Tomorrow the whole Europe will stop. The basketball fans will enjoy next weekend, since the best teams on the Old Continent, are gathered in Istanbul, and they will decide who will win the Turkish EuroLeague trophy for this season.
As most of you know, the contestants are 3-times champions Olympiakos, 9-time winner Real Madrid, Fenerbahce who is still searching for the first silverware and the reigning and 7-time champions CSKA Moscow.
The event will take place in Istanbul, at Sinan Erdem Arena, which will for sure be convenient for Fenerbahce team, who will have almost home court advantage in terms of their fans.
We know the matchups for the semifinals. In the first one, we will see a clash between CSKA Moscow and Olympiakos, and in the second Fenerbache - Real Madrid.
CSKA Moscow - Olympiakos
CSKA and Olympiakos are old acquaintances on Final Four, and this will be their fourth encounter at this stage in the last 6 years, with the Greek club winning in all previous 3 games. Most of you basketball fans recall the 2012 finals, at this Arena in Istanbul, when Olympiakos made a stunning comeback after losing 19 points and won the title with Georgios Printezis' buzzer-beater game-winner.
In previous two games this season, CSKA won on both occasions. In Piraeus 81-75, and back in Moscow 90-86. That tells you that these games were tight and that the Russians always have some trouble with Olympiakos.
The game itself will be the encounter between EuroLeague's best offense and defense. CSKA averages 87.6 points, and on the other hand, the Greeks allow 75 index rating points per game to their opponents, which is the lowest in the league. 73.6 allowed points are the second-best in Euroleague.
The Russians are the best shooting team in the league. First in free-throws 82.2%, and second in two-points 55.5% and three-points 40.2%.
Olympiakos is the best rebounding team in the competition with 37.4 rebounds per game, and that is something that gives them the edge when needed the most.
Overall records this season, by these two teams are 25-8 by CSKA and 22-13 by Olympiakos.
Fenerbahce – Real Madrid
In the second semi-finals, we have the clash between the most successful coach in Europe and the most successful team, Zeljko Obradovic who is leading Fenerbahce and Real Madrid.
The Turkish team is desperate to win the European title, and they hired the best possible solution for that job. They needed a little luck last season when they lost in the finals, but this year Fener will have a chance to redeem themselves in front of their own fans.
The biggest strength of this team is a vast number of contributors in their offensive game. Dixon, Sloukas, Vesely, Datome and of course Bogdanovic, are all above 10 points per game this season, and they can be lethal in any part of the match. Their defense is third best in league with 73.9 points, and they have the second-best blocking average with 3.4 per game. Also, one important thing. Fener allows just 9.8 offensive rebounds per game, and they are one of the best teams in Europe in this category.
On the other hand, Real Madrid too, has balanced offense. Llull, Randolph, Ayon and Fernandez are contributing double-digits often. Gustavo Ayon has 71.4% field goal made this season, and EuroLeague has never seen such a percentage. Luka Doncic is already the best young player in Europe, and NBA Draft First Pick prospect.
Real Madrid has the best record in the league 26-8, while Fener has 21-12.
Be prepared for tomorrow, and we will bring you detailed predictions for these games.
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