While the NBA Playoffs have reached the conference finals, the Euroleague is also reaching its climax. The Euroleague Final Four tips off this Friday, May 17. The single-game-elimination matches will begin with Fenerbahce Beko and Anadolu Efes, both based out of Istanbul. That game begins at noon, and should prove to be a good one. The next game tips off directly after the first, in a matchup between Real Madrid and CSKA Moscow. Can Real Madrid defend their title without teen sensation Luka Doncic? Can Anadolu Efes pull off an upset? Let’s take a look.
Fenerbahce Beko vs. Anadolu Efes
These teams had an interesting season series. They faced off five times on the hardwood, with Fenerbahce Beko winning three games to Anadolu Efes’s two. A big reason why Fenerbahce is favoured by basketball betting to win in the Final Four is their dominance in the games that they did take in the regular season. Fenerbahce was plus-35 in their three wins, with their largest victory being by 18 points. Anadolu Efes, on the other hand, was just plus-eight in their two wins.
Familiar names to NBA fans are featured on both teams. Shane Larkin, formerly of the Brooklyn Nets, and former San Antonio Spur James Anderson are both key contributors for Efes, and Fenerbahce has former Los Angeles Lakers point guard, Tyler Ennis, former Denver Nuggets guard, Erick Green, and another former Spur in Joffrey Lauvergne.
The slight edge that Efes does have in this matchup is Fenerbahce’s injury-troubles. Lauvergne and Luigi Datome are out, and Czech big man Jan Vesely is doubtful. If Efes can exploit the absence of those key players, they could be moving on to the Euroleague championship.
CSKA Moscow vs. Real Madrid
This should be an interesting matchup. Real Madrid took the title last year, but that was with budding superstar Luka Doncic at the helm. With Doncic now in America playing in the NBA, it will be interesting to see if Real Madrid can repeat. CSKA Moscow took the season series 2-0, but the games were decided by just five and four points respectively. With the games being played in the Fernando Buesa Arena, Spain, Real Madrid will have the benefit of a home crowd.
Madrid has former Cleveland Cavaliers seven-footer Edy Tavares down low, who’s shooting 79% from the field this season. In addition, Anthony Randolph (12.6 points per game) and Sergio Llull (10.6 points per game) could present problems for Moscow.
CSKA Moscow has been getting hot-shooting from former Toronto Raptors guard, Nando de Colo. The Frenchman has averaged 18 points on 47.1% shooting from deep in the playoffs so far. All-Euroleague First Team performer, Will Clyburn (13.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game), and former Euroleague champion, Cory Higgins (14.8 points per game on 49% shooting from three-point range) are other names to watch for CSKA Moscow in the Final Four.
Looking Ahead to the Euroleague Championship
The winners of the two Euroleague Final Four matchups are to face off on Sunday, May 19, in a winner-takes-all-style game. The winner of Sunday’s game will be crowned the new Euroleague champion, or, in Madrid’s case, the repeat winner. Regardless of the outcome, it should prove to be an exciting weekend for European basketball.
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