Sloukas, Bogdanovic lift Fenerbahce in series opener
Kostas Sloukas scored 10 fourth-quarter points and Bogdan Bogdanovic nailed a key three-pointer in the penultimate minute to lead Fenerbahce Istanbul to a 75-69 victory over reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Real Madrid on Tuesday at Ulker Arena. The best-of-five series resumes Thursday in Istanbul before heading to the Spanish capital for Game 3 –and, if necessary, Game 4 – next week. The hosts led for most of the night, however Rudy Fernandez helped fuel a Madrid comeback from 14 down to lead 51-52 after 4 straight points from Andres Nocioni late in the third quarter. Fenerbahce answered with 6 straight points and never trailed again, though it needed late free throws by Ricky Hickman and Bogdanovic to ice the win. Bogdanovic and Sloukas finished with 17 points each to pace the winners; Bogdanovic also dished 5 assists. Ekpe Udoh shined inside with 10 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Felipe Reyes led Madrid with 13 points, Sergio Rodriguez and Sergio Llull added 12 points apiece and Fernandez 10.
First quarter: Bogdanovic rescues hosts after slow start
Madrid won the opening tip and Llull drew a foul and split free throws to open the scoring. Bobby Dixon got Fenerbahce started with a floater. Strong defense and poor shooting characterized the first few minutes; Fernandez’s layup three-and-half minutes into the game only made it 2-3. After a Reyes free throw, Bogdanovic evened things at 4-4 midway through the quarter. Llull came away with a steal and darted downcourt for a layup, but a deep three-pointer by Bogdanovic gave the hosts a slim lead. Reyes turned the tide with a put-back. Gustavo Ayon frustrated the hosts with a chase down block of Dixon, but soon a Bogdanovic steal and layup and a triple by Dixon had Fenerbahce up 12-8. Bogdanovic added a free throw, however Jaycee Carroll came off the bench and buried a three on his first touch. Udoh took control of the paint with a rejection of Nocioni, which triggered a Fenerbahce fast break that Sloukas finished with a layup for a 15-11 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Udoh takes Fenerbahce lead into double figures
After triple from Dixon and another block by Udoh, the arena was rocking. The difference was 10 after a Sloukas triple, which prompted a Madrid timeout. Sergio Rodriguez looked to revive the visitors with a three-pointer. Nikola Kalinic drve for a layup before Carroll and Luigi Datome traded threes. Llull split free throws to get his team within 8. Llull added a jumper in the lane before Datome ran the pick-and-roll with Udoh and the latter finished with a slam. After free throws by Llull, Udoh unleashed another impressive slam to make it 30-22 midway through the quarter. After the TV timeout, Bogdanovic set up Udoh for a layup via the pick-and-roll. Sloukas’s jumper in the paint put the hosts up 12 and Hickman’s steal led to 2 free throws. Reyes scored 4 straight points for Madrid, but Bogdanovic kept Fenerbahce in charge with a pair of free throws. Jonas Maciulis split free throws for the visitors and later drove for a layup. But Bogdanovic’s drive for an impressive three-point play left Fenerbahce with a 41-29 halftime advantage.
Third quarter: Madrid storms back to take the lead
Both teams shot blocks in the first few minutes of the second half. Reyes netted a pair of free throws before Fernandez sparked the visitors with a three-pointer. After a timeout, Pero Antic nailed a triple for the hosts. After a layup by Reyes, Bogdanovic found Udoh for an alley-oop that restored a double-digit lead. Llull used a crossover to get himself an uncontested layup and make it 46-38 midway through the quarter. Ayon battled for an offensive rebound and Jeffry Taylor took advantage with a three to bring Madrid within 5. Datome’ long jumper was matched by Reyes’s bucket inside. Fernandez took charge with a three to make it a 2-point game. And after Antic nailed another three, Fernandez sank a floater. Nocioni added free throws and then gave his team its first lead, 51-52, since the opening minutes with a baby hook. Kalinic’s put-back gave the hosts a 53-52 advantage.
Fourth quarter: Visitors go cold as Sloukas heats up
Sloukas’s basket inside and Udoh’s monster put-back slam gave Fenerbahce some breathing room. Rodriguez’s three-pointer quickly cut into the deficit. Then Sloukas stepped up with a pair of jumpers to make it 61-55. Rodriguez penetrated for a three-point play, but Sloukas shined with a drive at the other end. Kalinic added free throws for a 65-58 lead. Madrid went cold at the worst possible time by missing 5 straight shots, while Datome free throws further increased the difference. Ayon ended a three-minute Madrid drought with free throws and Llull drove for a layup that made it 67-62 with 2:20 remaining. Sloukas sank free throws and Ayon matched him with a layup. A Bogdanovic triple with less than 90 seconds to play was a dagger in Madrid’s hopes. Ayon made free throws, but after a Bogdanovic turnover, both Carroll and Fernandez each missed threes. Rodriguez made it a 3-point game with 11 seconds left, but Hickman made free throws to help ice the game.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016