If CSKA has lost yesterday in Vitoria-Gasteiz with 70-80 against “this” Baskonia (who was demolished by Maccabi) it is a sign they won’t have the power to resist Real Madrid. The Russians are coming after one of the longest journeys and they were already very tired against Baskonia. CSKA’s game had many minutes of mediocrity, of lack of inspiration when everything went bad, excepting the 3 points percentage (40%). But inside the arc, the Red Army was a disaster, making only 13 from 39 shots attempted.
On the other side, we have a Real Madrid that played a comfortable game at home, smashing Khimki by almost 30 points and I think they will be fresher than CSKA at the encounter time. Even more, last game we saw Kostas Koufos and Ron Baker, the 2 ex-NBA summer acquisitions of CSKA playing only a couple of minutes, almost without being noticed on the court. To beat Real Madrid at their home-court you need more than that.
The absence of Will Clyburn will be another factor that will tilt the balance in favor of the host team. He was a true offensive weapon which cannot be easily replaced. We saw this already in the game lost by CSKA in Lyon. The truth that not many people are seeing is CSKA had almost only easy opponents in the opening games of the season (Valencia, Bayern, Alba Berlin, Zenit, Asvel and the out of shape Fenerbahce). The reigning champions didn’t meet any real title contenders yet to prove their expected level. Now they will start to face strong teams and there won’t be so easy.
With Trey Thompinks back on the roster, the Merengues have now the team almost complete and their quality rotation is superior to CSKA’s one. The missings of the injured Felipe Reyes and Jeffrey Taylor won’t be a big problem for Real. Only a miracle can help the Russians to steal the victory in Madrid tomorrow.