In Round 23 of Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Fenerbahce Istanbul will travel to St. Petersburg to try to get a win against Zenit and improve their record to 11-12, as Armani Milano, who is on the last position of play-offs. In their last meeting, Zenit made a huge surprise in Turkey, winning 84-81 thanks to a nice game made by Mateusz Ponitka (16 points and 8 assists). Can Fenerbahce get the win here?
For Zenit, this period is a bad one, as they lost five games from the last six played in all competitions. What’s more important for them, two players were added to the injury list after last Euroleague game against Barcelona. Alex Renfroe and Colton Iverson suffered injuries in that game and alongside Ponitka and Dmitry Khvostov are out for this game, which makes Zenit’s rotation shorter and weaker. In the weekend, they suffered a defeat in VTB League against BC Kalev/Cramo 76-75, which is a huge surprise taking into consideration that are available players were used, here including Ayon, Albicy or Hollins. Their main contributors were: Austin Hollins (18 points and 2 rebounds), Andrey Zubkov (12 points and 3 rebounds) and Gustavo Ayon (11 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists).
Fenerbahce is back on track and now are only one victory away of a play-off berth. They won 8 of their last 10 games in all competitions and now their morale is very good, compared to the start of the season. They won last Euroleague game against ALBA Berlin 74-70 and in the weekend, in TBL, they smashed Turk Telekom 91-67. The game was without history because Fener took control of the game in the early minutes and never looked back. At the halftime, they had a 24 points lead, 54-30. They dominated the game in all aspects and with Derrick Williams in that form, is very hard to stop them. Williams finished the game with 31 points and 5 rebounds, scoring 7-9 from distance. Melih Mahmutoglu (16 points) and James Nunnally (14 points) were the other great contributors.
With that injury list, Zenit has no chance against a Fenerbahce team that recovered from the bad start and now have their minds settled on a play-offs spot. The Turkish team will dominate the game and grab a nice victory here because their roster is better and stronger than the opponents’ one. That’s why the odds were dropping significantly these days.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc