Preview & Betting Tip
Real Madrid - Panathinaikos In the 12th round of the Euroleague Top 16 phase will meet in Madrid multiple European champions Real Madrid and Panathinaikos. Greeks have in recent times much more successes, especially in era of Zeljko Obradovic, but in the current constellation of things Real is still in a better shape. In the first part of this phase, PAO lost at home to Real Madrid 54-58. Begins: 21.03.2013 – 20:45 CET
Real has then in a very hard and inefficient game managed to defeat the Greek team in the hot ground of OAKA Arena, and that victory brings for them a certain advantage for this match. After 11 rounds Real is the first in its group with nine wins and two defeats (same as the 2nd-placed Efes), while the PAO is on the fourth position with seven wins from 11 games. Until the end of this phase Real will have a difficult job to retain the first place, primarily because after this match it will be a guest to the Russian CSKA, and in the last round will be host to Efes. Thus, the three tough matches are ahead of them and when we add that the last match were lost at home from Unicaja, there is indeed tough times for Real to defend the top spot in the group. In the first match with PAO, which was the most inefficient match of Real Madrid this season, the Madrid players made a turnaround in the final quarter and with a brilliant game came to the victory. They offensively stopped Diamantidis, and the outside shots of the opponent, while the on other side have somewhat surprisingly confused PAO through Hettsheimeir and Reyes. Fernandez has not played against Unicaja, and he is the most important player of this team, and Real needs him to win PAO. These days Real has brought in the great Darden from Zalgiris, but he doesn’t have right to play in the Euroleague for Real, because he already played for the Lithuanian champion.
Probable lineups Real Madrid: Llull, Suarez, Rodriguez, Hettsheimeir, Begic
PAO is a team where the primary objective is placement in the Quarterfinal round this season because the season in fact serves as a stabiliser after all those departures during the past summer. They fiercely fight for the fourth position and realistically that is their level, although it is not ruled out that they might end on one position above. However, they have to stay focused on how to stay in position that leads into the quarterfinals (and bring them Barcelona for the opponent, most likely). By the end of this phase they must have win Unicaja, which is currently the fifth because the Spanish team has a better win-loss ratio, so the result from the last round in Madrid doesn’t suit them at all. PAO has a tam which when viewed individually is difficult to fit together, because they have too many players for positions two and four. However, it all somehow works and indeed it would be a shame if this team doesn’t qualify in the next phase of the competition. Diamantidis is a player whose form is maybe declining but is still one of the best players in Europe, and he is the one who makes that his teammates play even better. The game also depends on the performance of Ukic, Bramosa and Maciulisa while the reinforcement from NBA Kapone can and should play better. They can hardly play against Real under the baskets, and that is why their priority should be to stop Fernandez (if he plays) and the outside line of Real.
Probable lineups Panathinaikos: Ukic, Diamantidis, Maciulis, Gist, Schortsanitis
Real Madrid – Panathinaikos
Real might have "let go” Unicaja in the last round to "push” the Spanish team, but in any case against the PAO must go for victory. They have the quality and are more played-in, and for sure that should show in the court. Besides that, they must prevent the third loss in a row at home (Sunday in the national championship).
Better's Tip: Real Madrid -7.5