By: Sam Meyerkopf / euro_adventures
If you enjoyed watching Real Madrid vs. Olimpia Milano last week (and I’m sure you did), then welcome to the second installment of ELA’s Must Watch game of the week. This week’s version: Fenerbahce Ulker vs. Sluc Nancy.
Nicolas Batum had one of the most stat heavy weeks Euroleague fans have ever seen (26 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists). Now he takes the French Cougars into Ulker’s Istanbul den, where Fenerbahce will be clawing every way they can to keep from falling to the dreaded 0-3 record.
If you’re questioning watching an 0-2 team in action, think again. Fenerbahce barely lost both of their games so far (by three points to 2-0 Caja Laboral and seven points to Olympiacos). Maybe the pressure and stakes were too high for this young squad when Freaknick cursed them with his Final Four prediction, but the problem lies more within team chemistry and production.
The late arrival of Thabo Sefolosha to the team and injuries to Mirsad Turkcan and Marko Tomas have given Fenerbahce an uncertain rotation so far. The offensive-minded wing duo of Emir Preldzic and Bojan Bogdanovic has been dreadful, and James Gist has been the only effective post player. With their backs against the wall and a home crowd behind them, it’s already put up or shut up time early in the season for this team. Gist and Sefolosha looked hungry last week and have been the leaders on the floor so far for the Turkish side.
On the Nancy side of the ball it’s all about Nic Batum. He’s leading the Euroleague in assists and was the Week Two MVP . Let me reiterate: at forward, Nicolas Batum is: leading the Euroleague in assists. What can’t he do?
You should tune into this game to see how a talented Fenerbahce team bounces back, but more importantly you’ll want to watch one of the best basketball players currently running the hardwood. There’s a thrill before every Batum game from here on in, as everyone asks themselves, will he get a triple-double tonight? It’s only happened a handful of times in Euroleague history, and I want to be there the next time it goes down. Batum has the best chance of anyone out there to get it done.
We’ve got a loud home crowd, players with chips on their shoulders, a Nancy team everyone counted out that could be leading the group at the end of the week and a man who’s a triple-double threat whenever he’s near a bouncing ball; what more could you ask for?