Olympiacos and Baskonia will lock horns in Piraeus on Friday to complete round 18 of the EuroLeague regular season with both sides entering the clash in good form.
The Reds have won three straight and seven of eight to improve to 12-5, while Baskonia had won six of seven before falling at Darussafaka Dogus last week for an 11-6 mark.
In their first meeting this season, Olympiacos claimed a 95-90 victory in Vitoria in October as Vassilis Spanoulis starred with 15 points and a career-high 15 assists. However Spanoulis missed his team’s game last week and his participation this week may be in question. Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos needs his captain and is aware of the task ahead.
“It’s a very difficult and important game for us,” he said. “Baskonia is a great team; they are very athletic, very talented and great in transition. We have, through our defence, to control the game and do our best to control the rhythm and stop their great offence.
“We have to be very focused and ready for a difficult game. We must follow our plan. This game is going to be different from the one that we played at their court.”
∞∞∞ DARUSSAFAKA LOOKS TO MAINTAIN HOT STREAK AT HOME ∞∞∞
Darussafaka Dogus will be looking for a fourth straight home in when they square off against Unics Kazan in Istanbul, Friday night.
The Turkish side sit in the eighth and final Playoff spot but will face a Unics side who themselves are in decent form having won four of its last five games. The Russian side are also on the heels of Darussafaka as they sit outside the top eight.
“I think this is a very important game,” says Kazan’s Orlando Johnson. “We need to be focused, try to get this win. We will fight like in Playoff. We will do everything to get the victory.”
The last time the two sides met, Darussafaka recorded an 94-87 win in round three, which was the first ever game between the clubs. Brad Wanamaker shined with 22 points and seven assists to lead the winners.
∞∞∞ MADRID LOOKS TO KEEP PACE WITH CSKA ∞∞∞
Real Madrid travel to Kaunas on Friday as they face Zalgiris hoping to keep up the pace with EuroLeague leaders CSKA Moscow at the top of the table.
With Real claiming the head-to-head series over the Muscovites, every victory is vital for Pablo Laso’s team. And they have history strongly in their favour against the Lithuanian champions. In the previous fifteen meetings, Madrid have won fourteen of them.
‘The game in Madrid was already hard for us,” said Laso.
“Zalgiris is being competitive in this EuroLeague and when in Kaunas, you have to pay attention and put the effort and the intensity because they are comfortable with their fans. We know that this game is both important and difficult.”