FC Barcelona hosts Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in a clash between two EuroLeague powers looking to turn things around. Barcelona started the season in fantastic fashion but has dropped two of its last three games. However, Barca comes off a three-game road trip and will play its next three games at home. Barca is 2-0 at home. Fenerbahce is off to its worst start of the Coach Zeljko Obradovic era and is 0-5 on the road.
Barcelona's Nikola Mirotic and Fenerbahce's Derrick Williams are the models of the modern power forward; they are big, strong and athletic players who can bang in the paint and light up the nets from downtown. While Mirotic (19.1 ppg., 5.8 rpg.) is Barcelona's go-to scorer, Williams (11.5 ppg., 4.8 rpg.) is Fenerbahce's No. 2 option, but both have the ability to take a game over by themselves. If either of these players gets the other in foul trouble, it could have a big impact on this game.
Fenerbahce has won seven consecutive games against Barcelona ging back to 2014. However, three of those wins came by one shot and two more by 4 and 6 points. Barcelona's last victory over Fenerbahce was 78-80 in November 2014 in Istanbul. Centers Ante Tomic of Barcelona and Jan Vesely of Fenerbahce are the only players who appeared in that game and remain with the teams today.
Milestones for Vesely
A big game for Jan Vesely could see the reigning EuroLeague MVP climb a few rungs in the EuroLeague all-time standings. He ranks seventh all-time with 417 offensive rebounds and with 4 this week would reach Kerem Gonlum for sixth place. Vesely is ranked 12th all-time with 142 career blocks, which is 2 behind Robertas Javtokas for 11th place. In rebounding, he is 14th in competition history with 1,035 boards. Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv manager Nikola Vujcic is 13th with 1,037.
Keys to victory: Barcelona
It's a tribute to the Barcelona defense that its opponents have tried the most three-pointers in the league (29.6 per game), but have shot only 33.8% from downtown. If Barca can use its strong perimeter defense, led by former EuroLeague Best Defender Adam Hanga, to slow down Nando De Colo and co., it will boost the team's chances to keep its perfect home record intact.
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce must rebound better to have a good chance to win in Barcelona. Fener is last in rebounding (28.9 rpg.) and second-to-last in offensive rebounds (9.0). Barcelona is second in rebounds (37.5 rpg.) and its 26.0 defensive rebounds per game ignite its dangerous transition game. If Fenerbahce's bigs - including Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely and Joffrey Lauvergne - can deny Barcelona on the offensive glass and generate a few more fastbreak baskets, it will be in a better position to win its first road game.