After a three-game winning streak, Fenerbahce (8-12) suffered a home loss against FC Barcelona but has this opportunity to bounce back in front of its home crowd. Milan (10-10) is on a seven-game road losing streak. Its last victory away from Mediolanum Forum came in late October. Nando De Colo (18.8 ppg.) is Fenerbahce's top scorer, followed by Derrick Williams (11.8) and Kostas Sloukas (11.3). Sergio Rodriguez (13.2), Vladimir Micov (11.5) and Keifer Sykes (10.5) are leading Milan's offense right now.
Two guards with multiple EuroLeague titles are ready to face each other once again. Sloukas has averaged 12.0 points and 9.8 assists for a PIR average of 22.0 in the last four games, of which Fenerbahce won three. He must make the most out of his creativity against Rodriguez, a pass-first playmaker and a former EuroLeague MVP with exquisite ballhandling and great determination. Expect a lot from this matchup between two basketball geniuses!
Earlier this season
In Round 4, Milan defeated Fenerbahce 87-74 at Mediolanum Forum. Rodriguez, who would end up being chosen MVP for October, paced the winners with 22 points. Arturas Gudaitis added 17 while Amedeo Della Valle had 15 for Milan. Jan Vesely and Joffrey Lauvergne led Fenerbahce with 14 points apiece. Milan led 41-29 at halftime and Fenerbahce never really recovered after the break.
Keys to victory: Fener
Fenerbahce's improved defense has made it more competitive. The Turkish powerhouse has allowed 80.7 points on average this season, but just 69.7 in the last three games. Rebounding remains an issue, as Fenerbahce ranks last with 29.7 boards per game, and allows 11.3 offensive rebounds on average. If Fenerbahce is able to control the defensive boards, players like De Colo, Sloukas, Vesely and Luigi Datome will take care of business at the other end.
Keys to victory: Milan
Milan is one of the best teams at defensive rebounds (25.3 drpg.) but ranks really low in offensive boards (9.4 orpg.), which is particularly worrying when the Italian powerhouse is last in two-point shooting percentage (46.6%). Milan does a great job at limiting turnovers, with just 11.8 on average. With the right ball circulation, coach Ettore Messina's team has enough talent everywhere to improve that shooting percentage and eventually be more competitive.