Partizan Belgrade is in dire need of a win against ALBA Berlin. A key player for the Serbian club is Kevin Punter, who has averaged 16.2 points against ALBA in the last five games. Source: Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images 
Partizan Belgrade is in dire need of a win against ALBA Berlin. A key player for the Serbian club is Kevin Punter, who has averaged 16.2 points against ALBA in the last five games. Source: Srdjan Stevanovic/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images 

EuroLeague Round 33: What to expect and who to watch?

Basketball OlyBet 02.04.2024

Round 33 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 dive into our preview of the round!

Crvena Zvezda Belgrade vs Olympiacos (4 April, 20:00 EET)

After their dreams of making it to the post-season were shattered, Zvezda has been struggling. They have only managed one win in their last five games, while Olympiacos has solidified their position as one of the top teams in the EuroLeague and is aiming for home-court advantage in the quarterfinals.

Olympiacos’ away form deserves praise, as they have won four out of their last five games played on opponents’ courts. The only loss came against Anadolu Efes in Istanbul, who have been in excellent form, so losing to them wasn’t a disgrace.

Zvezda has been dealing with injury problems in the last couple of weeks, but two crucial guards returned in Monday’s Adriatic League game: the team’s offensive orchestrator Miloš Teodosić and Yago dos Santos.

It remains to be seen how the return of the Serbian and Brazilian will affect Nemanja Nedović. In the last three games, he has been in excellent form, averaging 24.7 points and 6.3 assists per game. Nedović has been shooting an impressive 65% from the field and 56% from beyond the arc during this stretch.

The foundation of Olympiacos’ success lies in their defense. In the last three games, opponents have only scored an average of 72.7 points per game against them. If the Greek giants can maintain their level of defense, Zvezda doesn’t stand much of a chance against them.

Monaco vs Zalgiris Kaunas (4 April, 20:00 EET)

In this matchup, both teams have something at stake. Monaco’s goal is to secure home-court advantage for the quarterfinals, while Zalgiris aims to reach the play-in, which they are currently just one win away from.

While Monaco has won seven out of their last eight games at home, Zalgiris has lost seven out of their last nine away games. However, they are currently on a three-game winning streak in the EuroLeague, although all of these games were played in Kaunas.

Monaco won the first meeting of the season 83-79, but in the EuroLeague, there hasn’t been a season where either team won both of their head-to-head games. Interestingly, Zalgiris has been a particularly suitable opponent for Monaco’s guard Élie Okobo, who has averaged 17.6 points per game against the Lithuanian club, second only to Panathinaikos (18.8).

It would be easy to say that the key aspect in beating Zalgiris lies in containing Keenan Evans. The American has averaged 18 points and 4.3 assists in the last three games with good shooting percentages, but he’s such a quality player that he essentially gets his job done against any opponent.

Therefore it’s crucial to limit Evans’ teammates. In recent rounds, Kevarrius Hayes, Edmond Sumner, and Arnas Butkevičius have all had strong performances.

Source: Eitvydas Kinaitis/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Barcelona vs Maccabi Tel Aviv (4 April, 21:30 EET)

In this matchup, both teams have a lot at stake. Barcelona’s game hasn’t been particularly strong in recent weeks, so they’ll need to put in a lot of effort to secure home-court advantage for the quarterfinals. Maccabi is currently in seventh place, but they trail the fifth and sixth-placed teams by just one win, and moving up at least one spot would guarantee them direct entry into the playoffs.

Barcelona’s advantage lies in their home record. They have been very strong at home, winning 14 out of 16 games, with only Fenerbahçe Istanbul having a better record (15-1). Of course, Maccabi cannot be underestimated, as they currently hold the longest winning streak in the EuroLeague, having defeated six opponents in a row.

While before the season it might have been thought that Maccabi’s fortunes rested on guards Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown, in reality, the driving forces have been Baldwin, forward Bonzie Colson, and center Josh Nebo. The trio has been in good form in recent weeks, especially Baldwin and Nebo, with the latter facing off against one of the EuroLeague’s top centers, Jan Vesely.

