Euroleague Playoffs 2015When you are the champions, you find that thing become a little bit tougher. There is a bigger weight of expectation on you and teams find an extra level of resolve to take you on. There is a great deal of kudos in being able to say that you defeated the champions, and this often leads to teams and players finding a higher level of performance and determination that they didn’t know existed. Of course, when you are a champion, you can’t afford to give up without a fight and we will soon see what sort of champion Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv really is.

This is because Fenerbahce have moved into a 2-0 lead in the best of five series. The action is now going to move to Israel next week but the Turkish team knows that if they can win on their travels on Monday, this contest is over and a place in the Final Four will be theirs to look forward to. There is still a great deal of work to get through before this comes to fruition but Fenerbahce have done tremendously well to place themselves into this sort of position.

The first game was a difficult match but the home side took control in this one

Euroleague - Fenerbahce UlkerThe home team knows that even though they won against Maccabi a few days ago, it wasn’t an easy win, and it took them a while to get going. They had clearly learned from that game though because the home team came racing out of the blocks in a determined manner. Andrew Goudelock managed to pick up 17 points in the first of the game, and he wasn’t the only player who was working hard to get the game wrapped up as early as possible. The home side had raced into a 9-2 lead and before the end of the first quarter they had managed to extend the lead into a 27-11 score line. At half-time, the home team was 50-34 ahead and in the third quarter, they extended their lead to a 20 point lead. This was the cue for Maccabi to turn things around, and they reduced the deficit to 12 points but there was no way that Fenerbahce was going to let them get any closer.

Goudelock was a star man

Goudelock grabbed 19 points in total while Semih Erden enjoyed a perfect shooting run which saw him grab 12 points. Bojan Bogdanovic picked up 11 points and Nemanja Bjelica nearly grabbed the playoff record for rebounds. He offered up 15 rebounds and 9 points on an evening when the home team out-rebounded the champions by a score of 43-29. Jeremy Pargo was in good form for the visiting side with 16 points while Brian Randle was able to provided 13 points, Nate Linhart offered 12 points and Sylven Landesberg offered up 11 points in the loss.

Taking the tie back to Tel Aviv will give Maccabi an improved chance of staying in the contest and if they can win, they will have a chance to level the tie with another home game in the same week. You can never rule out the champions but at this point in time, Fenerbahce are looking good to make it through to the Final Four.