Fenerbahce cruises in Istanbul derby
Already-qualified Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul inched closer towards clinching home-court advantage in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs with a 75-97 road win over the city rival Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul on Friday. The win raised Fenerbahce's record to 20-3, two victoris clear in first place, while Darussafaka remained in the last place at 3-20. Marko Guduric and Ali Muhammed scored 16 points apiece, while Nikola Kalinic added 15 for the winners. Michael Eric had 14 points and Zanis Peiners 13 for Darussafaka.
Peiners and Jeremy Evans hit early triples for the hosts, but Muhammed struck twice himself from deep as Fenerbahce opened an 8-13 lead. His second triple was also a start of a 2-16 run for the visitors, who stepped up on defense, forcing turnovers that led to buckets from seven different players for a 10-24 margin late in the first quarter. Jan Vesely and Kostas Sloukas helped extend it to 16-33 early in the second. Eric scored inside and Dogus Ozdemiroglu from outside for Darussafaka, but a four-point play from Melih Mahmutoglu made it 25-42. Darussafaka answered with a 10-0 run started by Stanton Kidd's triple and capped by Jon Diebler's, which cut the deficit to 7 points before Fenerbahce went into halftime ahead by 35-46. The visitors kept the margin in double figures, and after Kalinic and Muhammed Baygul traded triples, Kalinic fueled a 0-10 run during which Nicolo Melli and Guduric each hit from downtown to open a 39-63 lead with just over 3 minutes to go in the third quarter. Fenerbahce took a 48-73 advantage despite the hosts starting the fourth quarter with an 11-1 run, capped by a triple from Kidd. But Guduric ended Fenerbahce drought with a three-pointer, then Muhammed hit back-to-back from deep to end any doubts.
Darussafaka was hanging in range, down 10-12 points early in the third quarter when Nikola Kalinic hit a triple then scored 2 two-pointers, including a monster dunk, fueling a 0-10 run that broke the game open.
Fenerbahce dominated the boards by 33-22. The visitors held 18-9 rebounding advantage at halftime, when Fenerbahce had as many offensive rebounds (9) as Darussafaka had total rebounds.
Scoring high against Darussafaka
Scoring 97 points was a season-high on the road for Fenerbahce. The only game in which Fenerbahce scored more this season was also against Darussafaka, when it won 100-79 at home in Round 8.
Center Jan Vesely returned to Fenerbahce lineup less than four weeks after undergoing a minor right knee meniscus injury. He ended up missing just two EuroLeague games, and finished with 4 points and 6 rebounds.
Home-court advantage in sight
Next week in Round 24, Fenerbahce (20-3) will face another city rival, playing host to Anadolu Efes Istanbul (15-8). If Fenerbahce wins, it will clinch home-court advantage in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Darussafaka (3-20) will be on the road visiting Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (10-13).
Friday, February 22, 2019