FC Barcelona’s point guard Nicolas Laprovittola is on a roll. Will it continue against Virtus Bologna? Photo by Rodolfo Molina/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
FC Barcelona’s point guard Nicolas Laprovittola is on a roll. Will it continue against Virtus Bologna? Photo by Rodolfo Molina/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

EuroLeague preview: what to expect and who to watch?

Basketball OlyBet 04.12.2023

The 12th round of the EuroLeague brings us nine thrilling matchups. To gain a better understanding of what to expect from these games and who to watch, sit back, relax, and delve into our statistical-based preview of the round!

Anadolu Efes Istanbul vs Panathinaikos Athens

December 5th, 18:30 CET

The last time Efes lost to Panathinaikos at home was back in November 2017. Since then, the clubs have faced each other four times in Turkey. However, it’s important to note that while Efes used to be a dominant force in Europe, this is the second consecutive season where they have fallen to the level of a play-off contender. On the other hand, Panathinaikos, once a dominant force in the EuroLeague , experienced a rough patch in past seasons but has now returned to contention for the title.

Although Efes’ season has been inconsistent, they have been quite strong at home in the EuroLeague, winning four out of five games. Ergin Ataman’s team from Athens has only won one out of four away games. Out of their last 20 EuroLeague away games, Panathinaikos has lost a staggering 17, but context matters as they belonged to the weaker teams for a long time.

Efes is one of the weakest defensive teams in the EuroLeague, especially struggling to secure the paint. Considering that Panathinaikos has a dominant center in Mathias Lessort and a productive power forward in Konstantinos Mitoglu, it’s highly likely that the Greek powerhouse will direct their offense towards the paint. Efes’ situation is further complicated as center Ante Žižić and power forward Derek Willis are sidelined due to injury.

Panathinaikos has averaged 82.9 points per game this season, but against Efes, there’s reason to hope for more, as Efes has allowed 87.8 points per game – the third-highest in the league in terms of poor defense.

Former NBA player Kendrick Nunn displayed his best EuroLeague performance in the 11th round against Partizan Belgrade, scoring 19 points in 26 minutes. Nunn is very likely to thrive against Efes’ weak defense.

ALBA Berlin vs Zalgiris Kaunas

December 5th, 20:00 CET

ALBA has lost six consecutive home games in the EuroLeague with an average margin of 14.5 points. Zalgiris defeated Olimpia Milano 83-70 in the last round but hasn’t managed two consecutive away wins this season.

Key players like Sterling Brown, Louis Olinde, and Matt Thomas have been absent from ALBA’s recent games due to injuries. If they remain sidelined against Zalgiris, Gabriele Procida’s good form might continue. The Italian scored 14 and 22 points in the last two games respectively.

Defensively, Zalgiris needs to focus on Johannes Thiemann, who is having a career-best season in the EuroLeague, averaging 13.7 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. Thiemann’s consistency stands out, having only had two modest performances in 11 rounds, scoring seven points against Monaco and eight against Valencia.

Zalgiris is the best three-point shooting team in the EuroLeague, having made 43.3% from beyond the three-point line.

Although Zalgiris has averaged slightly over 80 points per game this season, they will certainly aim for more against ALBA, given that the German team allows an average of 87.9 points per game, which ranks as the second-highest in the league in terms of poor defense.

Olympiacos Piraeus vs Real Madrid

December 5th, 20:15 CET

Before the 11th round, Real hadn’t suffered a loss in the EuroLeague. However, Fenerbahçe Istanbul managed to defeat them 100-99 at home. Real faces another tough challenge as Olympiacos has won 15 out of their last 18 home games in the EuroLeague.

Isaiah Canaan is one of the hottest shooters in the EuroLeague. In the last eight games, the Olympiacos guard has scored at least ten points and has hit at least four three-pointers in the last three games.

Olympiacos’ Thomas Walkup is regarded as the best perimeter defender in the league and needs to be in top form against Real, especially as he will likely have to handle Facundo Campazzo, the legendary playmaker who scored a EuroLeaguecareer-high of 33 points against Fenerbahçe.

When these two teams meet in Greece, they bring a love for sharing the ball and playing as a team: Real averages 22.8 (1st in the EuroLeague) and Olympiacos 19.7 (4th) assists per game.

Real is the best offensive team in the EuroLeague, scoring 122 points per 100 possessions, while defensively Olympiacos falls among the average.

Partizan Belgrade vs AS Monaco

December 5th, 20:30 CET

Partizan won both encounters against Monaco last season. In the previous round, Partizan defeated Panathinaikos 92-87 at home, but they haven’t managed to win two consecutive home games this season.

Monaco is undoubtedly part of the EuroLeague elite but seems to perform better in the second half of games. Four out of their seven wins this season have come after initially trailing after the first 20 minutes.

Former NBA player P. J. Dozier’s start to the season hasn’t been extraordinary, but he has significantly raised his game in the last two rounds, scoring 21 and 16 points respectively.

