2018-19PlayoffsGame 4
April 25, 2019 CET: 19:00
Local time: 20:00 ZALGIRIO ARENA

Muhammed inspires Fenerbahce to the Final Four

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul became the second team to advance into the Final Four with a record-breaking 82-99 road victory at Zalgiris Kaunas, clinching the series 3-1. Fenerbahce made a sensational start to lead 10-27 in the first quarter, before Zalgiris fought back and narrowed the gap to just 4 points, 48-52, early in the second half. But an inspired Ali Muhammed kept the visiting team in front, and the lead was in double digits nearly all the rest of the way. Muhammed shone with 25 points on 9-of-10 field goal shooting, plus 4 assists and 3 steals. Fellow point guard Kostas Sloukas also excelled with a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists, while Jan Vesely scored 12 points and Marko Guduric and Erick Green both netted 11. Brandon Davies led Zalgiris with 25 points and 7 rebounds, and Nate Wolters registered 18 points, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Muhammed, Gigi Datome and Guduric gave Fener an early 0-7 burst, before Leo Westermann got Zalgiris moving from long range. Muhammed added a triple and a driving lay-up, and back-to-back baskets from Nicolo Melli made it a double-digit game. Sloukas converted a three-pointer and Vesely’s jumper extended the lead. Datome and Muhammed netted again from deep for a 10-27 edge, before a series of Zalgiris free throws and a buzzer-beating put-back from Deon Thompson made it 16-30 after the first quarter. Davies scored twice down low early in the second quarter, and Aaron White’s triple reduced the deficit to single digits at 25-34. Two quick baskets from Wolters maintained Zalgiris’s momentum, but Melih Mahmutoglu’s corner triple and three free throws reignited Fenerbahce. Arturas Milaknis answered with two strikes from deep, Davies dunked over Vesely, and a triple from Wolters made it 41-49 at the interval. Muhammed sank another three-pointer to start the second half, but Zalgiris responded with a 7-0 run including a big alley-oop from White. Muhammed struck from deep yet again, then added a coast-to-coast lay-up, and Vesely’s three-point play made it 48-60. Thomas Walkup, Davies and Edgaras Ulanovas responded down low, but Melli’s jumper kept the lead in double-digits, before Green entered the game to bury a triple and Sloukas did likewise for a 61-72 lead at the end of the third. Davies’s three-point play pulled Zalgiris closer, but Ahmet Duverioglu scored twice and back-to-back threes from Guduric extended the gap to 64-84 to cap a 0-12 run. That took the life out of Zalgiris’s challenge, despite another burst of scoring from Wolters and Davies, and Fenerbahce cruised the rest of the way.

Spectacular Muhammed the key

Ali Muhammed delivered one of the best performances of his career, netting 13 points in the first quarter to inspire his team’s fast start and 10 more in the third to stop Zalgiris’s comebacks in its tracks. Muhammed finished with 25 points, just 1 point short of the best of his 126-game EuroLeague career, while his PIR of 32 sets a new personal high.

Deadly shooting from Fenerbahce

Partly thanks to Muhammed, the visiting team recorded magnificent shooting statistics, making 22-of-31 attempts from two-point range (71%) and 15-of-22 three-pointers (68.2%) including 6 out of 6 in the first quarter. The Turkish team also made 10-of-11 free throws (90.9%). The 15 three-pointers is a new club record in the playoffs.

Sloukas helps set assists record

Another club record was set by Fenerbahce’s ability to share the ball, registering 7 assists in its first quarter burst on the way to a new club playoffs high of 24. Kostas Sloukas led the way with 10 and Jan Vesely dished 6. Sloukas also had a new career high with 4 steals.

Milestones for Green

Fenerbahce guard Erick Green recorded a couple of personal milestones, making his 100th EuroLeague appearance and scoring his 1000th point in the competition with a three-pointer seconds after entering the action.

