Fenerbahce Istanbul joins list of EuroLeague champions!
Fenerbahce Istanbul has joined the list of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champions! Fenerbahce captured the 2017 crown by overpowering Olympiacos Piraeus 80-64 in the championship game at Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday. Fenerbahce became the first Turkish team to win the EuroLeague title, after losing against CSKA in overtime in the championship game one year ago. Head coach Zeljko Obradovic added more hardware to his impressive legacy by lifting the trophy for the ninth team with five different teams. Kostas Sloukas and Pero Antic won their third EuroLeague title together, after back-to-back crowns with Olympiacos in 2012 and 2013. The Reds kept it close in the first half and trailed by 4 early in the second, but Fenerbahce broke the game open with an 11-2 third-quarter run and led by 18 early in the fourth quarter. Nikola Kalinic scored 17 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting and Bogdan Bogdanovic also scored 17 for the winners. Luigi Datome scored 10 of his 11 points in the second half to help Fenerbahce pull away and Final Four MVP Ekpe Udoh posted 10 points, 9 rebounds and a EuroLeague championship game record 5 blocked shots. Fenerbahce outrebounded Olympiacos 40-30 and blocked 9 shots in a dominant effort in the paint. Khem Birch led Olympiacos with 14 points, Nikola Milutinov netted 10 and Vassilis Spanoulis finished with 9 points and 8 assists.
First quarter: Kalinic takes over, puts Fenerbahce in charge
Jan Vesely needed just four seconds to ignite the crowd with a reverse alley-oop dunk! Birch split free throws and a three-pointer by Kalinic gave Fenerbahce a 5-1 lead. Birch took over with a big slam and free throws by Spanoulis gave Olympiacos its first lead, 5-6. Vesely kept pushing Fenerbahce with a put-back slam and Kalinic hit from downtown for a 10-6 score. Bobby Dixon joined the three-point shootout and a red-hot Kalinic bettered Birch's free throws with a three-point play, boosting his team's lead to 16-8. Spanoulis buried a catch-and-shoot three and free throws by Birch brought Olympiacos within 16-13. Udoh swished a mid-range jumper and Bogdanovic did better with a bomb from downtown. Nikola Milutinov stepped up with a layup, but Kalinic downed a corner triple for a 24-15 Fenerbahce margin. Kostas Papanikolaou answered from downtown, but a buzzer-beating jumper by Bogdanovic fixed the score at 26-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Olympiacos hangs in
Luigi Datome split foul shots early in the second quarter and a three-pointer by Erick Green brought Olympiacos a bit closer, 27-21. Dominic Waters took over with a backdoor layup that James Nunnally matched with a close basket. Milutinov scored down low, but Bogdanovic's jumper restored a 6-point Fenerbahce lead, 31-25. Fenerbahce kept powering the offensive glass and a three-pointer by a red-hot Bogdanovic caused Olympiacos to stop the game at 34-25. Fenerbahce tried Bogdanovic at point guard and Udoh gave his team its first double-digit lead, 35-25. Georgios Printezis - who had been scoreless until then – buried a triple from the top of the key. Bogdanovic swished a floater right before picking up his third foul, which allowed Birch to keep Olympiacos within 37-29. Vangelis Mantzaris fired one in from downtown and Birch erased Dixon's floater with a buzzer-beating put-back basket that brought Olympiacos within 39-34 at halftime.
Third quarter: Fenerbahce builds up the lead
Dixon and Mantzaris traded three-pointers right after the break and Vesely banked in an incredible off-balance jumper for a 44-37 score. Mantzaris sent the Olympiacos fans to their feet with another three-pointer and Milutinov matched Vesely's free throws with an outstanding dunk that brought Olympiacos within 46-42. Kostas Sloukas struck from downtown – for his first points – to ignite the crowd at 49-42. Milutinov scored off a great post move, but free throws by Udoh and Datome restored a double-digit Fenerbahce lead, 54-44. Coach Obradovic tried a stronger frontline with Udoh and Pero Antic – on the floor for the first time in this Final Four – and Olympiacos struggled to score around the basket. Instead, Datome hit a triple for a 57-44 Fenerbahce lead. Olympiacos called timeout and Milutinov immediately dunked, but Antic and Datome answered for a 60-46 Fenerbahce advantage. Birch stepped up with a layup that got Olympiacos within 60-48 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Fenerbahce completes its mission
Birch scored around the basket early in the fourth quarter, but Datome did better with a corner three and Udoh added free throws to break the game open at 65-50. Bogdanovic found Antic for a bomb from downtown that prompted an Olympiacos timeout at 68-50 with eight minutes left. Printezis tried to change things with a layup and Olympiacos tried full-court pressure now. Udoh sank foul shots, Green buried a floater in the lane and a wide open triple by Bogdanovic sealed the outcome, 73-54, midway through the fourth quarter. Loyal to its tradition and character, Olympiacos did not stop trying until the final buzzer, but everything was said and done. Fenerbahce was about to join the list of EuroLeague champions.
Sunday, May 21, 2017