Green, Muhammed lead Fenerbahce past Olympiacos
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul remained undefeated at home this season in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by downing Olympiacos Piraeus 90-75 in a rematch of the 2017 EuroLeague championship game on Thursday. Fenerbahce improved to 18-2 to keep its spot atop the standings. Olympiacos is fifth with a 12-8 record. Erick Green paced the winners with 17 points, Nikola Kalinic added 16, Ali Muhammed tallied 13 points and 10 assists and Kostas Sloukas scored 12 for Fenerbahce. Janis Timma led Olympiacos with 14 points, Janis Strelnieks added 13, Nikola Milutinov had 11 and Vassilis Spanoulis 10 for the visitors. Fenerbahce led 21-15 after 10 minutes, extended its margin to 40-28 at halftime and then again to 68-54 at the end of the third quarter en route to a well-deserved win.
Kostas Papanikolaou got Olympiacos going with a couple of three-pointers, but Kalinic and Muhammed allowed Fenerbahce to quickly tie it at 6-6. Ahmet Duverioglu dunked and Muhammed struck from downtown on a 9-0 run that gave Fenerbahce a 15-6 margin. Strelnieks buried a triple, Milutinov dunked and a floater by Nigel Williams-Goss got Olympiacos within 17-13. Kalinic and Marko Guduric scored around the basket, but a layup by Zach LeDay fixed the score at 21-15 after 10 minutes. Timma downed consecutive three-pointers early in the second quarter and a layup by LeDay tied it at 23-23. Sloukas scored in penetration and Vesely hit a jumper in a 9-0 run that Muhammed capped with a bomb from downtown, good for a 32-23 Fenerbahce lead. Georgios Bogris scored down low, but a dunk by Joffrey Lauvergne and back-to-back baskets by an unstoppable Muhammed made it a double-digit game, 38-27. Luigi Datome buried a step-back jumper and a free throw by Williams-Goss kept Olympiacos within 40-28 at halftime. Lauvergne and Duverioglu took over with respective dunks, which prompted the Reds to call timeout at 44-28, shortly after the break. Duverioglu dunked again, but Milutinov did better with a three-point play. Kalinic and Axel Toupane traded corner triples and free throws by Spanoulis got Olympiacos a bit closer, 49-36. Vesely stepped up with a wild layup-plus-foul and three-pointers by a red-hot Green and Sloukas broke the game open, 61-39. Toupane and Green exchanged three-pointers. After Nicolo Melli hit a jumper, Milutinov and Spanoulis got their team within 68-54 after 30 minutes. Sloukas took over with a driving layup early in the fourth quarter. Timma buried his fourth triple and followed Papanikolaou's free throws with a dunk that made it 72-61 with 7 minutes left. Guduric hit a critical three-pointer and Muhammed added a jumper that caused Olympiacos to stop the game at 77-63. Kalinic followed a layup with a three-pointer that sealed the outcome, 82-68, with 3 minutes remaining.
Erick Green had not reached double digits in scoring in the entire season, but showcased his shooting skills against Olympiacos. He finished the game with 17 points on perfect shooting with 1 two-point shot, 4 from downtown and 3 free throws. He added 2 rebounds and an assist for a performance index rating of 20 in just 16 minutes.
A layup by LeDay tied it at 23-23, but Ali Muhammed caught fire late in the first half. He had 7 points in a 17-4 run in which everyone contributed - Sloukas, Lauvergne, Datome, Vesely. That outstanding team effort at both ends of the floor gave Fenerbahce a double-digit lead, 40-28, and full control of the game after that.
Fenerbahce shot the ball with excellent percentages from all distances - 68.6% (24 of 35) inside the arc, 56.3% (9 of 16) from downtown and 100% (15 of 15) from the foul line. The latter was its second-best mark in the competition. It previously made 25 free throw attempts without a miss against Zalgiris Kaunas on March 9, 2018.
Did you notice?
Fenerbahce won its 12 consecutive home game; it has not lost at home since it played against Unicaja Malaga in last year's regular season finale on April 5, 2018. It is already the second-longest home winning streak in club history; Fenerbahce won 23 consecutive home games from February 2015 through October 2016.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Thursday, January 31: Fenerbahce visits FC Bayern Munich at 20:30 CET and Olympiacos hosts FC Barcelona Lassa at 20:00 CET, in a rematch of the 1997 and 2010 EuroLeague title games.
Thursday, January 24, 2019