In theory, Barcelona could be a suitable opponent for Maccabi, as the Spanish club’s defense has been poor in the last three rounds. Maccabi’s strength lies in their offense, although during their winning streak, they have also significantly improved their defensive performance.

ALBA Berlin vs Partizan Belgrade (4 April, 21:30 EET)

To be honest, in this matchup, it’s very difficult to see anything other than a victory for Partizan. ALBA is currently on a nine-game losing streak, and in their last nine home games, opponents have been allowed to score at least 80 points.

This is music to Partizan’s ears, as Željko Obradović’s team has been strong offensively this season. Moreover, one of their leaders, power forward Zach LeDay, who missed three games due to his father’s death, is back with the team.

It’s also important to note that while ALBA essentially has nothing to play for, for Partizan, this game is crucial as they are chasing a spot in the play-in. They are currently just one win away from the tenth spot in the fiercely competitive standings, so defeating ALBA is a must!

However, it’s clear that ALBA will put up a fight. Although they have only five wins in the EuroLeague, four of them have come at home. In their last two games against Monaco and Real Madrid, they gave tough battles to the top teams, losing by eight and seven points, respectively.

Additionally, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Partizan has been terrible on the road. Their last away win was back on December 19th last year against Valencia. However, it seems most likely that while Partizan won’t dominate ALBA, they will leave Berlin with a much-needed victory.

Source: Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Valencia vs ASVEL Villeurbanne (4 April, 21:45 EET)

Valencia has been struck by the syndrome of the previous season: they fought for the playoffs, but faltered towards the end. Out of their last seven games this season, Valencia has only won one, but due to the incredibly tight competition, the possibility of making the play-in hasn’t slipped away yet, as the tenth position is just one win away.

In the weekend’s Spanish league game, Valencia received good news when their starting center Brandon Davies, who had missed the last three games due to a calf problem, returned to the court. And not just returned – the American scored a whopping 24 points in just 17 minutes, grabbed four rebounds, made two steals, and blocked two shots.

While Davies is back, one of the key players in the backcourt, Chris Jones, did not play on Sunday due to an ankle injury. However, it seems likely that the American was kept out of the game as a precautionary measure, and he is expected to be back against ASVEL.

Although the French club is currently second to last in the standings, they are certainly not a weak team. In the last three games, the performances of forward Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot have been particularly impressive. The Frenchman has averaged 15 points and shot an impressive 55% from beyond the arc.

Nevertheless, Valencia is the favourite. They are an above-average defensive team, whereas ASVEL has struggled in that aspect. For example, in the last three games, they have allowed an average of 88.3 points per game and have been dominated on the boards.

Fenerbahçe Istanbul vs Anadolu Efes Istanbul (5 April, 20:45 EET)

Under head coach Šarunas Jasikevičius, Fenerbahçe has been on a fantastic streak. They have been particularly dominant at home, winning a remarkable 15 out of 16 games. Although Efes has only secured three wins on the road this season, they are currently playing well and confidently, rising to tenth place in the standings and holding a spot in the play-in.

The Turkish powerhouses are meeting for the fourth time this season. Efes won the first encounter in the local championship, but since then, Fenerbahçe has prevailed in the EuroLeague and the Turkish Cup.

It’s certainly intriguing to see how Nigel Hayes-Davis performs. The American set a new league record by scoring 50 points in the previous round. Shane Larkin and Will Clyburn have been in good form for Efes in recent weeks, with the latter likely tasked with covering Hayes-Davis, and vice versa.

Looking at the past three rounds, both Efes and Fenerbahçe have been among the best defensive teams in the EuroLeague. However, Efes has a significant drawback: defensive rebounding. They have allowed an average of 12.7 offensive rebounds per game, which is the worst in the league. Fenerbahçe boasts players like Johnathan Motley and Hayes-Davis, who are very dangerous on the offensive glass.

