Panathinaikos at Real Madrid
Time: 9:00 pm CET
Round 26 kicks off early with an excellent matchup between two seemingly playoff-bound teams. Panathinaikos, which possesses the top offense in the league, travels to Spain to take on a Real Madrid team that is tied with Barcelona for second overall.
The Greek team is headed by veteran point guard Nick Calathes, who is contributing 13.3 points and a league-leading 9.4 assists per game. Deshaun Thomas and Ioannis Papapetrou flank Georgios Papagiannis in the frontcourt and are averaging 14.3 and 11.0 points per game, respectively. In the backcourt, Calathes' main targets are Jimmer Fredette, the sweet-shooting American, who is offering 13.7 points per contest and Tyrese Rice, who has reached double figures in five of his past seven contests. Panathinaikos' tactics will be to up the tempo and run-and-gun. While their offense has yielded 88.7 points per game on average this year, they possess a porous defense that's allowed opponents to score 86.3 points per contest.
The hosts come in with a more balanced overall gameplan. On the season, they're outscoring opponents by nearly seven points per game behind the crafty leadership of Facundo Campazzo. Despite recently losing leading scorer Anthony Randolph to a thumb injury, Madrid has an abundance of depth. Trey Thompkins has reached double figures in eight of his past nine contests and veteran forward Rudy Fernandez is capable of stepping into a larger offensive load with Randolph out. While Campazzo anchors the point, Madrid's inside game is focused around the big-man duo of Walter Tavares and Jordan Mickey. The pair are the top two shot blockers in the league and have helped limit opponents to a mere 77.4 points per game.
Madrid claimed victory the last time these two teams met, stifling Panathinaikos' offense in an 87-75 victory in Round 16.
Sergio Llull - OUT - Upper Leg
2/23 8:39 PM IST - Llull (upper leg) will not play Monday against Panathinaikos, according to eurohoops.net. The leg injury Llull suffered in the Copa del Rey final will end up costing him at least two EuroLeague games. He will have over a week to rest and recover before Madrid's Round 27 matchup with Milan.
Anthony Randolph - OUT - Thumb
2/22 12:12 AM IST - Randolph underwent surgery on his left thumb, according to Madrid's official website. The team did not release a timeline for Randolph's recovery, but with him going under the knife he is looking at an extended absence – one that could cost him the remainder of the regular season.
Jeffery Taylor - GTD - Knee
2/23 8:41 PM IST - Taylor (knee) is uncertain for Monday's game against Panathinaikos, according to eurohoops.net. Taylor sat out Madrid's last EuroLeague game because of his injury, and he could miss at least one more Round. His status will be updated again when it is revealed whether or not he will take the court in Round 26.
Georgios Papagiannis - GTD - Foot
2/23 8:37 PM IST - Papagiannis did not practice Saturday due to soreness in his foot, according to eurohoops.net. The report notes Papagiannis was held out for precautionary reasons, so he will still have a chance to play in Panathinaikos' next EuroLeague game Monday against Real Madrid.
Jacob Wiley - GTD - Ankle
2/24 11:35 AM IST - Wiley (ankle) is unlikely to play Monday against Real Madrid, according to eurohoops.net. Wiley missed Panathinaikos' last EuroLeague game because of his injury, and he could miss another for the same reason.
Panathinaikos Probable Starters
Real Madrid Probable Starters
Nick Calathes, PAN - Calathes is putting together an MVP-caliber year with his averages of 13.3 points, 9.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per contest. He dropped 19 points and seven assists last time these two teams squared off.
Facundo Campazzo RM, - Campazzo is second in the league in assists and has dropped a whopping 38 dimes over his past three outings. He's been Madrid's steadiest player of late and is chipping in 10.1 points, 7.2 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game this season.
Deshaun Thomas, PAN - While Calathes leads the show, Thomas is Panathinaikos' leading scorer. Overall this year, the 28-year-old is posting a career-high 14.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 threes, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal per game.
Walter Tavares, RM, - Much of Tavares' value comes on the defensive end, where he's swatting a league-leading 2.1 shots per game. On offense, he's contributing 6.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 64.8 percent from the field.
Dream 11 Lineup
Grand League Combination
Calathes, Campazzo, Mitoglou, Garuba
Small League Combination
Calathes, Thomas, Tavares, Papapetrou