After an impressive win over CSKA Moscow in the last round that kept their playoff hopes alive, Brose Baskets will look to improve their winning streak, as they will visit Barcelona on Thursday. The clash between these two squads will be more important for the Catalonians, than for the German club.
For Barcelona this is a make or break game, as they can either secure a place in the playoffs or be eliminated from the tournament. The Blaugraunas will surely give it their all in this match, because if they manage to win with a margin of more than ten points and Khimki and Real Madrid both lose their respective games, Barca will be qualified for the next phase at the end of this round. If, on the other hand, Brose Baskets win by no less than four points, while Real Madrid and Khimki are victorious, Xavi Pascual’s men can kiss their playoff aspirations good-bye, as they will be eliminated.
The German squad doesn’t have the opportunity to qualify for the next phase if they defeat their opponents on Thursday, but neither can they be eliminated in the case of suffering a loss. Unfortunately for Brose, the latter has a higher probability of happening. The squad led by head-coach Andrea Trinchieri did manage to win against Barca in the first game between the two teams in the sixteenth round, but that victory came at the Brose Arena. When the club from Bamberg plays as a visitor, they lack consistency both on offense on defense, which has resulted into a miserable 1-5 road record.
For Barcelona, Brose’s struggles away from home are more than welcomed, especially given the fact that the Catalonians are a pretty solid team at the Palau Blaugrana, where they have a 5-1 record in the Top 16 phase. However, the Catalonians should be careful, as their opponent ranks second in three point percentage (39.8%) since the start of the Top 16. Moreover, the fact that there is a possibility for Juan Carlos Navarro to be unable to participate in the game could prove to be a problem for Barcelona.
Nevertheless, expect Barca to win even if Navarro is not on the court, but not by a margin larger than ten points. Yes, Brose will not be eliminated if they lose by more than ten, but they will surely prefer one more playoff spot to be free when the next round comes.
My bet: Brose Baskets +10 @1.90
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