The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs enter its second week with three teams - CSKA Moscow, Anadolu Efes Istanbul and AX Armani Exchange Milan - one win away from making it to the Final Four. No team has rallied from a 0-2 deficit in playoff history, but what happened in the past doesn't give you any sort of advantage and the three teams in do-or-die situations - Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, Real Madrid and FC Bayern Munich - play at home in Game 3. Efes has remarkably won all of its eight quarters against Real until now. Milan needed a last-second basket by Zach Leday to win Game 1 and CSKA trailed late in both games against Fenerbahce, but registered two good-as-gold victories. In the other series, Zenit St Petersburg stole the home-court advantage from FC Barcelona and became the first eighth-seeded team to win Game 1 of the playoffs. Games 3 and 4 at Sibur Arena promise to be truly exciting.
As for the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge, my team Gancedato heavily underperformed in Game 2 of the playoffs, scoring 97 points. Nikola Mirotic of Barcelona, my team captain, did not have a good game, and four other players scored 5.5 fantasy points or less. In other words, I need a major turnaround to be competitive again and I need to trade a lot of players to make it happen.
Fortunately for me, unlimited trades are allowed until the end of the season, so I have to make the most out of it. I am selling Johanes Voigtmann of CSKA Moscow because he had a PIR of 0 against Fenerbahce. I am also selling Jalen Reynolds of Bayern because playing against Kyle Hines is never easy. I am also letting Will Clyburn of CSKA go because he has been up-and-down lately and after giving it a deep thought, I am keeping Nando De Colo of Fenerbahce because simply put, I just cannot sell him. I am also selling Mirotic because I don't want three players from the same team and I really want to keep Cory Higgins.
The center position is though, as Edy Tavares of Real is questionable while Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce and Nikola Milutinov of CSKA are sidelined. Since he played so well in Game 2, I am buying Brandon Davies of Barcelona, who sat out in his team's Spanish League game against MoraBanc Andorra and should be fresh to face Zenit. I am buying Vladimir Lucic of Bayern because he usually plays better at home and his team needs his leadership in Game 3. I am buying Toko Shengelia of CSKA because I like his matchup against Fenerbahce as well as his combination of size and quickness. Finally, I am adding Kevin Pangos of Zenit because he has been completely on fire against his former team.
So Gancedato looks like this before Game 3 of the playoffs:
Vasilije Micic, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (PG) - Micic is poised. And determined. And ready to lead Efes, if he can, to a EuroLeague title. A must-have player.
Shane Larkin, Anadolu Efes Istanbul (SG) - Larkin is a monster performance waiting to happen and this is why I am taking my chances and naming him captain.
Cory Higgins, FC Barcelona (SF) - Picking him over Nikola Mirotic, hoping the move pays off. Higgins is always on fire when the game is truly decisive.
Toko Shengelia, CSKA Moscow (PF) - He had a strong all-around performance in Game 2 and seems to be in his best shape in months. Time to ride his momentum.
Brandon Davies, FC Barcelona (C) - Davies dominated the paint in Game 2 and was very effective. His defensive skills are always there and make him valuable.
Nando De Colo, Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul (G) - He plays against his former team and is one of the best players in the competition. I just cannot sell him.
Vladimir Lucic, FC Bayern Munich (F) - Bayern is in a do-or-die situation and I am sure Lucic wants to help his team keep rewriting history.
Kevin Pangos, Zenit St Petersburg (U) - He is controlling the game tempo against Barcelona and hitting one big shot after another. Pangos has been unstoppable.
That's all I have for you. Enjoy the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs as well as the 7DAYS EuroCup Finals between UNICS Kazan and AS Monaco. These two teams will be in the 2021-22 EuroLeague, after all. Have a lot of fun competing against thousands of managers with the EuroLeague Fantasy Challenge!