Two Turkish Airlines EuroLeague playoff series’ came to a close on Thursday as Zalgiris Kaunas and Fenerbahce Istanbul became the first two clubs in the Final Four, to be held in Belgrade. Both teams took their series 3-1, with Zalgiris high-scoring toppling Olympiacos at home, while Fenerbahce proved too strong for Baskonia on the road.
Zalgiris Kaunas 101-91 Olympiacos Piraeus (3-1)
Zalgiris Kaunas swept into the semifinals of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with an immense home performance to take down Olympiacos 3-1. The Lithuanian champ, already having its best season this century, made the Final Four for the first time in 18 years. From a dark horse run in the regular season, Zalgiris is now a bona fide contender for the title. Perhaps the club will be the underdog at the Final Four in Belgrade, but that will suit the team. In this game, a 28-15 second quarter allowed the hosts a 51-37 halftime lead. Olympiacos was playing catch up from there, but Zalgiris simple kept the blistering pace up during the second half. The Greek visitors drained 35 points in the second half to at least make it interesting, but it did not happen in the end.
Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz vs Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul (1-2)
Fenerbahce’s bid to become the tenth club to retain the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague remains on track after the reigning champs eased to a series winning road win over Baskonia. This commanding performance showed how dangerous Fener can be as Baskonia is no slouch at home. Fenerbahce will now take its place in the Final Four, where it has finished runner-up and champion in the last two years. The visitors were consistent at both ends of the floor to build a 32-48 first half lead. In the second half, both teams had periods of dominance, which was ideal for Fenerbahce as it rode to victory down the straight.