Source: Tolga Adanali/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Real Madrid vs Baskonia (5 April, 21:30 EET)

The Spanish clubs are meeting for the third time this season. While Baskonia lost to the reigning champions by just two points in the opening round of the EuroLeague, Real beat them in the Spanish league by 14 points on January 7th.

As Real has secured the top spot in the regular season, they may afford some key players rest against Baskonia. For instance, Facundo Campazzo, Gabriel Deck, and Vincent Poirier were absent from the previous round against Zvezda, but thanks to their deep roster, Real remains dangerous regardless. Although the Serbian club led by 16 points in the third quarter, Real still won the game.

While Real is on a four-game winning streak, Baskonia has lost three consecutive matches, putting their play-in spot at risk. One win from their last two games would provide assurance.

Baskonia’s poor form on the court has been more significant than the losses themselves. Although Codi Miller-McIntyre is an excellent point guard, if opponents manage to shut down his teammates, he lacks options to orchestrate, leading to a highly individualistic Baskonia offense. While sporadically successful, this approach isn’t a sustainable strategy in the long run.

Defense is also a concern for Baskonia. They still face many communication issues, resulting in silly mistakes that grant opponents open looks and nearly guaranteed points. While defeating Real is Baskonia’s goal, it’s equally important to get their own game back on track. In theory, it’s simple, but in practice, it’s quite challenging.

Bayern Munich vs Panathinaikos Athens (5 April, 21:30 EET)

Bayern is one of those clubs vying for a spot in the play-in, currently just one win away from Efes, who are in tenth place in the standings. Panathinaikos’ aim is to secure home-court advantage for the quarterfinals, and one win from their last two games should be enough for that.

Under the guidance of head coach Pablo Laso, Bayern has lost two consecutive home games in the EuroLeague, but they haven’t had a worse streak this season. Panathinaikos, on the other hand, is one of the league’s best away teams, having won three out of their last four games on the road.

Bayern might have a very important absence if starting power forward Devin Booker is still sidelined due to injury. In his potential absence, the significance of center Serge Ibaka will rise even further. The NBA champion has averaged 11.7 points and eight rebounds in the last three rounds, and he is indispensable for Bayern both offensively and defensively.

For Panathinaikos, Kostas Sloukas has found his rhythm towards the end of the regular season. The point guard is in excellent form, averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists per game in the last three matches. The Greek player has a shooting percentage of 66% from the field and has made exactly half of his three-point attempts.

Source: Christina Pahnke/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

Milan vs Virtus Bologna (5 April, 21:30 EET)

We will witness the Italian derby for the fourth time this season. In the previous three games, the biggest difference has been only nine points, with Virtus winning two and Milano one match.
Milano is also chasing the tenth spot in the table and is just one win away from it. Virtus, which spent the first half of the season in the top three, has secured its place in the play-in, but they have lost five consecutive games in the EuroLeague.

However, last week’s loss to Panathinaikos surely boosted their confidence. After trailing by 12 points at halftime, Virtus managed to come back into the game and even led in the final minute, but Marius Grigonis and Kendrick Nunn’s baskets tilted the game in favor of the Greek club. Nevertheless, Virtus showed a very strong performance in the second half, both defensively and offensively.

Milano’s form has been fluctuating this season, but they have been strong at home. They have won seven out of their last eight EuroLeague battles there. However, since Virtus’s return to the Euroleague in 2022, they haven’t tasted defeat against Milano in their previous three encounters.

Friday night could end up as a showdown between two star power forwards. Milano’s Nikola Mirotić and the visitors’ Tornike Shengelia are among the top players in this position in the EuroLeague, and they are in good form. For instance, Mirotić has averaged 17.7 points and 6.3 rebounds with excellent shooting percentages in the last three rounds, while Shengelia’s stats include 21 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.7 rebounds.


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