by Nick Gibson
A couple years ago, the NFL implemented flexible television schedules; no longer would we fans have to stand idly by as the Bills and Raiders duke it out for that coveted fourth win in Week 17. The Euroleague has come up with its own way of making the games interesting. Coming into this, the final week of the Top 16, three of eight games meant nothing to the playoff picture: CSKA vs. Zalgiris, Siena vs. Efes, and Prokom vs. Unicaja. One of those games was featured yesterday and as expected, CSKA won 84-71 to hold onto the Group G crown (which they locked up last week). The other seven—including the five that matter—will all be played today as part of the imbalanced schedule, so while this preview technically covers only 87.5 percent of the week’s action, it’s pretty much all you need to care about. Unless you’re a Raiders fan.
Regal Barcelona (4-1) vs. Partizan (3-2) – Partizan has the most to lose and gain this week. A second win over Barcelona and they’ll have the top spot in Group E. A loss and a Panathinaikos win gets them second place, but a loss and a Maroussi win leaves them out of the playoffs. It took home soil, a 15-minute video review, and Jan Vesely playing like Dennis Rodman to pull it off last time. It won’t happen again, but will Partizan get the help they need? Scroll down to find out. Barcelona.
Panathinaikos (1-4) vs. Maroussi (2-3) – Ever since Panathinaikos was prematurely eliminated from the playoffs, they’ve been playing with a big, pissed-off chip on their shoulder. They improved to 18-1 in the Greek League with wins over Olympiacos and PAOK and handed Partizan their biggest home loss of the season with a 66-82 thrashing without Nikola Pekovic. But then there’s the injury report: Vassilis Spanoulis (tendonitis), Dimitris Diamantidis (groin), Pekovic (leg), and Kostas Tsartsaris is still out with a broken hand. Could these guys go if a playoff spot were on the line? With the exception of Tsartsaris, probably so. Maybe I just don’t get it, but I can’t see Maroussi, a team that has failed to score 60 in two of their last three EL games, beating the Greens twice on the same court in one season. I expect a monster effort from Mike Batiste and a refreshingly solid output from Nick Calathes who’s in line for some big minutes. Maybe Milenko Tepic Continue Reading…