Barcelona at Valencia
Time: 9:00 pm CET
Round 23 offers an important matchup between two Spanish teams sitting within the playoff fold. Valencia, sitting at 11-11 overall, has succeeded despite a porous defense that's allowing nearly two points per game more than they score. Their leader Bojan Dubljevic, who's posting 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game this season, will need to win a marquee matchup Barcelona's star forward, Nikola Mirotic if Valencia hopes to win. Unfortunately, however, Dubljevic's down two of his most important lieutenants, Jordan Loyd, who's dealing with a foot issue and Sam Van Rossom, who's battling through a hamstring injury. In their stead, Aaron Doornekamp, Guillem Vives, Quino Colom and a host of others will be called upon to step up. If healthy, Mike Tobey, who's missed the past five games with a calf injury, will be an important option, though his health status makes him difficult to rely on. Their opponent, Barcelona, focuses their offense around Nikola Mirotic, who's made a triumphant return to European action after a five-year sting in the NBA. While his primary compliment Cory Higgins could be held out with a persistent ankle injury, Barcelona has a wealth of talent surrounding Mirotic. Brandon Davies, Kyle Kuric and Malcolm Delaney, all over whom are averaging more than 9.0 points per game will be important factors, while the return of Thomas Heurtel, who's missed all but one game this season, will provide a nice boost. It was a close match last time as Barcelona barely eked out a victory in Round 5, winning 83-77 on their home floor.
FC Barcelona Lassa
Cory Higgins - OUT - Ankle
2/4 10:22 PM IST - Higgins (ankle) will not play Wednesday against Valencia, according to Catalunya Radio. Higgins did not travel with his teammates for Wednesday's contest, so he will miss a second straight EuroLeague game. His chances of playing in Barcelona's next EuroLeague game Friday against Milan are uncertain.
Kevin Pangos - OUT - Toe
1/26 6:27 AM IST - Pangos (toe) is still not practicing with his teammates, according to Ernest Macia of Catalunya Radio. It was reported earlier this month that Pangos was getting close to playing, but he has apparently not made much progress since then. Unless he is able to get some work in over the next few days, don't expect Pangos to return to action until after January comes to a close.
Jordan Loyd - OUT - Foot
1/24 10:58 PM IST - Loyd suffered a stress scaphoid fracture in his right foot during the team's last domestic league game and will be sidelined for the next five weeks, per Valencia's official website. Loyd's absence is a huge blow for a Valencia squad that sits seventh in the EuroLeague standings after Thursday's loss to CSKA Moscow. His 21 minutes per contest will likely be dispersed to the team's other guard options in the upcoming weeks while Loyd's timetable positions him for a return in late February or early March.
Sam Van Rossom - OUT - Hamstring
2/1 8:40 PM IST - Van Rossom left Friday's game against Panathinaikos during the first quarter after injuring his left hamstring, Sportando reports. While details remain murky, the report indicates Van Rossom will miss several games, so it seems safe to rule him out for Valencia's domestic league game Sunday and its first of two EuroLeague games next week. His return will hinge on how well he responds to treatment. Van Rossom started the last two EuroLeague games he appeared in, so Valencia will need to make a lineup change for Round 23.
FC Barcelona Lassa Probable Starters
Valencia Basket Probable Starters
Nikola Mirotic, BAR - Mirotic is fourth individually in the league in scoring with his 18.5 points per game average. In addition, he's grabbing 7.1 rebounds, 1.8 threes, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals per contest.
Bojan Dubljevic, PAM - Dubljevic is having an exceptional season, averaging 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He's reached double digits in all but four games this season.
Malcolm Delaney, BAR - A steadfast point guard, Delaney's averaging 9.8 points, 5.0 assists, 2.1 threes and 2.0 rebounds per game. He's arguably the best shooter on Barcelona's roster.
Aaron Doornekamp, PAM - While Doornekamp's season-long averages of 5.4 points and 2.3 rebounds per game aren't overly impressive, he's topped double digits in five of his past six games and appears to be settling in as Dubljevic's main complement.
Dream 11 Team
Grand League Combination
Mirotic, Dubljevic, Davies, Abalde
Small league combination:
Mirotic, Dubljevic, Delaney, Doornekamp