Both teams arrive at this Istanbul derby in good shape. Efes leads the competition and is on a six-game winning streak. After a 2-7 start, Fenerbahce has won its last three games and is back on track, getting closer and closer to the top half of the standings. Shane Larkin (22.2 ppg.), Vasilije Micic (15.2 ppg.) and Sertac Sanli (11.5 ppg.) have led Efes so far. Nando De Colo (20.5 ppg.) has been Fenerbahce's top scorer until now, followed by Derrick Williams (11.3 ppg.) and Kostas Sloukas (10.6 ppg.).
Two of the best combo guards in the competition are set to test their scoring skills. Larkin has been just unstoppable all season long, but especially in the last two games, including breaking the EuroLeague's all-time scoring record with 49 points against FC Bayern Munich. Sloukas earned Round 12 MVP honors after tallying 23 points, 10 assists and a PIR of 39 against ALBA Berlin. Two great players in outstanding shape go head to head!
Fenerbahce has a 10-3 record against Efes in EuroLeague history. Efes, however, took the most critical showdown between the squads ever. In the first-ever EuroLeague semifinal between Turkish teams, Efes defeated Fenerbahce 73-92 last season. Shane Larkin paced the winners with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists for a PIR of 43, the highest ever in a Final Four game. Vasilije Micic added 25 points for Efes.
We meet again
Several players have worn born jerseys, which adds anticipation to this showdown. Dogus Balbay played for Fenerbahce in the past, in the 2005-06 season. Ahmet Duverioglu played for Efes until the end of the 2015-16 season, while Vladimir Stimac donned an Efes jersey during the 2017-18 season.
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce has solved its scoring problems in recent weeks. It is averaging 77.7 points per game, but that number rises to 94.7 on its current three-game winning streak. In those three showdowns, Fenerbahce has managed to get excellent shooting percentages (61.8% 2FG, 52.4% 3FG), so if Coach Zeljko Obradovic's team keeps finding good shots, it will have a good chance to win. Finding a way to stop Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin, however, is the biggest key for Fenerbahce.
Keys to victory: Efes
Efes is the second-best scoring team in the competition (86.4 ppg.) mainly because of its excellent shooting percentages; it is averaging 58.8% inside the arc and 37.4% from downtown. Efes ranks second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.633) but has struggled to power the boards since Bryant Dunston was injured. Efes only grabs 9.4 offensive rebounds on average and will need extra aggressiveness under the baskets to steal a road win at Ulker Sports Arena.
Adrien Moerman and Bryant Dunston are still sidelined and won't play against Fenerbahce.