This series marks the first time Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul and FC Bayern Munich will ever meet. It’s a clash of teams with well-respected head coaches, experienced rosters and high expectations. Both came into the season as title contenders, but only one of them will get a chance to play for the 7DAYS EuroCup crown.
How they got here
Darussafaka and Bayern have looked like title contenders from the start of the season. Dacka won its first six games in regular season Group A. Despite losing two of its next three games, Coach David Blatt’s squad finished atop the group with an 8-2 record. Bayern started the season 9-0 before falling in the regular season finale at Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Nonetheless, it won Group B with a 9-1 mark. Dacka won its first five Top 16 games by double figures before dropping its last game in Group E at Herbalife Gran Canaria. Bayern was stunned at Fiat Turin in its first Group F game before reeling off five straight wins to top the group. Dacka swept Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in the quarterfinals and arrives at the semifinals with a 15-3 record, including an 8-1 home record. Bayern needed three games to knock off UNICS Kazan and comes to this stage with a 16-3 record. Coach Sasa Djordjevic's side is 10-0 at home, but 6-3 on the road and will need to win at least one game in Istanbul to take the series.
What the numbers tell us
The simple answer to that question is: Not much. The teams excel at their strengths, but their styles are so different that it's tough to compare. Bayern has the best performance index rating as a team (103.2) and its 87.2 points per game are second in the league. Darussafaka has allowed an index rating of just 67.9 as well as 70.3 points per game, which are both second lowest in the EuroCup. While Darussafaka is second in the EuroCup with 37.6 rebounds per game, Bayern has allowed the fewest rebounds (29.7 rpg.). Bayern's team passing sees it atop the charts in assists (20.6 apg.); Darussafaka's isolation scoring has it 20th with 16.0 assists per game. In short, Darussafaka is great on defense and Bayern is great on offense; both are excellent rebounding teams and they score their points in very different ways.
Eyes on the top 10 - or more
Two Darussafaka players have a chance to enter the history books during this series. Howard Sant-Roos leads the EuroCup with 2.2 steals per game this season and JuJuan Johnson is second with 1.6 blocks per game. Both are on the cusp of the all-time EuroCup single-season top 10 in those respective numbers with a shot at much more. Sant-Roos enters the semifinals with 38 steals, which is tied for the 11th most in a single EuroCup season. Ali Muhammed, who had 39 with Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir in 2014-15, sits in 10th place. Jerry McCullough set the record with 49 steals for Metis Varese in 2003-04. Johnson is tied with three others for 12th place with 27 blocks, but with his next rejection will tie Andre Riddick and Ksistof Lavronovic for 10th place. Riddick, who is also the career leader in the category with 147, blocked 28 for Spirou Charleroi in 2002-03 and Lavrinovic got his for UNICS Kazan in 2005-06. Stephane Lasme set the single-season record last week with 47 for UNICS before falling to Bayern in the quarterfinals.
Bayern forward Alex King enters the series with 97 career EuroCup appearances, which is tied for 11th most in competition history. Tenth place is occupied by RETAbet Bilbao Basket's Axel Hervelle, who reached 100 earlier this season. The series would have to go the distance and King would have to appear in all three games for him to tie Hervelle and become the 11th man with 100 games played in the EuroCup. Though King has made 10 appearances already this season, he did not play in the quarterfinals. King has played nine EuroCup seasons for five different clubs.
What could have been?
Late-season injuries have both teams at less than their respective head coaches and general managers had hoped when the transaction deadline passed. Darussafaka small forward James Bell is done for the season with a broken bone in his right foot. Bell suffered the injury in the opening game of the quarterfinals. He started 12 games for Darussafaka during the season and averaged 8.8 points and 3.6 rebounds. Twenty-two-year-old guard Kartal Ozmizrak stepped into Bell's spot in the starting lineup for Game 2 of the quarterfinals and produced 8 points, 6 boards and 3 assists at Buducnost VOLI Podgorica in 23 minutes. Bayern lost big man Milan Macvan in late January to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Macvan was third on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg.) and second in rebounds (4.8 rpg.). Danilo entered the starting lineup in Macvan's place and has posted 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 block since.