Third place match is usually a contest that tries to ease the pain for the participating teams in the semifinals. Some competitions have abandoned this game completely, but since Final Four holds a very special importance all the way to the end, Euroleague basketball still has this game. In 2014/2015 season, defeated semi-finalists CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce will play for the third place, after both sides were defeated by Olympiacos and Real Madrid respectively.
CSKA went in for the Final Four as one of the favorites, but the challenge from an experienced squad by Greek champions Olympiacos was more than they could handle. Despite playing a very good game, CSKA is after its another third place finish, after they claiming the spot on three occasions in the last twelve years. Fenerbahce on the other hand hoped for a surprise against hosts and heavy favorites Real Madrid, but ended up losing the game and now has the chance to bring their first medal so far in the Euroleague. With the Madrid play-off being also their first ever Final four appearance, we are sure that Fenerbahce Ulker will go in the game without pressure and just highly motivated.
CSKA played against Fenerbahce a total of eleven times, with eight of those matches coming in the Euroleague competition. CSKA is considered to be more successful with seven wins, while Fenerbahce won five matches. Their last two games were very recent, as the duo was paired for the group stages of this year’s Euroleague. CSKA won the opening game after extra time, with the final scoreline being 81-84 for the Russian giants. Hines and Weems gave CSKA a total of 26 points, while Andrew Guedelock provided 19 points for Fenerbahce in the first game. In the return game, Fenerbahce won 75-81 and gained revenge for the defeat in the first round. De Colo was the best player for CSKA with 18 points while Fenerbahce’s Guedelock and Vesely added 14 for the victory.
CSKA Moscow can truly see this game as a consolation prize, since many already saw them battling Real Madrid for the golden medal. CSKA will have to settle for a fight for the third place, a game in which they are clear favorites. Teodosi?, De Colo and Kirilenko are class established players capable of delivering in crucial moments and we will most certainly see the best out of them for this game.
Fenerbahce on the other hand has somehow already established their goal, by qualifying for the Final Four. By playing CSKA, Fenerbahce have the chance to additionally improve their season and earn necessary experience, as we can firmly predict their more direct involvement in the next season. Bjelica, Bogdanovi? and co. have presented themselves as crucial players and if they remain in the team, Fenerbahce will be a team to be feared in the 2015/2016 season.
CSKA will probably win this game, but it will be a close tie for the first two quarters.
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