Leader Fenerbahçe travels to Canary Islands in Euroleague

Leader Fenerbahçe travels to Canary Islands in Euroleague

Leader Fenerbahçe travels to Canary Islands in Euroleague

Jan Vesely

Two teams from opposite ends of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague table meet on the Canary Islands on Jan. 17 when Herbalife Gran Canaria takes on Fenerbahçe Beko.

Canaria has lost three games in a row and five of its last six to slip back to 14th in the standings, though it is still only two wins behind the team in eighth place to earn a playoff spot. Fenerbahçe leads the standings and has only lost twice all season.

The defenses of the two teams tell the stories of their seasons: Gran Canaria allows the most points in the league with 87.5 points per game, while Fenerbahçe allows the fewest with 75.1.

Fenerbahçe dominated Gran Canaria 97-72 when they met on opening night of the season in what was their first-ever Euroleague showdown.

Jan Vesely starred in that gamewith 19 points and 11 rebounds for a performance index rating of 34 to earn MVP of the round honors and Nikola Kalinic shined too with 16 points.

Fenerbahçe’s point total in that game was its sixth-highest since Zeljko Obradovic became its head coach in 2014.

Fenerbahçe has cracked the 90-point mark five times this season, but all of them have been on the road. Thus, despite facing the most porous defense in the league, Coach Obradovic’s men are best playing their brand of basketball, which is slower-paced. Focusing on defense and keeping Gran Canaria to a low score is the safest game plan for Fenerbahçe to notch another victory.

Gran Canaria has held opponents to less than 80 points only four times this season, but is 3-1 in those games. So first and foremost, Coach Victor Garcia’s men must play exceptional defense to have a shot at grabbing their seventh victory of the season.

Also on Jan. 17 in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, two teams currently in the playoff zone will face off when CSKA Moscow hosts FC Bayern Munich in the Russian capital.

CSKA arrives from a severe home loss to Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv last week despite 16 points apiece by Will Clyburn and Nando De Colo. It was CSKA’s first home loss since Round 8 of last season.

Bayern got back to its winning ways with a prestige home win over AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan thanks to 18 points apiece by Maodo Lo and Nihad Dedovic.

On Jan. 18, the latest edition of the Istanbul derby will be played with Anadolu Efes against Darüşşafaka Tekfen.

Efes comes into the game on a three-game winning streak, sitting in fourth place in the league and owning a 7-2 home record.

Darüşşafaka is on a three-game losing streak, last in the standings and winless on the road this season.

Efes is 5-0 in Euroleague games against Darüşşafaka and also won their Turkish League game earlier this season.