Credit: D.Repečka/BasketNews
Credit D.Repečka/BasketNews

This game against Monaco was one of those games that Fenerbahce needed to win in front of their fans. They did it in style.

Marko Guduric

Marko  Guduric
Team: Fenerbahce Istanbul
Position: SG, SF
Age: 26
Height: 196 cm
Weight: 91 kg
Birth place: Serbia

Regarding the basketball level on the court, we are still far away from the way that Fenerbahce supporters would like to see from their teams, but at least Fenerbahce players kept those dunks coming. The four-game loss series is finally over. Head coach Sasha Djordjevic is hopeful to make a new beginning to the season.

"Good team win," Djordjevic started his press conference. "We behaved like a unit until the end. Six players went to double digits. Some of the players are even got into history."

Djordjevic talked about Nando De Colo, who was not particularly well the whole night but accompanied his teammates when Fenerbahce was lifting their tempo and intensity late in the 4th quarter.

He finished the game with 15 points and 4 assists and got into the all-time efficiency index leadership lead in the EuroLeague, leaving Vassilis Spanoulis behind.

Pierria Henry was among the game changers with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals. But apart from those, he also had 3/3 from 3 point range, which put him 51% for his last 10 games in all competitions.

That is extraordinary because he never went beyond 40% from 3 FG in his entire career.

"I'm just letting the game to me," Henry said. "My teammates are finding me when I'm open. My coach is working with me before and after the practice. I'm trusting and believing my mechanics. I believe I'm a true shooter." 

Marko Guduric also had a great game with 18 points and 4 assists with 4/6 3 FG shooting. That was his best figure in all competitions this season. It seems like the devastating effects of his injury are finally fading out. 

"It's all about time. This summer, I didn't run for two months," Guduric admitted. "So I had to solve this problem. It's taking some time to come back, but I feel like now my legs are coming back slowly. I think from this point, it should just go up and be better and better."

On the other hand, Jan Vesely was once again doing what he likes to do: being the unsung hero. He scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and provided 5 assists, despite his illness. 

"Not many people know this, but Jan Vesely had three days of flu, and he didn't have a chance to join the training," Djordjevic praised his effort. "So it was really a big game for him. He was very focused on both sides of the floor. He was exceptional, absolutely our main guy."

Once again, Fenerbahce had many difficulties turning the game into its own way. Mike James finished the first half with a trademark three-pointer and 19 points and looked adamant to bring this game to Monaco.

Starting with the 3rd quarter, Fenerbahce rallied well to open a 10 point deficit, but Monaco came back to get back in the front seat at the end of the 30-minute mark. 

It felt like the ghost of earlier disappointments where Fenerbahce could not keep their lead, most recently in the Efes game, was haunting the players. But this time, Fenerbahce did not let another setback. 

"We kept our composure. This happened before," Guduric said. "It's basketball, there is not a bad team. Everybody can play and score. They have the best scorer in Euroleague history, Mike James, so you have to be focused. We were there, we were focused. We just need to limit our turnovers, work on that."

"It was hard to explain about those turnovers," Djordjevic added.

"But defensively, we were focused even when we saw that Mike James had an unbelievable first half. In the end, he tried to get back with his unique legs, we knew it, but we all managed to play and get the win," the Serbian head coach continued.

For Henry, those bad experiences from the previous games, push Fenerbahce to improve and become more mature.

"We've been tested, we've been in this situation before. We need every learning lesson. We're going to fight against adversity. It needs a character to do that. All those things made us come closer together in the locker room. 

Those games made us stronger, brought us together. It's a test.  We are going to keep this momentum going. We continue to believe in. The main goal is the championship at the end of the year," Henry said.

The game-saving five was made of De Colo-Henry-Pierre-Booker-Polonara. This combination carried Fenerbahce from 69-66 with 7:06 left to 83-71 to 4:03 left up until the end, created 20 points in 16 possessions, and produced 6 assists.

After this impactful takeover, Monaco could not engineer new more recoveries. Does Djordjevic think about giving a lift to the minutes of these five? 

"We are not playing these games like 5 to 0. We need to consider the opponents' players, and we need to read the game. These are very detailed things, and that's something that's not in my mind now," Djordjevic explained. 

"But we played against a team that has aggressive guards, and they were putting pressure on us. We needed another guard to make the ball movement. We need to keep working and keep processing as a unit; unit with a big U," he concluded.


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