Olympiacos receiving the Euroleague newcomer Zenit

Olympiacos receiving the Euroleague newcomer Zenit

Today Olympiacos welcomes Zenit St. Petersburg in a duel between a legendary Euroleague team and an absolute newcomer. They never faced each other, so it’s interesting to see if Zenit can manage to play high-level basketball against a new European rival.

For Olympiacos, this Euroleague season is very important because the club is playing now in the second Greek division, with all top players involved only in the Euroleague. After the surprising defeat against ASVEL in the first round, Coach David Blatt resigned which means now Kestutis Kemzura took the over the team and fight to accomplish their objectives. That change was good for them because, in the second round, they won in an impressive way against Valencia 89-63. The game was perfect for them, with very good percentages from the field and also led all in all categories, including assists or rebounds. The main contributors were: Nikola Milutinov (17 points, 14 rebounds), Vassilis Spanoulis (17 points and 6 assists) and Georgios Printezis (13 points and 3 rebounds). Olympiacos have a full roster for this game.

Zenit’s first Euroleague season ever didn’t start too well, losing both games against ALBA Berlin and Barcelona in the last round. In VTB they had two victories after two rounds, but this week they lost at home against Nizhny Novgorod 69-76. They used many players, ten players had over 12 minutes in the game. Despite that, they have poor percentages from the 3-point line, with only 5 shots made out of 19 attempts. The main scorers were Gustavo Ayon (14 points and 5 rebounds), Alex Renfroe (13 points and 5 assists) and Will Thomas (11 points and 7 rebounds). For this game, Gustavo Ayon and Dmitry Khvostov are a game-time decision, while Andrey Zubkov and Anton Pushkov are out.

Olympiacos to win is the main tip for this game. They have more experienced roster, very deep and more time to rest. Zenit needs to fix their problems from the 3-point line because this is their biggest issue in this start of the season. Also, it’s important to see if Ayon gets back in shape for this game, because if he’s not clear to play, the chances for Zenit to get their first-ever win in the competition will totally disappear.

Photo: Euroleague

Bogdan Vasile Tirc