A classical derby of the Euroleague: CSKA – Panathinikos

Another great match will take place today in Turkish Airlines Euroleague when CSKA Moscow will meet Panathinaikos Athens. Both teams have a good roster and high expectations for this season, so this encounter should provide us with an excellent basketball display. Last season Panathinaikos won both games, including a 78-77 win in Russia.

Currently, on a six-wins run, CSKA is prepared for this big game and aim to win this clash. Their offense worked very well lately, so PAO’s must defend very well to get a good result here. In the last VTB League game, they won away at Tsmoki Minsk 94-91, especially thanks to Mike James (21 points and 5 assists), Darrun Hilliard (21 points and 5 rebounds) and Kostas Koufos (18 points and 8 rebounds), who combined scored 60 points. In the last round of Euroleague, they also got a win against Ettore’s Milano, 78-75. That game was very balanced, with many lead changes, but in the end, in the fourth quarter, CSKA completed a 15-2 run that secured the win. Mike James took his revenge over his former team with a nice display, finishing the game with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 11 assists. Daniel Hackett was the main scorer of the game with 28 points (6-9 from distance). Will Clyburn and Mikhail Kulagin are out.

Panathinaikos came in this game after 2 Euroleague defeats and 2 wins in Greek League. In the last game, they smashed Panionios 115-74 in a game without a history. Everything worked perfectly for the Greek powerhouse. Not the same we can say about the game in the last round of Euroleague when they hosted Real Madrid. They made only 9 attempts from 31 from the distance, had only 12 assists and made 13 turnovers, all of that concluded in an 87-75 loss. Nick Calathes was the main performer for the team, despite a poor shooting performance from distance (1-8). He finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Another great contributor was Jimmer Fredette who finished the game with 18 points and 9 rebounds. For this game, Coach Pitino has a full roster at his disposal.

It will be an interesting match tonight in Russia. CSKA must execute in the same way they’ve done in the last game to have a chance to win the battle. But, if Panathinaikos recovers from that poor 3-point shooting they had against Real Madrid, then the match will be heavy for the Red Army.

Photo: Euroleague

Bogdan Vasile Tirc