By: Sam Meyerkopf & Nick Gibson
After 13 spotless weeks, will a Viktor Khryapa-less Moscow finally go down in Turkey? One of us thinks so.
Zalgiris Kaunas (0-3) vs. Barcelona Regal (3-0)
Sam: The game is in Lithuania, so it might end up being just as close as last week’s match, but don’t expect Barcelona to look so flat two weeks in a row though. Barcelona Regal.
Nick: Sonny Weems definitely cannot do it alone. Someone should remind him of that whenever things start to slip. And slip, they will. Barcelona Regal.
Galatasaray (1-2) vs. CSKA Moscow (3-0)
Sam: Shhhhhh, quiet down, they might hear us, they might not be caught off guard. But if you can, then listen close because this week is the week. CSKA Moscow has been untouched so far, rolling through their opponents in the Top 16. Tonight, in Istanbul, that’s all about to change. Jaka Lakovic gives us another one of his classic gunner performances, CSKA can’t hit from deep, and the current championship favorite leaves Turkey wounded and with a loss. Galatasaray.
Nick: Khryapa being out with a dislocated finger changes nothing. Well, it changes something. But not enough things. Galatasaray will play hard, harder even than Moscow, but even a greater than the sum of their parts performance by the Turkish side won’t be enough to overcome Moscow’s sheer superiority at every position on the floor. CSKA Moscow.
Maccabi Electra (1-2) vs. Bennet Cantu (2-1)
Sam: Hands down the game of the day. Last week this turned into all out warfare and I don’t expect it to be any different in Tel Aviv this time around. Big Sofo couldn’t handle Cantu’s in your face defense and Maccabi couldn’t find anyone to lean on to iniate the offense. Cantu doesn’t play with quite the same attitude on the road as they do at home, but this is for a chance to possibly clinch a Playoff berth. There will be madness going on in Israel, but Maccabi has too many strong offensive pieces to have another lackluster performance. Maccabi Electra.
Nick: Doron Perkins has a chance to deliver an emotionally conflicted stunner this week in his old Nokia stompin’ grounds. If his knee were in the same shape it was before March 29 of last season then it’d certainly a possibility. So is Perkins healthy? We don’t know that for sure. We do know that the Euroleague runners-up are in a tight spot, and Sofo’s claustrophobic. Maccabi Electra.
Panathinaikos (2-1) vs. Fenerbahce Ulker (1-2)
Sam: I’ve been waiting all year for that giant offensive explosion game from Fenerbahce, and it seems that they’ve stood me up again and again. For all his tools and flexibility, Emir Preldzic still has not found a way to consistently help this offense score. If Fenerbahce can get out and run a little bit, actually dictate the pace versus Panathinaikos, and not roll over in the second half, they could win this game. Rarely this season has everything clicked for them though, and they lost by 21 last week at home to this very same Panathinaikos team. Panathinaikos.
Nick: Mike Batiste has switched into Ogre Mode, Dimitris Diamantidis is motivated and the ancillary pieces have dutifully shifted into their proper places. This team has set sail for yet another Euroleague Final Four. Sorry, everyone else. Panathinaikos.