Galatasaray looks to clinch a spot in Top 16

Galatasaray looks to clinch a spot in Top 16

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray looks to clinch a spot in Top 16

Galatasaray can qualify for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 if it wins tonight against Montepaschi Sieane and Asseco Prokom Gdynia downs Union Olimpija. AA Photo

Both Galatasaray Medical Park and Montepaschi Siena will have a lot on the line when they meet tonight in Istanbul for a Turkish Airlines Euroleague Group D match.

Galatasaray can qualify for the Top 16 if it wins and Asseco Prokom Gdynia downs Union Olimpija. Montepaschi is tied for second place and has already qualified for the Top 16, but wants a win to finish as high as possible in the group’s final standings.

Montepaschi, well-known for its ball circulation, is the best Turkish Airlines Euroleague team in overall shooting – over 50 percent in two-pointers, 40 percent in three-pointers and 80 percent in free throws – and also commits few turnovers. Galatasaray ranks high in offensive rebounds, with 71, and 114 turnovers.

Galatasaray will be able to enjoy the services of Furkan Aldemir, who returned to Galatasaray’s lineup last week wearing a facial mask. Montepaschi will be without Rimas Kaukenas, who is out long-term with a severe knee injury, while Ksystof Lavrinovic is questionable against Galatasaray.

“We are experiencing a situation characterized by a total and continuous crisis because of the absences we are suffering,” Montepaschi Siena coach Simone Pianigiani told the website. “Every day we are obliged to do something new from a technical and tactical point of view. We will try to make it once again even though we are aware of the difficulties.”

Montepaschi guard Nikos Zisis said playing away would be difficult.

“We are going to play on the road against a very good team like Galatasaray,” he said. “We have already got the qualification for the Top 16, but now we want try to arrive in the second position in our group also, and it will be tough. We hope to be ready to find our identity also with three important players injured,” Zisis said.

A fight atop the Group C standings is also on tap tonight in the Spanish capital, where Real Madrid welcomes Maccabi Electra. It is the 44th showdown between both teams. Madrid won 14 of its opening 15 home games against Maccabi, but the Israeli powerhouse has won in three of its last five road games against the Whites.

“It’s a game against a great team, with a solid identity, similar to the one of the team that played the Final Four last season,” said Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso. “In the first game they showed all their qualities and their inside potential with Sofo [Greek star Sofoklis Schortsanitis]. We will have to play fine defense to stop them.”