with its main big man working at that level. Davies was last season's MVP for April. He is used to playing his best basketball around this time. Go for him!