No team has played as many minutes in clutch situations this season as Fenerbahce and perhaps that made the difference in its overtime win over previously undefeated Real Madrid.
Stats review: How previous close games helped Fenerbahce thrive
It took several clutch plays and one overtime, but Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul managed to hand Real Madrid its first loss of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season. In a game that had 10 players score in double figures, a wild fourth-quarter comeback, an 11-for-11 two-point shooting effort from Facundo Campazzo, some timely marksmanship from Scottie Wilbekin off the bench, and a perfectly executed full-court trap that led to a heroic game-winning layup by Yam Madar, the Round 11 thriller truly had a little bit of everything.
While Campazzo put together a magnificent performance creating, assisting, or scoring 49 of Madrid’s 99 points on top of his historic shooting against a defense that committed to making him a scorer in pick-and-rolls, it was ultimately a collective effort from Fenerbahce that sealed the game. The Turkish club fell behind early but got critical contributions from several players in the late stages of the fourth quarter and overtime and won on a miraculous play that would not have worked without all four of the players Fenerbahce coming into the frontcourt to contest the inbound pass. Their resilience under pressure was the difference.
Perhaps that was to be expected from Coach Dimitris Itoudis’s team. As the table above suggests, no group has spent more time in high-tension games than Fenerbahce; nearly two-thirds of their possessions in the last 5 minutes of the fourth quarter and overtime this season have been played with the margin on the scoreboard at 5 or fewer points. They have kept fans on the edge of their seats constantly in the early going and this certainly feels like the payoff.
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In defeat, Campazzo’s 11-of-11 effort from two-point range ties him for the most efficient single-game performance in EuroLeague history with a pair of centers. Converting only 2.7 two-point attempts per game this season, it took a confluence of strategy and talent for him to put his name in the record books. While Fenerbahce opted to down numerous ball screens and shade multiple defenders to Walter Tavares every time he rolled to the rim, thus pushing Campazzo into space in the midrange, he ultimately finished a multitude of contested layups with both hands, converted several floaters going full-speed towards defenders, and made the most of a series of scoring opportunities that were anything but easy.
While Campazzo’s touch finishes were a key reason Real Madrid nearly avoided its first loss, Nicolas Laprovittola’s club-record 8 three-pointers helped FC Barcelona get some separation from LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in their 9-point victory. Laprovittola has been a dangerous shooter since arriving in Europe almost a decade ago, but the 33-year-old is nonetheless having the most productive offensive season of his career.
The six threes he made in the second half were a testament to why he’s scoring nearly 7 points per 40 minutes more than his previous career-high. As efficient of a decision-maker as he is, Laprovittola has been a little less reluctant to force the issue this season. Whether that means looking to shoot from deeper angles or forcing stepbacks over defenders more regularly like he did against ASVEL, he has not been shy this season and the results have been almost entirely positive.