Fener, Galatasaray take tough Euroleague tests
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Fenerbahçe Ülker center Oğuz Savaş (R) tries to score a basket during one of his team’s games in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.Two Turkish teams will try to get their second wins against solid sides in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.
Fenerbahçe Ülker will host Panathinaikos in a crucial Group G battle, while Galatasaray Medical Park will have the tough task of visiting CSKA Moscow in the Group E of the Top 16 stage of the top-level competition in European club basketball.
Fenerbahçe will try to protect its home court, the newly-opened Ülker Arena, a week after beating EA7 Emporio Armani Milano to get its first win in the group. The Istanbul team will not only try to remain perfect on its court, but will also try to get one over the Greek side as both teams are on a 1-1 record in the group.
Unics Kazan tops the group with two wins while EA7 is at the bottom with no wins.
Panathinaikos has won its last 5 showdowns against the Turkish powerhouse and Fenerbahçe Ülker’s last win came early in the 2004-05 season.
“Like every Euroleague game in the Top 16, this game is tough too and also crucial for our course in the competition. We are facing a very good team, which has big quality and a full roster,” Panathinaikos head coach Zeljko Obradovic was quoted as saying in the Euroleague website.
Obradovic also emphasized Fenerbahçe’s home-court advantage.
“Another fact is the arena,” he said. “It’s a new gym and the atmosphere their fans create, is ideal for Fenerbahçe Ülker. “We have to keep our minds in the game from the first to the last second, we have to use all our advantages in order to control the rhythm and we have to focus on our defense. Defense is the key for us. When we play good defense we get the result we need and want.”
Galatasaray Medical Park will try to beat the odds when it visits CSKA Moscow, the only unbeaten team in the competition. The Istanbul side, which is having its first appearance in the Euroleague, got its first win in the Top 16 stage with a victory over Olympiacos last week.
Star-studded CSKA maintains perfect streak
Apart from CSKA Moscow’s stunning 12-0 winning record, Galatasaray Medical Park will have to cope with its poor away games record as well.
Galatasaray is 1-5 on the road so far and lost its last three games outside Abdi İpekçi Sports Hall, which proved to be a stronghold for the club when it is filled with the team’s ambitious fans.
Last week, CSKA Moscow enjoyed a 28-point win over Anadolu Efes, another Turkish team in the competition. Despite the overwhelming favorite status, CSKA Moscow head coach Jonas Kazlauskas said his team to be cautious against Galatasaray Medical Park.
“Though Galatasaray made it to the Euroleague through qualification, you have to respect the team. Many of its players like Lakovic, Lucas, Shumpert have a lot of Euroleague experience,” he said. “Maybe it is difficult to play the course of the long season for some of the veteran players but they are able to shine on any given night and we have to remember this. Galatasaray managed to beat Olympiacos at home last week. That’s why we have to forget about our big win in Krasnodar and to expect serious fight.”
In other games tonight, Bennet Cantu takes on Maccabi Electra and leader Barcelona Regal meets Zalgiris Kaunas in the Group G. Unicaja hosts Group F leader Montepaschi Siena in another match.