With only four undefeated teams left in the 2015-16 Turkish Airlines Euroleague and four others looking for their first wins, Regular Season Round 3 promises to bring a lot of excitement and action. From traditional battles between Euroleague powerhouses to showdowns being seen for the first time in continental basketball, Euroleague fans can expect a little bit of everything this week. Six games will be played on Thursday, followed by six more on Friday
Khimki Moscow Region (1-1) takes on Crvena Zvezda Telekom Belgrade (1-1) for the first time since they met in the 2006-07 Eurocup eighthfinals. Zvezda has only won one of its last eight games on Russian soil. Khimki is 5-1 at home against Serbian teams and hosts a team from that country for the first time since 2010. Fenerbahce Istanbul (1-1) faces Real Madrid (1-1) in a rematch of last season’s Euroleague semifinal. Pablo Laso was Zeljko Obradovic’s point guard back in the mid-1990s, and you can expect a great tactical battle between two Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year trophy winners. Madrid has a 5-2 road record against Fenerbahce, which has won four of its last five Euroleague home games against Spanish squads. FC Bayern Munich (1-1) welcomes Strasbourg (1-1) for the first time ever. Bayern is undefeated at home against French teams (1-0) while Strasbourg is 3-3 on German soil, winning its last two games, against Telekom Baskets Bonn and Brose Baskets Bamberg, in last year’s Eurocup. All three games will be played on Friday.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul (2-0) faces Cedevita Zagreb (0-2) on Thursday in what could already be a pivotal game for the visitors. These teams met previously just twice, in the 2012-13 Euroleague season, when Efes beat Cedevita both times. Cedevita’s only road win against Turkish teams came in the 2013-14 Eurocup Last 32 against Besiktas. Also on Thursday, Limoges CSP (1-1) goes against Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz (1-1) at Beaublanc in what is their first matchup in almost 20 years since they split home wins in the 1995-96 Saporta Cup group stage. Laboral ended up winning the competition that season for its only European trophy to date. Laboral head coach Velimir Perasovic, Limoges president Frederic Forte and Limoges assistant coach Jim Bilba played in those games. On Friday, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan (1-1) takes on Olympiacos Piraeus (1-1) for the fourth consecutive season. Olympiacos has a 9-3 overall record against Milan and has beaten the Italian powerhouse four times in six road games. Oliver Lafayette of Milan and Daniel Hackett of Olympiacos played last season for their opponents this week.
For the first time even in European club competitions, Zalgiris Kaunas (1-1) visits Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir (1-1) on Thursday. Karsiyaka has a 2-0 home record against Lithuanian teams, having downed both Neptunas Klaipeda and Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in the Eurocup last season. Zalgiris is 8-10 on the road against Turkish teams. Also on Thursday, an intense showdown is expected between FC Barcelona Lassa (1-1) and visiting Panathinaikos Athens (1-1) in the Game of the Week. Stratos Perperoglou, who won two Euroleague titles with Panathinaikos, will go against his former team, as will the Greens’ head coach Aleksandar Djordjevic, who played for Barcelona between 1996 and 1999. The game marks their 35th showdown in what has become a world basketball classic since the mid-1990s. Barcelona is 12-4 at home against Panathinaikos, whose last win at Palau Blaugrana came in Game 2 of the 2013 playoffs, 65-66, on a three-point shot by Dimitris Diamantidis. Stelmet Zielona Gora (0-2) hosts Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar (0-2) for the third time in four years, although they face each other in the Euroleague for the first time. Lokomotiv has a 3-1 record against Zielona Gora in Eurocup action.
CSKA Moscow (2-0) hosts Brose Baskets Bamberg (1-1) in an interesting showdown on Thursday. CSKA is undefeated against Bamberg in eight games and has an 11-2 home record against German teams. Bamberg will not only try to get its first win against CSKA, but to become the first German team to beat CSKA in Moscow since ALBA Berlin did so in 2000. CSKA center Kyle Hines will faces his former team, as will Bamberg playmaker Nikos Zisis, who won the Euroleague title with CSKA in 2008. In a first between them, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (0-2) and Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari (0-2) will look for their first win at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday. As many as three Sassari players – MarQuez Haynes, David Logan and Joe Alexander – played for Maccabi in the past. These On Friday, Unicaja Malaga (2-0) hosts Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul (1-1) for a battle in the upper part of the standings. Darussafaka visits Malaga for the first time and is 0-4 in Spain, but this is its first game in the country since 2004. Unicaja has an 11-4 home record against Turkish squads.
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