Round 10 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague not only serves up several clashes between direct rivals in the race for the playoffs, but also the unveiling of a new arena. Here's your guide to all the action.
Tie-breaking showdowns dot the Round 10 landscape
Thursday, November 23
Two teams aiming to start moving up the standings meet as ASVEL (2-7) welcomes Bayern (3-6) in the first EuroLeague game at the brand new LDLC Arena.
ASVEL has not won at home all season, while Bayern has lost four straight on the road. Nando De Colo is just 2 assists short of reaching 1,000 for his EuroLeague career, and the ASVEL veteran will look to control his backcourt battle with the dynamic Leandro Bolmaro, who has posted double digits in scoring in three of the last four games. Led by Serge Ibaka (6.1 rpg.), Bayern is the top rebounding team in the competition with 38.8 per game, but that will be threatened by ASVEL giant Youssoupha Fall, who has claimed at least 2 offensive rebounds in each of the last five games.
Second-place Barcelona (7-2) faces a major test with a trip to Belgrade following consecutive road losses to face a Maccabi (5-3) team that has won three of its last four games.
Maccabi is coming off a morale-boosting home win over Fenerbahce powered by a huge double-double from Bonzie Colson (13 points, 14 rebounds). Maccabi grabbed a league-season-high 22 offensive rebounds in that game, so Barca will need its big men Jan Vesely and Willy Hernangomez to protect the defensive glass. The Spanish team will also hope that Nicolas Laprovittola – going up against Maccabi leader Lorenzo Brown – can regain his usual scoring stroke after converting just 2 of his 10 field goal attempts in last week's narrow victory over Valencia.
After earning his 200th victory in the competition by downing Virtus on Friday, Ergin Ataman will look to guide Panathinaikos (5-4) to a third straight win by overcoming a Valencia (5-4) which has slipped down the standings after losing three in a row.
The key figure behind the Greens' success in the double round week was Dinos Mitoglou (17.8 ppg., 6.7 rpg.), whose duel with Valencia forward Semi Ojeleye could prove crucial. The battle in the paint will feature a showdown between two players who know each other very well: Panathinaikos big man Aleksander Balcerowski and visiting center Damien Inglis were teammates last season at Gran Canaria, where they became EuroCup champions together.
Third-place Virtus (6-3) will look to strengthen its position in the playoffs places with a visit from struggling Fenerbahce (5-4), which has dropped its last three decisions while battling a spate of injuries.
Virtus has lost two of its last three games, scoring just 74 and 76 points in those defeats. Fenerbahce hit an offensive slump in its three straight losses, scoring an average of just 71 points in those. Virtus is the third-best three-point shooting team in the league (38.2%), but star man Toko Shengelia has lost his radar from deep, making just 1 of his last 12 attempts. The Turkish team will always pose a long-range threat from Scottie Wilbekin, who hit 5 triples in last week's tough loss at Maccabi and leads the team with an average of 12.8 points per game.
It's first versus last as unstoppable league leader Real Madrid (8-0) hosts rock-bottom ALBA (1-7), which has not beaten the defending champs this century in almost 15 years' worth of trying.
ALBA will look to compete through the shooting ability of Louis Olinde (9.9 ppg.), who has made 69% of his two-point attempts so far this season. Super-deep Real can call upon the always-reliable Dzanan Musa, who led the way past Monaco in Round 8 with 21 points and has now reached double-digit scoring in the last three games. Real, which will have to cope without the services of injured forward Guerschon Yabusele, has won all 14 EuroLeague meetings between the teams and anything other than prolonging that sequence would be the shock of the season.
Friday, November 24
Two teams with aspirations much higher than their current standing will wrestle over a valuable victory when Efes (4-5) receives a visit from Partizan (3-5), which has lost three in a row on the road.
Legendary Partizan play caller Zeljko Obradovic faces a challenge from a man who knows him better than most: Efes boss Erdem Can served as his assistant at Fenerbahce seven years. On the court, a key duel will take place between EuroLeague rookie Derek Willis of Efes and Partizan's Zach LeDay. Willis has averaged 7.0 rebounds and a PIR of 15.7 in his last three games. LeDay has scored in double digits in seven of his last eight games.
Olympiacos (5-4) will look to make it three wins in a row as it welcomes a Zalgiris (4-5) team battling to get back into the playoffs zone.
Olympiacos grabbed a vital victory over Zvezda last time out behind 28 points from Alec Peters, while the Lithuanian team also comes with confidence renewed after narrowly overcoming Bayern to end a four-game losing slide. Olympiacos is one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowing just 75.8 points per game, and will hope Moustapha Fall continues to dominate the boards after he grabbed 14 rebounds last week. Zalgiris will counter him with in-form Laurynas Birutis, who had 10 points and 9 rebounds in the win against Bayern.
In another meeting between two of the six teams currently tied with 5-4 records, red-hot Baskonia will look to extend its four-game winning streak against a Monaco team that lost twice in the double-round week.
Former Monaco forward Chima Moneke is aiming to continue his spectacular form after scoring at least 16 points in each of the last five games, but the visiting team has a strong interior defense, allowing opponents to convert just 51.7% of their two-point shots, the third-best record in the league. Monaco will hope to give another dimension to its offense by seeing big-name summer signing Kemba Walker find his form after totaling just 4 points in the last three games.
Two more direct rivals intent upon climbing up the standings go head to head as Zvezda (3-6) hosts Milan (3-6).
Milan has won the last five meetings between the teams and will look to maintain that streak with confidence renewed after a good win over Efes last time out. Zvezda suffered a close defeat to Olympiacos in Round 8 despite sinking 15 three-pointers, including 5 from Nemanja Nedovic. This game could be a shootout, as Milan is the second-most accurate three-point shooting team in the league (39.3%), led by Nicolo Melli, who is converting 50.0% of his long-range shots, including 3 of 4 in the win over Efes.