Galatasaray’s Euro fate to be decided at Olympiacos
Galatasaray Medical Park center Furkan Aldemir slam dunks during a Turkish Airlines Euroleague game. The young Turkish center has averaged 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in his debut season at the top-level competition in European basketball. AA photoGalatasaray Medical Park and Olympiacos meet tonight in a final-like Turkish Airlines Euroleague battle where the winner will advance to the quarterfinals and the loser will go home.
The two teams in Group E will wage a make-or-break battle to stay alive in the top-level competition in European basketball.
With three wins in five matches, second-place Galatasaray Medical Park will make it to the playoffs in its first-ever Euroleague season if it wins or even if it loses by one point – thanks to a two-point win over the Greeks in the two teams’ first game earlier this season.
“I know Peace and Friendship Stadium well,” Galatasaray Medical Park guard Jamon Lucas Gordon, a former Olympiacos player, wrote on his blog on the official Euroleague website. “And I know that gym is going to be packed, probably sold out, this Thursday. Olympiacos will be ready to take revenge for us beating them. But we’ll be ready, too. For both of us, it’s a do-or-die championship game.”
Greeks seek seventh playoff in a row
Olympiacos, with a 2-3 winning record, needs to win by more than one point to return to the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
While the Greeks are a constant fixture on that stage, almost nobody expected Galatasaray Medical Park to come this far in the season.
The Istanbul side advanced to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague for the first time in its history after surviving qualifying rounds against PAOK, Asvel and Lietuvos Rytas. That allowed Galatasaray Medical Park to join fellow Turks Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahçe Ülker, but a top-four finish in the regular stage showed it would not settle for just being there.
“Now, going into our last game, we have a chance to go all the way to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs,” Gordon said. “That’s further than anyone expected of us before the season, when we had to come through the qualifying rounds just to play in the Euroleague. It’s been a long road since then, but we’ve proven beyond a doubt that we belong. Now, let’s see if we can prove we deserve a shot at the Final Four in Istanbul.”
Anadolu Efes meets CSKA Moscow in a dead-rubber game also tonight. Efes threw in the towel with a defeat to Galatasaray Medical Park last week, while CSKA already clinched first spot in Group E.
The CSKA match will be the first game for Greek Ilias Zouros as Anadolu Efes coach. Zouros was unveiled as the new Efes coach after the club parted ways with its gaffer and former star guard, Ufuk Sarıca.
Efes hopes to end Euro season on a high note
Efes has only one win in five matches in the group, while CSKA has a 4-1 winning record. There will also be two games in Group F also tonight, with Unicaja (0-5) hosting Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao (3-2) and Montepaschi Siena (4-1) hosting Real Madrid (3-2).
Gescrap BB has a chance to make it to the playoffs in its first season in the competition with a win, unless Madrid beats Montepaschi by more than 32 points and less than 37. If Real loses, Gescrap will be through. Real Madrid (3-2) will finish first if it wins by 19 points or more; if Gescrap loses or by 30 points or more, or if Gescrap wins. It will finish second if it wins and Gescrap loses or if it wins by between 23 and 29 points and Gescrap wins.