Simon, Larkin lead Efes past Fenerbahce
Anadolu Efes Istanbul sent a message that echoed all around the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by downing Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 73-81 at Ulker Sports Arena on Thursday. Efes improved to 11-2 to remain atop the standings and is now on a seven-game winning streak. Fenerbahce dropped to 5-8 and saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. Krunoslav Simon led the winners with 22 points. Shane Larkin added 20 - all in the second half - while Sertac Sanli had 15 for Efes. Derrick Williams paced Fenerbahce with 16 points. Nando De Colo added 13, Kostas Sloukas had 12 while Nikola Kalinic and Luigi Datome each got 10 for the hosts. The game was tied, 38-38, at halftime. Then Larkin, who had been held scoreless for 23 minutes, scored 10 quick points which helped the visitors make it a double-digit game, 49-59, after 30 minutes. Nothing changed after that moment, as Simon and Larkin made sure to lead Efes to a big road win.
Sloukas got Fenerbahce going with a jumper, but Chris Singleton matched that with a jump hook and Simon added a corner triple for a 2-5 Efes lead. The hosts got more players involved on offense, as Joffrey Lauvergne scored down low and Williams struck from downtown to restore a slim edge. Singleton had 5 points in a 0-7 run that gave Efes a 7-12 lead. De Colo and Williams rescued Fenerbahce, combining for all the points in a 9-0 run that gave his team a 16-12 edge. De Colo struck from beyond the arc, but Simon and Tibor Pleiss helped Efes regain the lead, 19-20. A three-pointer by Datome made it 22-20 after 10 minutes. Ahmet Duverioglu stepped up with a layup and De Colo added an over-the-backboard circus shot, but Sanli kept Efes in charge, 26-28. Kalinic swished a six-meter shot and Ali Muhammed scored off a steal to provide another lead change, 30-28. Mahmutoglu buried a triple, but Sanli and Alec Peters put Efes atop, 33-34. Kalinic sank a floater and Mahmutoglu bettered Sanli's layup with a three-pointer but Vasilije Micic banked in an off-balance shot that tied it again, 38-38, at halftime.
Simon and Williams traded three-pointers immediately after the break. Then Sanli dunked in traffic for a 41-43 Efes lead. Larkin took over with a layup-plus-foul - his first points - and bettered De Colo's jumper with a bomb from beyond the arc for a 43-50 Efes lead. Larkin stayed red hot to make it a double-digit game. Williams tried to change things with an alley-oop layup and De Colo added a jumper, but Sanli and Peters restored a 10-point Efes lead. Singleton and Datome traded layups to make it 49-59 after 30 minutes. Simon nailed one from beyond the arc early in the fourth quarter, but Williams and Sloukas gave Fenerbahce hope, 54-62, with over 8 minutes left. Sanli hit a jumper, igniting 0-6 run which Larkin capped with a driving layup to make it 54-68. Kalinic scored in the low post, but Simon banked in a one-handed jumper. Fenerbahce kept missing open shots and Larkin seemed to seal the outcome, 56-73, with 4 minutes left. Datome followed a jumper with a triple, however, and Sloukas struck twice from downtown to bring the hosts within 67-73 in the next-to-last minute. Simon silenced the crowd with a three-point play only to see Kalinic bring Fenerbahce even closer, 71-76, with 59.1 seconds to go. Larkin and Simon scored around the basket to sent Efes back home with a win.
Kruno Simon was at his best, doing a little bit of everything to make sure Efes captured an important win. He finished the game with 22 points on 5-of-7 two-point shooting, 3-of-5 from downtown and 3-of-3 from the free-throw line. He added 9 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 31.
Fenerbahce led 41-43 early in the third quarter and had managed to keep Shane Larkin scoreless until that moment. It didn't last long, as Larkin barely needed 3 minutes to hit an off-balance three-point play, a bomb from downtown and 4 more free throws to give Efes its first double-digit lead, 43-53. Fenerbahce never recovered and Efes managed its lead well in the fourth quarter.
Two-point shots made the difference in this game. Efes hit 23 of 34 shots inside the arc (67.6%). Fenerbahce took more attempts (25) but made fewer baskets (19), which led to a lower percentage (54.3%).
Did you notice?
Larkin became the first player this season to hit at least 10 free throws in two EuroLeague games. He downed 11 of 12 on this night and shot 14 for 14 against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on November 19. The other players who have scored 10 free throws or more are Kostas Sloukas (13), Nikola Mirotic (12) and Cory Higgins of FC Barcelona (10) and Mike James of CSKA Moscow (10).
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action on Tuesday, December 17. Fenerbahce visits Panathinaikos OPAP Athens in a special game for Coach Obradovic, who led the Greens to five of their six EuroLeague titles. Efes also plays on the road, facing Zalgiris Kaunas.
Thursday, December 12, 2019