Constantinopening night

I admit here that I wasn’t even awake for the Thunder/Fenerbahçe game in Istanbul, which started at 8 am Central, and which ended with OKC winning 95-82. I had, however, dug up some backstory on this team of Turks, the most surprising factoid being that this team has been around since 1913. This was their second meeting with an NBA team; they beat the Celtics 97-91 on this date last year.

What I didn’t do was go through the rosters. I knew that Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha had played for Fenerbahçe during the 2011 NBA lockout; I did not know that Linas Kleiza, amnestied by the Toronto Raptors, had come to Turkey. (Kleiza had Euroleague experience: he’d played two seasons for Olympiacos before signing with Toronto. I still think of him as a Nugget.) Kleiza, whom I’d most often seen as a small forward, started at the two for Fenerbahçe, scoring nine points in 26 minutes.

There wasn’t much unusual to see in the box score, really: there was Kevin Durant leading all scorers with 24, Serge Ibaka blocking four shots, and — wait a minute. Jeremy Lamb playing more time (31:23) than anyone else on either team? And speaking of minutes, Reggie Jackson started at the one (22:45, nine points), Derek Fisher backed him up (19:08, eight points). So for the moment, Diante Garrett must be, sort of, the last-string point guard. (He scored two in those six remaining minutes.)

And for the record, while the team’s full name is Fenerbahçe Ülker, “Ülker” is there for sponsorship reasons, and the team plays in Ülker Sports Arena, which is operated by AEG, an Anschutz Corporation subsidiary. (As is, incidentally, the Oklahoma Publishing Company.) The arena holds, says Wikipedia, 13,800; the box score reported attendance to be 12,191. Considering it was an afternoon game — which renders my title completely null and void — I suppose that’s not so bad.





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