Fenerbahce will try to remain perfect on its home floor and climb within one win of its fifth consecutive EuroLeague Final Four appearance when it welcomes Zalgiris for Game 2 of their best-of-five series. Fenerbahce has won all 16 home games this season and is on an 18-game home-court winning streak dating back to last season’s playoffs. Fenerbahce has also won all eight of its playoff games at home under Coach Obradovic, dating back to 2015.
Game 1 recap
Fenerbahce took control of the series behind a stellar defensive performance, beating Zalgiris 76-43 on Tuesday. It was the largest EuroLeague Playoffs win in Fenerbahce history and the fourth largest all-time, while Zalgiris set a club low for points scored in a EuroLeague game. Fenerbahce used a 15-2 run to end the second quarter and take a 38-21 halftime advantage from which it never looked back. Nikola Kalinic led Fenerbahce with 16 points, Marko Guduric had 13, and Erick Green netted 12 points in victory. Marius Grigonis was the only Zalgiris scorer in double figures with 10 points.
Big men Brandon Davies and Jan Vesely put together great regular seasons, but were non-factors in Game 1. Expect them to bounce back and provide an inside boost for their respective teams. During the regular season, Davies was fourth in the EuroLeague in scoring (14.4 ppg.), sixth in PIR (17.5) and led Zalgiris in rebounding (5.7 rpg.), but had just 3 points and 4 rebounds in the series opener. Vesely led Fenerbahce in the regular season with 13.0 points and 5.4 rebounds, while also averaging 2.4 assists and EuroLeague third-best 1.5 steals and a PIR of 19.3. However, in Game 1 Vesely played less than 10 minutes, did not score a field goal and had fewer points (2) and rebounds (2) than turnovers (3) and personal fouls (4).
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
After an impressive display in Game 1, Fenerbahce’s challenge is to bring the same energy and focus into Game 2. Fenerbahce will want to avoid a letdown at all costs and try to get a quick start to carry the momentum from the first game. Fenerbahce will also like to get more from Jan Vesely, especially with Joffrey Lauvergne sidelined with an injury.
Keys to victory: Zalgiris
As Zalgiris head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius pointed out after the Game 1 loss, his team needs to find a way to answer Fenerbahce’s physicality. Zalgiris will need to take better care of the ball after committing 23 turnovers in the series opener. The visitors must also knock down some shots. Despite Fenerbahce's defense, Zalgiris did find a bunch of open looks, but made just 3 of 16 three-point shots (18.8%) and will need to do much better than that to get a chance to win this contest.