The Euroleague Basketball World Tour 2015 came to a close over the weekend with Fenerbahce being downed by the Oklahoma City Thunder in America. The final score was 111-81 to the home team, with the Turkish side being left disappointed at the end of a clash where they offered quite a lot. Coming on the back of a victory against the Brooklyn Nets on the same tour, there were hopes that Fenerbahce would be able to do the double in the United States of America but their strong NBA opponents were able to take the upper hand in the game.
Dion Waiters was the main man on the evening with a total of 19 points while well-known names Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant got themselves on the score-sheet, providing 16 points and 13 points for Oklahoma City. With three other players reaching double figures for the NBA side, it was a good work-out for the home team who have a bit more preparation time on their side than their Euroleague opponents.
Jan Vesely remains a big game player
It will be no surprise to regular Euroleague fans to note that Jan Vesely was the key performer for the guests in this game. He offered up 17 points while Bobby Dixon managed to provide a total of 13 points for the visitors. Nikola Kalinic and Kostas Sloukas both provided 10 points in the game. Kalinic got off to a flying start and when Vesely scored to put the guests 18-19 ahead, there were genuine hopes for an away win but this only fired the NBA side onwards. Enes Kanter and Anthony Morrow took this as their cue to get their involved and a 14-2 scoring run engineered the Thunder into a healthy 32-21 lead at the end of the opening 10 minutes. The NBA side never looked like relinquishing this lead and they showcased the gulf in class between themselves and their European opponents.
A further impressive scoring run, a 17-0 stretch in the third quarter, moving the score to 89-57 sealed the game, although both teams pushed on to the end of the match. The US trip was certainly a worthwhile endeavour for the Turkish side, picking up plenty of big game experience and having the chance to play in front of excited crowds in the United States.
Fenerbahce are at home on Friday night
Fenerbahce get their Euroleague 2015/16 campaign underway with a home game on Friday night when they welcome the formidable name of Bayern Munich to Turkey. Bayern are the German entry into the Euroleague this season, replacing ALBA Berlin, who performed strongly in the last campaign. This means that the Munich side has a lot to live up to and it may be that this is the ideal game for Fenerbahce to start their season with.
While the Turkish side were playing in America for plenty of their own reasons, they also appeared as ambassadors for the Euroleague, spreading news about the league across the world. It is clear that the Euroleague organisers are keen to develop relationships with the NBA, as opposed to standing as a competitor to it, and it is likely that you will see many more collaborations in the future. For now though, the friendlies and challenge matches as this is the week that the Euroleague returns for the 2015/16 season.