Bruno Caboclo, who joined Partizan in November, has been exactly what the team needed inside the paint. The Brazilian has been solid defensively and offensively, averaging 11.8 points with an impressive shooting accuracy of 80% in both two- and three-point attempts.

After a slight dip in performance over three previous rounds, Monaco’s leader Mike James is again shining bright like a diamond. He has scored at least 24 points in the last two games. If he scores at least 23 against Partizan, he will reach a total of 4153 points in his EuroLeague career, securing the third spot in the all-time table, surpassing Juan Carlos Navarro’s haul of 4152.

Bayern Munich vs Olimpia Milano

December 5th, 20:30 CET

Bayern has won only three out of the last 12 EuroLeague games against Milan, but all three victories happened in Munich. Recent form heavily favors Bayern in this matchup, as while Milan lost to Zalgiris in the 11th round and suffered another defeat in the Italian league over the weekend, Bayern defeated Virtus Bologna last week.

It seems that the team guided by the legendary Pablo Laso at Bayern has found their offensive rhythm, scoring at least 90 points in the last two games. One of those matches was a thrilling contest against ASVEL Villeurbanne that went into double overtime.

Milan will have to play without their injured superstar Nikola Mirotić, who has an Achilles tendon issue.

Mirotić’s absence will raise the usage rate of Shavon Shields. Born in the USA but representing Denmark internationally, the forward has scored an average of 18 points in the last 12 EuroLeague games where he has played at least 30 minutes.

Similar to former NBA players Nunn and Dozier, Bayern’s Serge Ibaka is gaining momentum. Against Virtus, he contributed an impressive 24 points and 13 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass. Ibaka became the first player in Bayern’s history to accumulate at least 20 points and ten rebounds in an EuroLeague game.

ASVEL Villeurbanne vs Maccabi Tel Aviv

December 6th, 20:15 CET

Maccabi has won seven out of the last nine encounters against ASVEL, with the most recent four victories being consecutive.

ASVEL has won only four out of 29 EuroLeague games in 2023. However, under head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco, the French club’s performance has notably improved, and their last three home games ended with an average margin of 3.7 points per game.

ASVEL’s point guard Paris Lee is on a hot streak, having made all 22 free throws this season.

ASVEL allows an average of 89.5 points per game, the worst defensive record in the EuroLeague. Maccabi’s offensive juggernauts Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown will look to exploit this matchup.

One of Maccabi’s biggest strengths is their offensive rebounding, averaging 13.9 offensive boards per game, the best in the EuroLeague.

Virtus Bologna vs FC Barcelona

December 6th, 20:30 CET

Virtus has won five out of six home games in the EuroLeague. Their only loss came in the first round against Zalgiris, where the Italian club led twice by 15 points allowed the Lithuanian side to come back and eventually turn the tide.

Barcelona has won nine out of eleven games, but both losses occurred away from home: first by one point against Real and then by 23 points against Baskonia.

After returning from a short injury break, Barcelona’s point guard Nicolas Laprovittola took some time to get back to his best. After scoring 23 and 28 points in the last two rounds, it’s safe to say Laprovittola is back in full swing.

Virtus’ leader Tornike Shengelia has averaged 16.6 points per game in the last 12 games. In the last eight rounds he has secured at least five rebounds per game.

This season, Virtus has primarily excelled in offense. However, Barcelona boasts one of the league’s best defenses, allowing an average of 77.1 points per game.

Valencia vs Crvena Zvezda Belgrade

December 6th, 20:30 CET

Valencia has faced Zvezda nine times in the EuroLeague, securing only one victory: a 91-71 win at home in January 2021.

Only two teams in the EuroLeague have lost five or more consecutive games: ALBA and Valencia.

Similarly, only two teams haven’t secured an away victory all season: ALBA and Zvezda. However, Zvezda’s biggest defeat has been by six points only, indicating they have been competitive in each game.

December seems to bring out the best in Zvezda’s guard Nemanja Nedović, as it has been his most prolific scoring month in his EuroLeague career, averaging 14.4 points.

Valencia has scored only 73.9 points per game this season, the lowest in the EuroLeague. While they might not excel in offense, they are one of the best defensive teams in the league.

Baskonia vs Fenerbahçe Istanbul

December 6th, 20:30 CET

Fenerbahçe seems to be a suitable opponent for Baskonia, as the Spanish club has won their last three encounters.

Since head coach Duško Ivanović’s return to Baskonia, the team has won five out of six EuroLeague games. Their only defeat came against Monaco, where Jaron Blossomgame’s dunk from an offensive rebound secured Monaco a 77-75 victory.

Fenerbahçe has lost four consecutive away games, with only two wins in their last 14 games played outside of Turkey. Furthermore, in Spain, Fenerbahçe has lost 12 consecutive games.

Ivanović’s arrival has revitalized Baskonia’s guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. In the last round against Valencia, he scored 11 points and delivered ten assists.

Fenerbahçe struggles with rebounding, allowing an average of 36.7 opponents rebounds per game, the worst in the EuroLeague. Considering that Baskonia is the second-best team in rebounding, Fenerbahçe’s players need to be particularly attentive.


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