Two of Valencia Basket's core players will stare at their former team when Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul visits on Friday night. February MVP Nikola Kalinic and fellow forward Derrick Williams will try to help Valencia (14-14) snap a two-game slide to stay close to the playoff zone. Valencia is 9-4 at home last season and has won its last two home games against CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid. Fenerbahce (17-11) has rolled to a 12-1 record in its last 13 games, including five straight road wins.
Last time they met
Valencia claimed an 86-90 comeback road win at Fenerbahce in Round 11 in November. Valencia erased a 43-33 halftime lead with a 0-10 start to the third quarter and then followed its guards in the fourth quarter to a late victory. Sam Van Rossom scored 8 of his 20 points in the last 90 seconds to lead Valencia in scoring. Dyshawn Pierre led Fenerbahce's six scorers in double figures with 18 points. Valencia's defense held Fenerbahce to 7-for-19 two-point shooting (36.8%) after halftime to secure the victory.
Nando De Colo, who made his EuroLeague debut as a Valencia player a decade ago, has scored at least 20 points in five straight games, averaging 23.6 points on great shooting plus 6.0 assists over that span. While no player can single-handedly stop De Colo when he's hot, one way to slow him down is to attack him on the other end, which Valencia will turn to its top scorer Klemen Prepelic (12.0 ppg., 41.8%) to do.
Keys to victory: Valencia
Valencia is 11-2 this season when it has scored at least 80 points and Fenerbahce is 4-10 when it has failed to reach the 80-point mark, so both teams will be pushing for a high-scoring game. Valencia's balanced attack will be critical to that effort with Bojan Dubljevic, Mike Tobey, Kalinic and Williams needed to score inside and Prepelic and Sam Van Rossom from deep to keep the Fenerbahce defense on its heels.
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
These two teams are at the top of the charts in two-point shooting percentages with Valencia first (58.3%) and Fenerbahce second (57.0%). However, while Fenerbahce is one of the better defenses, keeping opponents to 53.3% on twos, Valencia has allowed opponents to make 56.5%, which is third-highest. The defensive play of the two teams' big men and how well they can stop the opposing bigs could be decisive on Friday.