By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With its own version of “Splash Brothers” taking action, and by playing a fantastic defensive game, Fenerbahce defeated Real Madrid 75-69 in an extremely noisy Ulker Arena, making it 1-0 in the series.
The backcourt duo of Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kostas Sloukas combined for 34 points, since they scored 17 each. The Serbian shooting guard also dished 5 assists and grabbed 4 rebounds, while Sloukas tied his personal best in Euroleague. Ironically, he had initially recorded this number against Fenerbahce in 28/2/2014.
The bulk of Sloukas’ scoring arrived in a more than timely manner for his team. While Fenerbahce had assumed control of the game at halftime, since the two squads went to the locker rooms with the score being 41 – 29, Real Madrid outscored its opponents 12-23, in the third period, balancing the scales again.
In a moment when the hosts looked a bit disoriented and tired in their offensive, and not only, game, the 26-year old guard took matters into his own hands, “reading” the inconsistencies in the weak and slow pick n’ roll defense of the Madridistas to score multiple jump shots that kept his team safe from harm. He had 10 minutes in the final quarter, confirming once again that the clutch-gene is strong inside him.
Bogdanovic proceeded to put his signature, throwing the dagger from behind the arc that made it 72 – 64, with less than one minute and a half to go. Even though Rodriguez gave some oxygen to Real with a three-pointer for the 72 – 69, eleven seconds before the end of the game, two free throws by Ricky Hickman sealed the victory for Fenerbahce.
We are talking about a just win, since the Turkish team was superior in the vast majority of the game. Despite Jan Vesely’s absence, Ekpe Udoh was a brute force inside the paint, also defending with enough resilience to cover for his sidelined teammate. Real Madrid never took advantage of its abundance in big bodies, something which is also obvious by the almost nonexistent presence of Gustavo Ayon, who scored only six points and attempted one shot (!). Although he also had eight rebounds, it sometimes looked like he never stepped his feet on court, considering the fact that he lost all battles on the defensive end.
Coach Laso’s players attempted nine more three-pointers than two-point shots (34 compared to 25) and they often looked like without a backup plan, when they didn’t find target. Which was a common case, since the reigning champs shot with 8/34 (23%). Rudy made only 2/10, and Sergio Llull was even worse with a horrid 0/7. Jaycee Carroll with 2/4 and Sergio Rodriguez with 3/5 were probably their team’s silver lining, when it came to perimeter shooting, an integral part of their team’s offensive plan. Yet they were not enough, as Carroll scored only 6 points, while Chacho had 12, but also three turnovers and zero assists.