Valencia at CSKA
Time: 6:00 PM CET
Round 21 commences with a battle between two of the top seven teams in the standings. Visiting Valencia sits at 10-10 overall despite starting the season on a five-game losing streak. Since then, they're 10-5 behind a balanced attack on both ends. Led by veteran center Bojan Dubljevic and his 14.4 points per game, Valencia boasts one of the deepest frontcourts in the league. Valencia will be without a number of injured players in Round 21, but they will still be able to lean on forwards Fernando San Emeterio, who averaged 16.0 points over the past three Rounds, and Aaron Doornekamp, who has scored in double figures in four straight. Opposing Valencia is EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA, who comes in at 14-6. Driven by the backcourt combination of Mike James and Darrun Hilliard, the Russian squad owns the sixth-best offense in the league and is scoring 84.4 points per game. While Valencia could struggle to slow down CSKA's guards, it will be incumbent upon Kyle Hines to get the job done on the defensive end in his matchup against Dubljevic. Valencia was unable to get anything going last time these teams met in Round 1, as CSKA won with ease at 96-71. The Spanish team will be short-handed Thursday, but they are playing with far more confidence these days and should give CSKA everything they can handle.
Will Clyburn - OUT - Knee
11/11 8:25 PM IST - Clyburn underwent surgery Monday to repair the torn ACL in his right knee, John Askounis of Eurohoops.net reports. The operation officially spells an end to Clyburn's season after the 29-year-old injured his knee during CSKA Moscow's Round 4 game in EuroLeague play. Clyburn will return to Moscow to continue his rehab and is expected to make a full recovery ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Janis Strelnieks - OUT - Hamstring
1/23 1:59 AM IST - Strelnieks (hamstring) will not play Thursday against Valencia, according to CSKA's official website. It's not clear where Strelnieks stands in his recovery, but per CSKA's original announcement of his injury, he remains out "long term."
Alberto Abalde - OUT - Illness
1/22 7:40 PM IST - Abalde will not play Thursday against CSKA due to an illness, according to Valencia's official website. Abalde should not be out long, but he will be unavailable Thursday for the first time since his absence from Rounds 4-7. Abalde is averaging 20 minutes per game on the season and has played particularly well of late, so a teammate or two will need to step up in Thursday's difficult road game.
Jordan Loyd - OUT - Foot
1/22 7:37 PM IST - Loyd will not play Thursday against CSKA due to a left foot injury, according to Valencia's official website. The extent of Loyd's injury is uncertain, but he will not be able to take the court in Round 21. He is averaging 11.1 points over 21 minutes per game, so his absence will open up some opportunities for Valencia's other guards.
Maurice Ndour - GTD - Undisclosed
1/22 9:20 PM IST - Ndour's status for Thursday's game against CSKA is uncertain, according to Abel Aguado of RadioEsport Valencia. Ndour was unable to play in Valencia's last domestic league game for some reason, and it remains to be seen if he will be back on the court in Round 21.
Joan Sastre - OUT - Undisclosed
1/22 7:43 PM IST - Sastre will not play Thursday against CSKA due to an illness, according to Valencia's official website. Sastre should not be sidelined long, but he will not be available for Valencia's Round 21 contest.
Mike Tobey - OUT - Calf
1/22 7:42 PM IST - Tobey (calf) will not play Thursday against CSKA, according to Valencia's official website. Tobey continues to work his way back from his injury and will miss a fourth straight Round. He will have over a week of additional recovery time before Valencia's Round 22 matchup with Panathinaikos.
Valencia Basket Probable Starters
CSKA Moscow Probable Starters
Mike James, CSK - James, who recently passed Alexey Shved as the EuroLeague's leading scorer, is averaging 21.4 points, 4.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 threes per game. He's a threat to score from anywhere and is coming off a 33-point explosion against Baskonia in Round 20.
Bojan Dubljevic, PAM - Valencia's ace is averaging 14.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 threes per game. He's not just scoring on easy buckets, either, shooting 51.9 percent from the field, 38.2 percent from three and 89.5 percent from the line. Dubljevic missed the last two Rounds and scored a season-low two points in his last appearance in Round 18, but he should be plenty motivated to get the job done in Round 21.
Darrun Hilliard, CSK - James' backcourt-mate is a talented scorer in his own right. He led both teams with 22 points in Round 1 and is posting season-long averages of 11.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 2.2 threes per game.
Aaron Doornekamp, PAM - Doornekamp filled a complementary role for much of the first part of the season, but he has come on of late, starting six of Valencia's last eight EuroLeague games and averaging 12.3 pointers and 3.3 three-pointers per game over the last four contests.
Dream 11 Team
Grand League Combination
James, Dubljevic, Doornekamp, Marinkovic
Small League Combination
James, Dubljevic, Hilliard, Doornekamp