Anadolu Efes ends Madrid’s unbeaten run
Anadolu Efes claimed a big scalp to round off the first half of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16, handing Real Madrid its first defeat of the competition’s second stage. The 74-72 win extends Efes’s own unbeaten streak to six games and moved it into a tie with Madrid for first place in the group. Efes tried to pull away, but was repeatedly pegged back by Real Madrid’s persistent players until the game came down to one shot. Jaycee Carroll missed a clutch three-pointer and Efes took the victory. Jamon Lucas led Efes with 16 points and 5 assists. Dusko Savanovic helped out with 13 points and 8 rebounds and Jordan Farmar netted 10 points. For Madrid, Rudy Fernandez amassed 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Felipe Reyes and Carroll each scored 11 and Mirza Begic and Sergio Rodriguez both had 10.
First quarter: Efes offense cancels out Fernandez baskets
The opening two minutes were all about matching shots, as Begic had his layup in the paint matched by an inside effort from Efes’ Semih Erden. Likewise, Savanovic’s three-pointer was swiftly cancelled out by Fernandez. Erden and Josh Shipp finally got a lead going for the home side, and Lucas provided a morale-boosting dunk along the way as Efes moved 14-7 up. Backdoor passes to Erden for Efes, and in to Marcus Slaughter and Carlos Suarez for Madrid, showed that both teams had the kind of mobile offense that would guarantee points. Fernandez became the first player to put in double digits, racking up 10 by the end of the quarter. Despite that, Efes held a 23-19 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Hosts’ lockdown defense helps inflate the lead
Early unanswered points for Efes extended its lead to 8 points, as both teams had trouble scoring inside. Efes’s surdy defense forced Madrid to miss its first 9 shots in the quarter and the pressure piled on the visitors after Sasha Vujacic’s roof-raising triple made it 32-19. It would be halfway through the quarter before Madrid would score, from a pair of Felipe Reyes free throws. Down 14 points, Madrid had to get its three-point game going, starting with Sergio Rodriguez hitting his first two shots from beyond the arc. Last week’s hero, Carroll opened his account with a three-pointer from the corner, and Madrid was 43-36 down going into the last 30 seconds of the half. Efes was in danger of losing a comfortable advantage, but Savanovic stepped up for a basket of his own from downtown, restoring the double-digit lead at 46-36 going into halftime.
Third quarter: Madrid rallies from 13 points behind to within 3
Lucas opened the second half with a three-pointer for Efes, while Madrid responded with Rudy’s persistent play as he almost single-handedly cut the gap to single digits again. With Efes making things difficult for the road team in the paint, Madrid turned to Carroll to do what he does best. The sharpshooter brought the difference to 8 points with his quick release from beyond the perimeter. After Begic free throws and a layup from the Madrid center later, suddenly the game was 55-52. Farmar brought it back to a 5-point game for Efes on the final play of the quarter, setting up an exciting finale.
Fourth quarter: A single shot decides the outcome
That gap was reduced to just a single point after Sergio Rodriguez’s high post jumper, then Madrid got into the lead for the first time since the opening minutes with a Reyes putback. The influential Lucas returned the advantage to Efes –first with a basket, then with a bullet pass assist for a Stanko Barac dunk, followed by a triple of his own just past the halfway mark in the quarter. Lucas’s assist on a fast break for Savanovic had Efes up 71-64, but again Madrid fought back to within a possession. Reyes and Nikola Mirotic worked their magic to tighten the game up. Farmar was able to block one three-point attempt, but nobody could stop Mirotic from sinking a smooth triple with 12 seconds left on the clock. At 73-72 and with Efes in possession, anything could happen. Savanovic hit a free throw and Madrid looked to Carroll for the last shot, but an uncharacteristic miss meant Efes held on.
Thursday, February 14, 2013