Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul head coach Zeljko Obradovic questioned his team's character and motivation after its Round 9 loss to FC Barcelona. Derrick Williams and Vladimir Stimac answered the call from their coach in grabbing the team's first road win of the season in Round 10.
Just two days after Fenerbahce lost 63-89 in Spain, Williams and Stimac combined for 38 points, 14 rebounds and 4 blocks in helping Fenerbahce defeat LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne 72-88 to improve to a 3-7 record, and now 1-6 on the road.
"At the moment it is a team totally without character. Totally. I don't see that the players have any motivation. This is our main problem," Obradovic said after the loss to Barcelona.
Williams showed his heart and passion right away in the first couple of minutes with a massive dunk-plus-free throw and a three-pointer for Fenerbahce's first six points. Williams added another big dunk for 8 of his 17 points in the first 10 minutes along with 3 of his 6 rebounds and 2 of 4 blocks.
"We played with more heart, more passion tonight than we have in the previous eight or nine games," Williams said just days after he went scoreless in 12 minutes against Barcelona. "We just have to continue playing with heart. Tonight was the first road win and I think it builds a lot of character as the season goes on. Everybody in the locker room is gonna be happy about this one."
Stimac meanwhile came into the game with just 11 points in 42 minutes over four games. But the 32-year-old veteran big man came close to his career high of 22 points as he collected 21 points to go with 8 rebounds.
"For sure it was hard sometimes when you are in a slump. But I hope with this game we go out and start a winning streak," Stimac said afterwards.
Making the offensive showing all the more impressive was that Fenerbahce played without Nando De Colo and Jan Vesely – the latter of whom was in France and in uniform but did not play in the game.
Obradovic also had to be happy with his team's defensive showing. The 72 points were the third-fewest the team allowed all season and came after giving up 90, 88 and 89 points in the last three games. In addition, Fenerbahce held ASVEL to just 43.2% on its two-point shots.
Fenerbahce has turned a corner with this road win, but now Obradovic and co. need to chain some victories together – not to mention get healthy again.