Efes rallies past ALBA, 84-76
Anadolu Efes Istanbul came back from double-digit deficits at home to defeat ALBA Berlin 84-76 on Tuesday in the first of two games this week for both teams. The victory lifted Efes to 10-9 while ALBA dropped to 7-12 with its fifth loss in six games. ALBA held Efes to only a three-pointer in the game's first 5 minutes then used an 18-26 second quarter to lead 36-44 at the half. However, Efes did even better with a 26-9 third quarter, including a 9-0 finishing run, to take control of the scoreboard the rest of the way. Vasilije Micic, Adrien Moerman and Shane Larkin paced Efes with 15 points each. Following them were Rodrigue Beaubois with 11 and James Anderson with 10. ALBA got 17 points from Jayson Granger, 14 from Ben Lammers and 11 from Maodo Lo, but no other visitors reached double digits.
A layup by Granger and a triple by Simone Fontecchio gave ALBA a 0-5 advantage. Larkin got Efes started from deep, but Johannes Thiemann and Lammers soon made it 3-10. Larkin and Moermann drilled triples as Efes took the lead, 11-10. Peyton Siva's first basket of 2021 was answered from the arc by Beaubois. Baskets by Lo and Lammers were offset by Moermann and Bryant Dunston for an 18-18 tie after 10 minutes. Lo stole and hit a triple before Louis Olinde tipped in a miss at 18-23 early in the second. Micic and Dogus Balbay rescued Efes with the next 6 points for a lead change at 24-23. Granger converted a steal, drilled a triple and swished a jumper as ALBA reclaimed a 24-32 advantage. Larkin responded from deep, but Granger matched him and popped a jumper, so that when Fontecchio scored inside, ALBA had a double-digit lead, 29-39. Malte Delow hit from the corner for ALBA and Lo drove for a layup before Beaubois scored twice for a 36-44 halftime score.
Moerman's back-to-back triples opened the third quarter with Efes surging within 42-44. Thiemann answered from deep, but Larkin and Micic both fed Dunston, who put Efes back in front, 51-49. Lammers scored twice around a tip-in from Anderson before Micic drilled a pair of triples at 59-53. A technical free throw from Beaubois and baseline jumper by Chris Singleton left Efes leading 62-53 after 30 minutes. Moerman had a pair of baskets early in the final quarter but Olinde and Siva scored 3 points each to make it 66-59. Another jumper by Singleton and a triple by Beaubois gave Efes a 71-59 lead. Singleton tacked on a triple that Lammers matched with 3 points the hard way. Granger reemerged with a corner triple at 74-64, but Micic and Dunston kept Efes rolling all the way to a double-digit victory at the finish.
Adrien Moerman showed again why he was a key part of Efes's run to the championship game in 2019. He came off the bench for 15 points and 8 rebounds for a team-high PIR of 19. His 2 triples right after halftime started Efes's comeback from as many as 12 points behind late in the second quarter, and his pair of two-pointers early in the fourth quarter kept ALBA at bay.
Efes worked after halftime to erase a 36-44 deficit and was tied 53-53 with 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Vasilije Micic hit a three-pointer for the lead and another entering the final minute before a technical free throw by Rodrigue Beaubois and a baseline jumper by Chris Singleton meant a 9-0 finish to a quarter that Efes won 26-9 for a 62-53 lead that was never truly threatened thereafter.
Dominance by Efes
A season after needing overtime to win at home 106-105 against ALBA, Efes dominated the second half to run its record in their series this century to 11-1, including the last six victories. ALBA has never beaten Efes in Istanbul and its only victory in the series dates to 2004. Efes, meanwhile, raised its unbalanced home record to 4-6.
An ALBA roster depleted by injury got a career-high rebounding night by Johannes Thiemann, who pulled 8 boards. That was one better than his previous best, which he had also pulled against Efes back in Round 3.
Both teams come back in 48 hours for Round 20 showdowns. Efes stays home to play last-placed Khimki Moscow Region on Thursday, the same night that ALBA hosts AX Armani Exchange Milan in Berlin.
Tuesday, January 12, 2021