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EuroLeague preview: Galatasaray looks to claim another scalp when they head to Moscow

After taking down EuroLeague leaders Real Madrid last week, Galatasaray travel to the Russian capital on Thursday looking to do more of the same when they face CSKA Moscow in round 25.

With nothing but pride to play for, the Turkish side might have a little momentum as they have nothing to lose, but on the other side, CSKA Moscow are desperate to end this week’s EuroLeague round back on top of the table. But they know the threat that Galatasaray pose.

“It will be another difficult EuroLeague game which is very important for us,” said CSKA guard Nando De Colo.

“We have to continue doing what we did the past couple of weeks: work hard and play the same way, as a team. We have to be fully focused on our tasks, on the basketball we play, to be ready to fight.”

“It’s sure that it will be a tough game,” added Galatasaray veteran Sinan Guler. “They are one of the best teams in the EuroLeague. We have to play consistent basketball to improve our basketball towards the end of the season and that should start from defence.”

∞∞∞ PLENTY AT STAKE IN ISTANBUL ∞∞∞

Fenerbahce hosts Baskonia on Thursday with win leaving the Turkish side on the brink of clinching a playoff berth, while the visitors are teetering on the edge of the playoff zone, so they need to keep adding wins if they do not want to fall from the ranks of the top eight.

Baskonia, who are currently on a torrid run of three losses in the last four beat Fenerbahce back in round six 86-52 at home with three players scoring 13 points between them. While the hosts hope to keep their good form that has seen six wins in the last seven games.

Zeljko Obradovic has seen his Fenerbahce side win six of their last seven games in the EuroLeague.

“Everybody must have in mind what happened in the game in Vitoria,” Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic said. “It was our worst game because of how they played and how we played. We must have this in mind and be ready to play a really good game on our court.”

∞∞∞ BARCELONA RUNNING OUT OF TIME ∞∞∞

In regards to Playoff qualification, Barcelona is running out of time as the season enters the home stretch. The Catalan side host Unics Kazan, who will be seeing out the season having been officially eliminated from contention last week.

History is firmly on Barca’s side, which is seen as encouraging having won all the previous six encounters, including a  69-63 win on the EuroLeague’s opening week. But with nothing but pride to play for, Unics, with the competition’s leading talisman, Keith Langford could prove a handful.

“Barcelona is a strong team, but they have suffered so much at this season and had too many injuries like us,” said Quino Colom. “So for us it is going to be good opportunity to win, but it is going to be a difficult game.”

∞∞∞ TWO MORE ENCOUNTERS ON FIVE-GAME THURSDAY ∞∞∞

Two teams that will be playing to stay alive in the competition meet on Thursday in Israel as Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv welcomes EA7 Milano.

A loss in this game would eliminate the Italian champs from playoff contention, but Milan can also be eliminated if Baskonia and Anadolu Efes each win their respective Round 25 encounters. Maccabi is out if it loses and both Baskonia and Efes win.

In the 2013-14 EuroLeague season, EA7 Milano and Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv were competing for a place in the Final Four. Now, three years later, they’re playing to stay alive in the competition. Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

An electrifying duel will take place in Kaunas as Zalgiris hosts Panathinaikos.

Zalgiris saw a good run snapped by a couple of losses and wants to keep adding wins to make a stronger case for a playoff berth, while Panathinaikos will look to keep fifth place with another win despite falling last week on the road.

 

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