Ali Muhammed - Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul - EB18
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Euroleague.net
Referees: BOLTAUZER, MATEJ; LATISEVS, OLEGS; KOROMILAS, ELIAS
Attendance: 15177 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas16252021
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul30192327
End of Quarter1234
Zalgiris Kaunas16416182
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul30497299
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 31:02 25 9/12   7/9 2 5 7 3         3 8 35
2 THOMPSON, DEON 8:58 2 1/1     1   1   1       1   3
3 WOLTERS, NATE 27:01 18 5/6 2/3 2/2   2 2 4 2 3     1 4 24
7 WALKUP, THOMAS 14:05 6 1/3 0/1 4/5   1 1 2   2   1 2 3 3
9 WESTERMANN, LEO 24:31 5 1/2 1/3         6 2 3     4 2 5
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 MILAKNIS, ARTURAS 21:36 6   2/5                       3
30 WHITE, AARON 25:00 7 2/4 1/2   1 4 5 1   1   1 3 1 6
31 JOKUBAITIS, ROKAS 1:11 2 1/1               1         1
40 GRIGONIS, MARIUS 24:39 7 2/2 1/5         1   2       2 4
44 KAVALIAUSKAS, ANTANAS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
92 ULANOVAS, EDGARAS 21:57 4 1/4   2/2 4   4 1   1   1 1 2 5
Team             1 1     1          
Totals 200:00 82 23/35 7/19 15/18 8 13 21 18 5 14 0 3 15 22 89
        65.7% 36.8% 83.3%
Head coach: JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 GREEN, ERICK 12:41 11 4/4 1/2         1 2         1 14
4 MELLI, NICOLO 29:35 6 3/3 0/1     1 1 1   1     4 1 3
5 HERSEK, BARIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 MAHMUTOGLU, MELIH 10:56 6   1/2 3/3   1 1             3 9
13 BIBEROVIC, TARIK DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 28:46 15 3/6 2/4 3/3 1 4 5 10 4 3     2 2 26
23 GUDURIC, MARKO 29:51 11 1/1 3/5     4 4   2 2     2 2 13
24 VESELY, JAN 25:34 12 5/8   2/3   2 2 6     3   3 2 18
32 GULER, SINAN 8:32               1 1       1   1
35 MUHAMMED, ALI 24:00 25 4/5 5/5 2/2   1 1 4 3 1     2 3 32
44 DUVERIOGLU, AHMET 8:33 4 2/2     1   1     1     5 1  
70 DATOME, LUIGI 21:32 9 0/2 3/3     1 1 1   2     3   4
Team             3 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 99 22/31 15/22 10/11 2 17 19 24 12 11 3 0 22 15 122
        71% 68.2% 90.9%
Head coach: OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO

Head Coaches

JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS
Zalgiris Kaunas
"Congratulations to Fenerbahce, a better team in this series, a team with more experience in this series. I thought we missed our chance to make things more interesting in Game 3. Today was, defensively, one of our worst performances, and we paid the price."
OBRADOVIC, ZELJKO
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"I really want to congratulate Zalgiris for another excellent EuroLeague season, especially to my great friend Sarunas [Jasikevicius]. Great job. They must be proud and I believe the people and fans of Zalgiris understand very well how good they played this season, and because of that they had this ovation after the game finished. I want to congratulate my players. they work very hard to come into this position and go to one more Final Four. Even though we have problems inside the team, some injured players, not just today but the entire season, if you are a good team you need to react and find solutions. I am very proud of the contribution of all the players. It is great to be in another Final Four. I want to thank the fans of Fenerbahce, wherever we go we have our people in the stands, and that is something special for us. The game today was absolutely different from the game two days ago. Both teams shot the ball much better. We had high shooting percentages, like we did the entire season, but maybe not as high as tonight. We shot 70% for two, and almost 70% for three. We understood the game much much better, how to play offensively tonight. We started the game in an excellent way and kept it almost the entire game. We had much better spacing offensively, we moved the ball, and because of this I believe we deserved to win the game. What I would like before the Final Four is to have healthy players, and to have a chance to work with everyone healthy for at least one week. Making the Final Four is special because Fenerbahce was never in the Final Four earlier. I am very happy because we have a group of players that stayed together for a lot of years, and this means we continue to work seriously and that somehow we are hungry. Without this, it would be impossible. Congratulations to them. They understand, they found a way, and they have motivation. Nothing in life is possible without motivation, especially in sports. We need to continue that way."

Players

MUHAMMED, ALI
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
“It was a tough game. Zalgiris is a really good team and it was a great atmosphere. First half we got a rhythm offensively and it continued in the second half. We let them score a little bit but we were able to maintain the lead by scoring with them. It is hard to beat us when we are scoring like that, but our defense was not where it should be tonight. We are just happy we won and that we are advancing."
SLOUKAS, KOSTAS
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"The series was 2-1, but we knew that Zalgiris with these incredible fans always has energy and plays aggressive. We started game really good, we scored some shots, after we had problems in previous games against their defense. We controlled the rhythm most of the time, that was very important. I am proud of the team and the whole Fenerbahce family which will be participating in one more Final Four. We work all year for this. I know where my teammates will be, in the right area, and that is teamwork. It is because every day we work hard, and we deserve to be among the best four teams in Europe."
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