Despite being one win away from a last-eight spot in the Euroleague, Andrei Kirilenko is still aware of the challenges that lie ahead, especially tomorrow night’s game with Olympiacos.
After 13 straight victories, CSKA lost their first game two weeks away ago at Galatasaray, but the last time they played Olympiacos, they recorded a 86-78 win. Form is also on the Russian team’s side as they have won five of the last six against their Greek opponents.
Kirilenko though knows that the Greek team have changed since their last encounter in mid-January.
“We played a very difficult game in Piraeus, and Olympiacos has become even stronger since,” he said.
“[Acie] Law and [Joey] Dorsey adjusted to the team system; young guys gained tons of confidence under guidance of experienced coach Dusan Ivkovic.”
Kirilenko added: “So we know how dangerous is our opponent and we have to be extremely serious to reach our goal.”
CSKA Moscow have been by far the most impressive team in this season’s Euroleague, and are no doubt favourites for this tie and to reach the Final Four in Istanbul.
Kirilenko currently leads in blocked shots (2.56 bpg) and performance index rating (25.2).
The Russian champions will seal top spot in their group if they win and Anadolu Efes beat Galatasaray. Olympiacos will not qualify with a win, but would improve their chances of a top-two finish if they win in Moscow.
Last chance saloon for Efes.
In the other Group E clash, Anadolu Efes need to beat Galatasaray tomorrow night in a highly anticipated contest in Istanbul otherwise they would be eliminated from this season’s Euroleague.
“We have to play 100 percent well to win,” Efes’ big man Esteban Batista said. “It will be a very tough game. We know that we need to recover our morale.”
Anadolu are currently 1-3 in Group E with Euroleague qualifiers Galatasaray 2-2.