Anadolu Efes storms back from 18-point deficit for big road win
Anadolu Efes stormed back from a 48-30 halftime deficit to stun Caja Laboral with a 64-76 win at Vitoria’s Fernando Buesa Arena. The visitors limited Laboral to 7 third-quarter points and just 9 in the fourth while finding their own offensive rhythm to claim the vital road win. Efes improved to 3-1 and sits in second place in Group C with a chance to move into first when it hosts undefeated Zalgiris Kaunas next week. Jordan Farmar led the Efes attack with 18 points, while Kerem Gonlum added 10 in 12 minutes. The Efes offense was simply more efficient with 18 assists to Laboral’s 10 and better shooting percentages all around. Carlos Cabezas paced Laboral with 12 points, Andres Nocioni, who played despite suffering a neck injury last week, added 11 points, Brad Oleson netted 10 and Nemanja Bjelica chipped in with 8 points and 12 rebounds. Laboral fell to 1-3 overall and 0-2 at home with the loss.
First quarter: Hosts take big early lead, Efes fights back
Oleson opened fire with a three and Heurtel followed with a couple of free throws, as the visitors remained scoreless in the early going. It was Semih Erdem, with a monster one-handed dunk off a pick-and-roll, who ended the drought for the visitors, setting a 5-2 score after the first three minutes. Oleson answered pretty early with another jumper, while Nemanja Bjelica tapped in a miss by Lampe to make it 9-2. Farmar showed his skills nailing a well-guarded three, but Maciej Lampe replied with another bomb in the next possession. Farmar kept rocking and scored in penetration, but he found no help from his teammates as Caja Laboral increased the margin to 17-7 thanks to a three pointer and a pair of free throws made by Tibor Pleiss with three minutes to go. Efes didn’t panic though, as Farmar added two more points and Dusko Savanovic showed up at the low post to avoid an early crisis. Farmar, who else, made another bucket to cap a 0-6 run, but Nocioni hit twice from the line to prevent the visitors from completing the comeback. The game had to stop for a few minutes because of a problem with the shot clock with 54 seconds remaining in the quarter, and when it restarted Mahmuti switched to a zone defense that forced consecutive missed shots from Caja Laboral backcourt. Two free throws by Erden closed the first quarter with the hosts leading 19-15.
Second quarter: Cabezas, Oleson lead charge for comfortable halftime margin
Nocioni took advantage of his size to score in the low post against Josh Shipp, but Sasha Vujacic replied with a fast break dunk to keep Efes afloat. Nocioni and Gonlum exchanged baskets on the next possessions, as the pace of the game started to slow down. The score remained 23-19 until Gonlum hit once from the line to make it a 3-point game with six-and-a-half minutes to go in the half. The hosts were unable to find the key to break Efes’s zone defense , missed consecutive long-distance shots and turned the ball over. But Efes wasn’t so effective on offense and allowed a 3-on-1 fastbreak capped by a Nocioni layup that made it 25-20 right before the TV timeout. The visitors tried to exploit their size advantage size inside, but Gonlum and Erden only scored a half of their free throws as Oleson and Bjelica kept Caja Laboral ahead 29-22 midway through the second quarter. Even with Farmar again on court, Efes was unable to find its momentum, while Laboral got back-to-back threes from Causeur to reach a double-digit lead, 34-23. Mahmuti called an urgent timeout, but it proved useless as Nocioni made the gap even deeper, 39-25, with a three entering the last two minutes. Savanovic came to the rescue with 5 points in a row, but the reaction didn’t take place as Cabezas and Oleson took over on offense on the other end. Things got even worse for the visitors, as Batista committed an offensive foul followed by a technical foul called on Efes’s bench that granted 4 points in a row to Caja Laboral to finish the first half with a comfortable 48-30 lead.
Third quarter: Efes uses 0-12 run to storm back
Farmar hit a jumper right after the intermission, but it was the only basket from either team for the first two minutes of the quarter, so the differences remained in the early going. Erden found the basket inside twice to make it 48-36, as Laboral seemed to have lost its offensive effectiveness, forcing Coach Dusko Ivanovic to replace players too early. Nemanja Bjelica showed up for the first 2 points of the hosts, but Erden dunked the ball again to keep Efes in the right mood. A three pointer from Cabezas was quickly responded by an inside basket by former Laboral center Esteban Batista for a 53-40 hosts lead. Lucas banked a shot to reduce the deficit even more and Guler hit 2 free throws followed by back-to-back threes by Farmar and Shipp to cap a 0-12 run that got Efes into the game, 53-50 with 90 seconds to go in the quarter. Laboral called for an urgent timeout to try to recover its offensive momentum. It worked, as Lampe hit an open jumper that allowed the hosts keep breathing. Lucas answered later with a bank shot to close the quarter with the guests trailing 55-52.
Fourth quarter: Batista’s slams in 0-11 march pave Efes’s way
Shipp made it a 1-point game right after the break and Batista capped a fastbreak with a basket-plus-foul play for the first visitors’ lead of the game, 55-57. Laboral was completely shocked, unable to find open shots against the great defense set by the visiting team. Batista made the hole even deeper with a monster two-handed dunk, while the hosts kept turning the ball over. Vujacic hit a jumper off the screen for a 6-point lead, which caused Ivanovic to stop the game. Nothing seemed to work for Laboral though, as Lampe and Oleson missed three pointers after the timeout. Batista scored inside for a 55-63 Efes lead before Nemanja Belica came to the rescue with a monster dunk off an offensive rebound to end a 0-11 Efes run and bring the crowd to its feet. Gonlum put the game on ice with a corner jumper. Even though Bjelica gave a boost to Laboral, the visitors found no trouble to add easy points on offense through Gonlum and Farmar to make it 59-69 with three minutes to go. Even though the guests remained scoreless for a while, Laboral’s offensive blindness prevented it from thinking of a comeback. Cabezas made a three-point play to reduce the gap to 62-69 with less than two minutes to go, Shipp added one more for Efes, and San Emeterio hit twice form the line to make it 64-70 with 90 seconds to play, but it was the last attempt by the hosts as Tunceri scored a short jumper to confirm the win. Gonlum and Farmar followed him with consecutive baskets to cap an amazing second-half comeback and seal its second road win.
Thursday, November 1, 2012