Turkish clubs pursue victories in Euroleague
AFP PhotoTwo Turkish clubs will be out to continue their bids to advance in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight in the sixth round of Top 16 clashes.
Fenerbahçe Ülker returns home to Istanbul to play visiting Laboral Vitoria, while Emporio Armani Milan hopes to snap its two-game home losing streak when it hosts Anadolu Efes.
Both teams have three wins and two losses in the first five games of the Top 16, and Fenerbahçe Ülker sits in the third spot, one above Anadolu Efes, in Group F and in point difference.
Fenerbahçe has lost both of its Top 16 home games so far, but since its last home loss, has registered two road wins. The host side has allowed only 69.8 points per game in the group, second only to Olympiacos. Meanwhile, Laboral stands as the Top 16’s best rebounding team with an average of 43.6 per game, the co-leader in offensive rebounding with 15.4 per game, and has posted the fourth-best scoring average with 80.8 points a game.
“Another game in the Top 16, it is very important for us,” Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Zeljko Obradovic told euroleague.net.
“First of all, we have lost our two home games so far, so we must be careful,” he added. “They are a very offensive team, with lots of options. Together with Unicaja, they are the best offensive rebounders in the Euroleague in my opinion. We must be focused and play a good game if we want to win.”
The Istanbul club’s Greek guard Nikos Zisis said the team wants to start winning home games.
“We will play against a dangerous team and after big changes they are playing better,” he said.
“They have only two wins, but fight in every game. They played well against Olympiacos and CSKA, and even the games they lost were by small margins. We will prepare seriously to try to win the game,” he said.
Since 2005-06, Efes holds a 12-4 edge in clashes with Milan.
For this one, Milan will hope to improve a defense that has allowed at least 77 points in each of the Top 16 games so far, while the visiting side already has the third-best defense among teams left in the competition, allowing only 72.7 points per game.
The two teams are the Top 16’s best at ball management, with Milan having only 8.8 turnovers and Efes just 10.2 per match.
Anadolu Efes coach Dusan Ivkovic recalled the memories of his side’s last away game, a 109-90 loss at Nizhny Novgorod two weeks ago.
“Every game in the Top 16 is very important and very difficult,” he told euroleague.net.
“We had one very bad experience in our last game on the road against Nizhny Novgorod. The team of Milan is a very talented one. Our game control and one-on-one defense must be at a very high level just to be competitive. I am expecting a difficult game,” he said.