Playoffs, Game 3: Tickets to Istanbul available!
After a dramatic first two games, the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs continue this week with a change of venues for Game 3, which could see as many as two teams punch their tickets to the Final Four in Istanbul!
Having secured sensational road wins last week, Fenerbahce can become the first team to advance into the Final Four by sweeping a best-of-five series at home as it returns to Istanbul to host Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens on Tuesday. The visitors scored the lowest number of points of all teams in the opening games, and will surely need more than its average of 66.5 points to keep the series alive. To do so, the Greens will have to improve its true shooting percentage of 42.6%, the worst of all playoffs teams. Conversely, nobody has been shooting more accurately than Fenerbahce, which converted 54.5% of the points it attempted to score last week.
A few hours later, reigning champion CSKA Moscow can also advance into the Final Four with a road victory at Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz. The Russian team gained a pair of narrow home wins last week partly thanks to compiling the best free-throw conversion rate in the playoffs by far (86.7%), and scoring more two-pointers than any other team (22 per game). Baskonia needs to take better care of the basketball after committing a playoffs-high average of 19 turnovers in the first two games, but will look to maintain its shooting accuracy after converting 62.1% of two-point attempts, more than any of the other seven Final Four hopefuls.
On Wednesday, Anadolu Efes Istanbul will attempt to build upon Friday's impressive victory at Olympiacos Piraeus, which tied the series at 1-1 ahead of two games this week at Abdi Ipekci Arena. The battle of the boards could be crucial: Olympiacos won Game 1 after massively outrebounding Efes 47-31, but the Turkish team turned the tables in Game 2 after more or less matching Olympiacos on the boards, claiming 36 to the home team's 37. Olympiacos also needs to create better shooting opportunities after converting just 44.3% of its two-point attempts last week, the lowest of all teams.
Also on Wednesday in Istanbul, the Game of the Week promises an exciting showdown as Darussafaka Dogus hosts Real Madrid in another series which is all square at 1-1. Darussafaka will be riding high on confidence after pulling out a shock win in Madrid on Friday. They hosts also know that they comfortably defeated the Spanish team at Volkswagen Arena during the regular season, 81-68 in Round 12. Darussafaka out-rebounded Madrid by an average of 36.5 to 33.0 in the first two games, and in a game which is likely to be close the visiting team needs to improve its free-throw conversion rate of 65.2% from last week.
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