The round 11 of Top 16 stage is bringing another very exciting game in Group E between Unicaja Malaga and Red Star Belgrade. Unicaja Malaga started great in the regular part of the season, and also the Top 16 stage, but after several injuries of their important players, they have lost some games and currently they are on a record of 3-7 while on the other side, Crvena Zvezda is in a much better position with 6-4 record. If Unicaja wants to keep the playoff dream alive, they will have to do whatever it takes to win in this game. Unicaja has lost badly in their last three home games of Top 16 stage. Also, Unicaja has snapped its 6 game losing streak last week beating Cedevita Zagreb on their home court.
On the other side, Crvena Zvezda is in the middle of a very busy and important stretch of games, so they are going to pace themselves in this game. Very important for both teams are going to be the results from the other games in Group E.
Unicaja is the leading team in offensive rebound (13.9 orpg) in the Top 16 stage. Also, Unicaja is sharing the ball very well and if they want to win in this game their guards Edwin Jackson, Nemanja Nedovic and Demarcus Nelson will have to involve the whole team and distribute the ball like they did in the last week’s win over Cedevita in which they combined for 14 assists. Unicaja is the lowest scoring team of the Top 16 stage averaging only 70.1 ppg, and if they want to win their leading scorers Mindaugas Kuzminskas (12.7 ppg), Edwin Jackson (9.1 ppg) and others will have to step it up big time. Fran Vazquez is only 4 blocks away from becoming the first Euroleague player to reach 250 blocked shots.
On the other side, Crvena Zvezda has lost only two out of their last 8 games. They are facing some very tough games in the upcoming days, but what’s most important is that they have the full roster healthy now that Tarence Kinsey is also back in action after he suffered a light injury in the last game. Zvezda’s offense is mostly going through Quincy Miller (14.7 ppg and 5.8 rpg), Maik Zirbes (14.0 ppg and team best 6.5 rpg) and Tarence Kinsey (10.1 ppg). Cvezda is allowing a lot of points 74.1 ppg to their opponents and they are ranked 5th in this category in the Euroleague.
Zvezda is only 2-7 in away games and this gives hope to Unicaja fans. What also can go in favor to Joan Plazas team is the very tough stretch of games that Crvena Zvezda expects. This might be a very tough and low scoring game in which Unicaja Malaga could show more effort and desire to win. In a close and a tough game, I believe that Unicaja Malaga might surprise Zvezda and come out as the winners of this game.
My bet: Under 152 points @1.90
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