Efes escapes in Kaunas, continues win streak
Anadolu Efes Istanbul extended its winning streak to eight games with a hard-fought 68-74 road win at Zalgiris Kaunas on Tuesday night at the packed Zalgirio Arena. The victory improved Efes's record to 12-2 to remain in sole possession of first place in the standings, while Zalgiris lost its eighth consecutive game to drop to 3-11 and a share of last place. Tibor Pleiss and Vasilije Micic led the visitors with 18 points apiece; Pleiss also pulled down 7 rebounds. Rodrigue Beaubois netted 16 points for Efes. Jock Landale had 16 points for the hosts, Edgaras Ulanovas collected 14 points and 7 rebounds and Martinas Geben had 11 points in a losing effort.
Geben and Zach LeDay combined to score 10 points for the hosts, but Beaubois strung together 7 points, including a triple, before Pleiss and Krunoslav Simon kept Efes rolling, with Simon's corner triple helping open a 10-18 lead midway through the first quarter. Ulanovas hit from downtown for Zalgiris, but Pleiss and Beaubois scored two baskets each to keep Efes in front 17-26. Landale scored 8 points in the early going of the second quarter, including a pair of three-pointers, and Arturas Milaknis hit back-to-back triples to cap an 11-2 run and give the hosts a 35-34 lead. Micic and Alec Peters hit a triple apiece for Efes, but Zalgiris scored the final 6 points of the half, including Ulanovas from close range and Thomas Walkup from long range to make it 43-42 at halftime. A three-pointer from Beaubois was the only basket in almost 4 minutes to open the third quarter, before Pleiss and Sertac Sanli scored inside to make it 43-49. Zalgiris needed almost 6 minutes to score, but nailed two triples in the last 90 seconds of the quarter, one from Landale and one from Ulanovas, that made it 53-55 going into the fourth quarter. Micic strung together 7 points, including a fastbreak layup and a triple from way downtown, to open a 57-64 lead. Jumpers from Walkup and Milaknis got Zalgiris closer and Landale scored inside to make it 65-68. However, Micic took it to the rim and Shane Larkin made a tough runner in traffic to put 65-72 on the scoreboard with 1:24 left in the game as the visitors wrapped things up for another win.
After a hot start in the first 6 minutes, Efes did not have a good shooting night, including just 6-for-20 shooting (30%) from long range. But Efes pulled down 17 offensive boards and had many second chances to keep its offense going.
Best ever Efes
With this eighth consecutive win Efes reached its longest EuroLeague winning streak, surpassing runs of winning seven games Efes achieved twice in the past. Efes is also one win shy of matching its best-ever start, which was a 13-2 record in 2004-05 campaign.
The Chris Singleton effect
Chris Singleton played 34 minutes, second-most behind only Vasiilje Micic, and finished scoreless missing all of his 5 field goal attempts. Singleton, however, was one of the best players on the floor. He pulled down 10 rebounds, had 2 assists and had 4 steals, including a key takeaway entering the final minute of the contest to seal the outcome.
Both teams will be in action again on Friday in Round 15. Zalgiris will travel to visit Khimki Moscow Region. Efes will host CSKA Moscow in a rematch of last May's championship game.
Tuesday, December 17, 2019