EuroLeague preview: Anadolu Efes hosts injury-hit Fenerbahce

Anadolu Efes can secure a spot in the EuroLeague Playoffs on Thursday if they can beat a depleted Fenerbahce side in the Istanbul derby.

This will be the eighth time that these two sides meet in EuroLeague action, as Efes will look for its first win ever against Fenerbahce. In round eight, Fener won at home 88-80, behind 21 points by the now injured Kostas Sloukas but the fortunes might change as Efes comes into Thursday’s clash having won six of its last seven games, while their opponents have lost two of is last three.

“All the remaining games in the regular season are key games for qualifying to the Playoffs in the EuroLeague,” Anadolu Efes coach Velimir Perasovic highlights.

“We are playing against a big opponent composed of many experienced players who know how to play the big games. And in front of us there is an important job to do. The key of this game is as always defense and rebounding.”

As well as being without Sloukas, Fenerbahce will be sweating on the fitness of Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is a game-time decision. Luigi Datome will miss the remainder of the regular season with a shoulder injury.

∞∞∞ BASKONIA AND PANATHINAIKOS BATTLE FOR POSITION ∞∞∞

After learning that their respective Playoff fates were confirmed on Wednesday, Baskonia’s battle with Panathinaikos in Vitoria is now about final positioning in the top eight.

Both side also come into this game with winning streaks with Baskonia riding a four-game winning streak, while the Greens have won their last two, and it was the latter who won the last encounter in Athens as 23 points from Chris Singleton secured a 69-68 victory.

Baskonia’s Adam Hanga recognises the threat of Mike James but says that Panathinaikos are more of a threat a team ahead of their clash on Thursday.

“Everybody talks about James and Bourousis coming back, but we don’t have to play only against them,’ explains Baskonia’s Adam Hanga.

“Panathinaikos is a lot more, they are a talented team. We must play faster, defend, get those boards and then run if we want to win.”

∞∞∞ TWO GAMES FOR PRIDE ∞∞∞

There will be two more games to start off round 28 on Thursday as four teams look to finish the season strong having been eliminated from Playoff contention.

Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv hosts Zalgiris in Israel with the home side looking to continue their solid record over their Lithuanian counterparts having won 15 of their previous 20 matches.

And two more teams playing for pride sees EA7 Milano face off against Brose Bamberg in the fashion capital.

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