by Nick Gibson / @euro_adventures
This week finds the Euroleague in critical condition after suffering a litany of injuries. Ioannis Bourousis and Victor Claver are the latest stars to drape their broken bones in plaster while several others are questionable, their teams’ playoff hopes resting on various twisted ankles and torn ligaments. But the most disheartening news comes from Barcelona, where Pete Mickeal—he who tamed Kobe’s preseason Lakers with a near triple double—will miss the rest of the season with a lung condition known as pulmonary embolism. It’s a very unfortunate setback for a 33-year-old who was leading the EL champs in both rebounding and scoring before knee surgery sidelined him in the regular season. ELA hopes to see him back triple doubling in no time.
I can’t afford another 5-3 week if I want to improve the 73-38 clip. Let’s do better, shall we?
Panathinaikos (3-1) vs. Lietuvos Rytas (2-2)
As if forged by Robin Williams himself, Khalid El-Amin’s pudge n’ quicks combo turns Flubber greener with envy; although this week the former UConner will try and take down the Greens in their own backyard. Dimitris Diamantidis might scoop up this year’s MVP, but even this defensive mastermind will have fits trying to stick with the former Husky for 35 minutes of high ball screens set by an endless supply of large bodies from the lithe, wiry Jonas Valanciunas, to the balding bowling ball that is Kenan Bajramovic. Aleksander Trifunovic has unlocked the secrets to his personnel’s potential and now finds himself a win away from the playoffs, even if it’s not this week. It’s a hell of a spot for a guy who started the season 0-4. It won’t happen in OAKA, however, where the crowd trades raucous, unrestrained fanaticism for one of the world’s scariest homecourt advantages. Panathinaikos.
Caja Laboral (2-2) vs. Unicaja (1-3)
Gerald Fitch was a dud last week. Terrell McIntyre not much different. Of course, Joel Freeland balled: 19 and 8. That’s to be expected. What’s not to be expected is Unicaja’ success without reliable performances from the periphery. And let the record show I’m choosing to forget Berni Rodriguez’s 12 points on account of his missed fastbreak lay-up in crunch time. Sorry, Berni. Caja Laboral.
Union Olimpija (1-3) vs. Lottomatica Roma (0-4)
Dusan Ivkovic has wrung the world dry of coaching achievements. Ettore Messina and Zeljko Obradovic are a cut above, yet still very much in their primes. But give me an empty roster and the keys to a franchise and I’d put Union Olimpija’s Jure Zdovc in the driver’s seat. The loyalty he’s shown his players and the way he’s led them through a season of tumult and speculative whispers is a feat deserving of… Continue Reading