CSKA Moscow seeks crucial win versus Olympiakos Pireus in the Euroleague Top 16 on Wednesday.
A fight to reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs is set for Moscow, Russia, where CSKA hosts Olympiacos BC Pireaus in Group E on Wednesday. CSKA will punch a ticket to the Playoffs if it beats Olympiacos. The Russian powerhouse will also clinch first place in Group E if it wins and Anadolu Efes beats Galatasaray Medical Park. Olympiacos cannot advance with a win but would improve its overall situation in Group E.
CSKA has won 5 of its last 6 home games against Olympiacos. The Reds' last win came in Game 1 of the 2008 playoffs, 74-76, on a buzzer-beating shot by Lynn Greer. CSKA comes off its first Euroleague loss this season and Olympiacos will not be an easy opponent in this crucial game.
CSKA will be without Viktor Khryapa, out indefinitely with a dislocated finger. Olympiacos may be without Georgios Printezis, who has been listed as game-time decision. Panos Vasilopoulos has been sidelined for the entire season.
Olympiacos has greatly improved its frontcourt defense with the arrival of center Joey Dorsey, whose strength and blocked shots have turned the Reds into a more physical team. Dorsey joins versatile forward Georgios Printezis, rock-solid big men Kyle Hines and Pero Antic, as well as center Andreas Glyniadakis. Dorsey is set for a critical match-up against Nenad Krstic, whose post skills and experience have been a big plus in the paint for CSKA. Printezis must use his quickness and mobility against blue-collar big man Andrey Vorontsevich, whose range and post moves could be decisive in this game. Three-point threat Darjus Lavrinovic and little-used big men Dimitry Sokolov and Nikita Kurbanov round out a solid CSKA frontline.
Olympiacos must find a way to stop Andrei Kirilenko, whose size, speed and intensity make him a frequent mismatch at small forward. Kirilenko will go against two good defensive stoppers in Kostas Papanikolaou and Michalis Pelekanos. At the same time, CSKA needs to stop Vassilis Spanoulis to improve its chances for a win. Jamont Gordon and Alexey Shved will see the most minutes against Spanoulis on defense, but they must also try to use their explosive offensive skills against him and Martynas Gecevicius. Olympiacos is set to use Pelekanos to guard Ramunas Siskauskas, whose one-on-one game could prove vital for CSKA.
Olympiacos has a good battery of point guards – Acie Law, Evangelos Mantzaris and Kostas Sloukas – to throw at Milos Teodosic, who gets back to the Pireaus to face his former team. CSKA must run its offense through Teodosic and Kirilenko, as well as get Krstic involved to try and force Dorsey into foul trouble. Olympiacos will rely on Spanoulis and Printezis to make the difference in this game.