Efes, Fenerbahçe clash in Turkish league title decider
The best-of-seven finals series is tied at 3-3 after Fenerbahçe beat city rival Efes 85-69 late on June 19.
Serbian shooting guard Marko Guduric was man of the match for the winning side, scoring 21 points and posting six rebounds in 24 minutes.
Italian Nicolo Melli scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds, while guard Kostas Sloukas of Greece contributed to the victory with 11 points and eight assists. Bobby Dixon, aka Ali Muhammed, played with 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
Efes was unable to avoid the away loss, but four of its players scored in double digits.
The top scorer of the visiting side was Shane Larkin as the U.S. guard posted 16 points and three assists.
Guards Vasilije Micic and Krunoslav Simon scored 12 points each, while forward Bryant Dunston added 11 points and three rebounds.
The last game of the series will be played without Fenerbahçe fans after the club’s supporters were banned from two away games by the Turkish Basketball Federation (TBF) for their “unruly behavior” in Game 5 of the finals series.
Efes coach Ergin Ataman has been a particular target of Fenerbahçe fans’ verbal abuse, with tensions running high especially since a Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four semifinal game between the two sides last month.
Ataman complained after the game on June 19 that he could not bring his family to Ülker Arena.
“I have played almost 20 finals in Turkey, and in all my championship games, my family and children were there to watch,” he said.
“They really wanted to be here tonight, but I could not bring them,” Ataman said, explaining that he did not to “take a risk.”
Fenerbahçe coach Zeljko Obradovic said he would not comment on the issue.
“Everybody is free to come, and nothing will ever happen to anyone here,” he told reporters when asked about Ataman’s remarks.
“I’ve been here for six years; has anything happened? Have we ever had a problem with anyone or any team? As I said at the beginning of the season, we must respect all teams.”
The legendary coach said he preferred to talk basketball, praising the level of play and excitement in the finals series.
“I believe that it is a joy for everybody watching,” he said.
“It’s been a very good season, and two very good teams are playing in the finals now. It is not easy: we played seven games in 14 days. We must give our all, and I will be proud of my team regardless of the result of the last game.”