Last-place Anadolu Efes eyes win against Maccabi


Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Round 25 action will kick off today as Anadolu Efes hosts Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in Istanbul. With its place in the top half of the standings under serious threat, Maccabi Fox (12-12) needs to bounce back from two consecutive losses as it travels to face last-placed Efes (6-18). Maccabi's fast-paced offense will attempt to generate plenty of good looks for leading scorer Pierre Jackson (14.5 points per game), while new Efes signing Sonny Weems will hope for another solid outing against his former team after scoring 18 points on his debut. Also look out for an excellent quartet of shot blockers: Efes's Bryant Dunston and Maccabi trio Jonah Bolden, Alex Tyus and Art Parakhouski all average at least one block per game. Efes will be formally eliminated from playoff contention if it loses.

Elsewhere, playoffs-chasing Khimki Moscow (14-10) needs to get back on track against an AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan (8-16) that has shown it is more than willing to play for pride despite being close to elimination.The host team has won three games straight in Moscow and will look to control the boards through the agile Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Thomas, both averaging 5.4 rebounds per game (rpg.).

Valencia Basket's (9-15) qualification hopes may be hanging by a thread, but last week's impressive win over Brose Bamberg - featuring a club record 15 3-pointers - showed that the Spanish champion is not ready to give up on its season just yet. So it promises to be an intense showdown with Baskonia Vitoria (11-13), which could finally grab a share of eighth place after months of coming close to the top half.

Another fierce battle is expected as two heavyweights, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos Superfoods take on each other in a game that will break their tie for the fifth place.

Both teams have stuttered recently, with Madrid (14-10) losing three of its last four games and Panathinaikos (14-10) only winning two of its last seven. Madrid has Anthony Randolph and Gustavo Ayon healthy again to compliment Walter Tavares and Felipe Reyes, and the battle inside the paint between that quartet and the Greens' big men Chris Singleton, James Gist, Adreian Payne and Ian Vougioukas will be bruising and potentially decisive.

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