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Fenerbahce vs Baskonia EuroLeague Preview & Tips: Baskonia face a tough task against the defending champions
Low scoring game expected in Game 1 as the Basques seek to overcome the odds against Fenerbahce
Defending Champions Fenerbahce are strong favourites to edge past Baskonia on their way to the Final Four (Ozan Kose/Getty Images)
Despite their tremendous form to close out the regular season, the Basques face a tough assignment against Fenerbahce in the battle for a spot in the Final Four.
Fenerbahce played consistently during the regular season to secure second place with a 21-9 record. The Turks with legendary Zeljko Obradovic as head coach have a very talented and deep roster that can offer solutions on both ends of the floor.
With Kostas Sloukas, Brad Wanamaker and Jan Vesely as the leaders, the defending champions are one of the favourites to go all the way. Having the best defence in the Euroleague after conceding just 73.6 points per game, coach Obradovic will rely on his excellent defensive plays in order to stop Baskonia’s offensive productivity.
If Fenerbahce keep their shooting percentage (53.5% in two pointers, 42.4% in three pointers) at high levels, they will make the Basques’ effort to escape from Istanbul with the victory very difficult indeed.
The Spaniards made a tremendous run to qualify for the postseason and look determined to dethrone the current champions. Despite starting the season with a 1-5 record, the arrival of coach Pedro Martinez turned things around with the Basques steadily improving with six wins in their final seven games.
Despite losing to Anadolu Efes at home in the last round of the regular season, Baskonia finished seventh with a 16-14 record. Coach Martinez has created a balanced team which is very dangerous both from three-point range (39.8%) and inside the paint (55.9% in two-pointers).
Tornike Shengelia, Jayson Granger and Rodrigue Beaubois have been the main reference points this season, if they play at the same high standards as the last few months they can upset the odds and eliminate the defending champions.
Fenerbahce’s defence will be one of the decisive factors in the series. Given how crucial the matches will be, the Turks will play very tough from the opening tip. With Baskonia averaging 82.9 points scored per game, they need to concede fewer than 75 points in order to have the upper hand in the game.
The Basques should improve their defensive performance as they allow their opponents to score 79.1 points per game. With Fenerbahce averaging 79.4 points a game the Basque outfit need to prevent the defending champions from reaching that number.
- Fenerbahce won both matches against Baskonia this season by an average of 9.5 points (69-83, 79-74).
- Baskonia averages 86.1 points in their last seven Euroleague matches.
Fenerbahce will rely on their defence to make the difference in Game 1 and their target will be to limit Baskonia to fewer than 75 points. The Turks usually turn things around in the second half during their home games so it’s likely the same thing will happen on Wednesday.
The performances of key Baskonia players such as Shengelia and Beaubois will be the key in their efforts to win the game, while Granger’s presence is doubtful for the first two games due to injury.
Best Bet: Under 157.5 in total points at 1.90
Team Total Bet: Baskonia under 76.5 points at 1.65.
Half-Time / Full-Time Double Bet: Baskonia / Fenerbahce at 5.50