For the first time in this series, Zalgiris faces a do-or-die situation and Fenerbahce is one win away from making it to its fifth consecutive Final Four. Fenerbahce defeated Zalgiris in Game 3 to regain the home-court advantage. It also snapped the Lithuanian champs' five-game winning streak at home. Every game has been different in this series, but the atmosphere at Zalgirio Arena will be just as extraordinary as in Game 3. Simply one-of-a-kind.
Previously in the series
Fenerbahce rolled in Game 1, defeating Zalgiris 76-43 at home behind 16 points from Nikola Kalinic. Fenerbahce won all four quarters and made history; Zalgiris had never scored fewer than 50 points in a EuroLeague game this century. Zalgiris bounced back in Game 2, downing Fenerbahce 80-82 behind 20 points from Edgaras Ulanovas. Zalgiris held off Fenerbahce's comeback and a close basket by Ulanovas allowed his team to tie the series. In Game 3, Fenerbahce grabbed a 57-66 road win with 17 points from Marko Guduric. Melih Mahmutoglu sealed the win with a big triple in the final minute.
Nate Wolters was Zalgiris's best scorer in Game 3 with 15 points and missing only 3 shots. He had 14 points in Game 2 in helping his team to its only win in the series until now. Wolters must use his aggressiveness and one-on-one skills against the more experienced Kostas Sloukas, who looks for his seventh Final Four appearance in eight years. Sloukas can make the difference due to his clutch play, experience and character.
Keys to victory: Zalgiris
Simply put, Zalgiris has to go back to what worked well in Game 2, in which it hit 70.6% of its two-point shots - the 12th-best mark in playoffs history. In its two losses, Zalgiris was limited to 27 of 66 two-point shots (40.9%). Being effective inside the arc is critical for Zalgiris, as Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius's team takes fewer three-point shots (16.6 per game) than any other team in the competition. Good ball circulation and getting its frontcourt players involved will be very important for Zalgiris to take the series to Game 5.
Keys to victory: Fenerbahce
Fenerbahce is 10-0 this season when allowing less than 70 points - and 20-1 when allowing up to 75. It all starts with good defense for Fenerbahce. In fact, opponents average 86 points per game when beating the Turkish powerhouse. Fenerbahce leads the competition in lowest three-point shooting allowed (34.7%), but closing the paint and controlling the defensive rebounds will be the biggest key for the guests. Good defense has led to wins of all kind, against all sorts of opponents, so Fenerbahce's priority will be to be strong when Zalgiris has the ball.