CSKA Moscow host Fenerbahce in a rematch of last season’s EuroLeague championship game on Friday as the last round of games before the short Christmas break commences.
Both teams have a long EuroLeague history together, as they have played as many as 20 times prior to this one, with CSKA holding the positive edge of a 16-4 record. However, the league leaders are sweating on the fitness of Nando De Colo and Milos Teodosic for Friday’s encounter.
“It is going to be a tough game,” says CSKA’s Cory Higgins. “We have to be ready in almost back-to-back situation, after the difficult game in Tel Aviv. Fenerbahce will be extra motivated against us. We have to play as a team, to fight.”
∞∞∞ BATTLE NEAR THE TOP IN ATHENS ∞∞∞
Second placed Baskonia will travel to Panathinaikos in a highly anticipated battle at the OAKA in Athens.
These two teams have a long EuroLeague history together, having played each other as many as 19 times, with the Spanish squad leading the way with 10-9 record.
“Baskonia has a very good team in all positions,” Panathinaikos coach Xavi Pascual said. “They have many good players and we must be prepared and very focused, because it is a very difficult game.
“Baskonia makes an excellent season. Now we play at OAKA and hopefully we will have a great atmosphere for our players and we have to play well.”
∞∞∞ MACCABI LOOK TO GET BACK ON TRACK IN ISTANBUL ∞∞∞
Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv pushed CSKA Moscow to their limits on Wednesday but fell short. On Friday they hit the road as they face an unpredictable Darussafaka Dogus side in Istanbul.
The hosts own a 7-6 record and are currently riding a two-game winning streak, while Maccabi look to end their four-game slide, which has not been helped by coaching changes and the struggle to find an identity as a team.
The game will also see Darussafaka coach David Blatt face-off against his former side for whom he won the 2014 EuroLeague title with before he moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
∞∞∞ A MUCH NEEDED WIN IN BARCELONA ∞∞∞
Barcelona host EA7 Milano on Friday with both sides wanting a win as their ultimate Christmas present.
The Catalan side, plagued by injuries all season long, are currently on the wrong end of a three-game losing streak with Milano desperately looking to end their six-game slide.
“We cannot play worse than we did against Panathinaikos,” revealed Milano coach Jasmin Respesa. “Now we have to face another tough opponent in Barcelona and we need to fix what we can honestly fix, like being mentally stronger and not letting the bad moments to last very long.”