The situation in group E could get very complicated after this round. Four teams are one step away of securing the playoff stage among which are Panathinaikos and Lokomotiv. These two teams have already played three times this season with Lokomotiv Kuban winning all three games. This meeting is certainly going to be different, especially because there are some new faces in both rosters. The Greens have signed several new players: Elliot Williams, Vincent Hunter and MarQuez Haynes who will look to further improve the Greens offense. Elliot Williams alongside Miroslav Raduljica and James Gist is going to provide many headaches for the russian team.
On the other side, Lokomotiv has also signed a new player since their last meeting. Anthony Randolph is the new big men for the Russian team who will make the difference under the basket. Randolph paired with Malcolm Delaney (16.6 ppg and 5.7 apg) and Victor Claver (10.3 ppg and team high 6.4 rpg) will be the main threat to the Greens.
Since arriving to the Greens, Elliot has become the best scorer on this roster averaging 15.7 ppg. This matchup is going to be the clash of the two best defensive teams of the Top 16 stage. Panathinaikos is playing pretty strong defense, giving up only 71.3 ppg (2nd best in Top 16) behind the best defensive team Lokomotiv Kuban who are allowing 68.5 ppg. and forcing 15.3 opponents turnovers per game.
Behind the big support of their fans, the Greens are going to have an extra motivation at the OAKA Olympic Arena to beat Lokomotiv Kuban. Coach Djordjevic is aware how much this game means to his team, especially after the loss to Red Star Belgrade last week, a loss that snapped a five game winning streak. On the other side, Lokomotiv Kuban is in a much better position with only one win needed to secure the playoff spot. I give a slight advantage to the Greens just because of the atmosphere and the fans that will carry their team to another important win.
My bet: Panathinaikos -3.5 points @1.90
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