Efes's defense suffocates Olympiacos
Anadolu Efes Istanbul confirmed its positive momentum by defeating Olympiacos Piraeus 76-53 at Sinan Erdem Sports Hall on Thursday. Efes, which has won six of its last seven games, improved to 14-10 in the standings. Olympiacos dropped to 11-14 and is now on a five-game losing streak. Shane Larkin led the winners with 21 points and 5 assists, Bryant Dunston added 15 points and Rodrigue Beaubois had 11 for Efes. Giannoulis Larentzakis scored 10 points and dished 8 assists for the visitors, who led 11-26 after 10 minutes. Larkin and Beaubois stepped up for Efes, leading a 24-2 run that gave their team a 43-34 margin at halftime. The hosts boosted their margin to 58-43 after three quarters and cruised the rest of the way.
Shaquielle McKissic got Olympiacos going with a fastbreak layup that Vasilije Micic bettered with a three-pointer. Larentzakis followed a layup with a triple. He got help from Sasha Vezenkov and Octavius Ellis to give Olympiacos a 5-12 lead. Dunston and Adrien Moerman stepped up for Efes, but McKissic and Hassan Martin boosted the Reds' lead to 9-18. Larentzakis and Kostas Sloukas each struck from downtown and Martin added a layup to make it 11-26, after 10 minutes. Beaubois followed a jumper with a floater early in the second quarter. Dunston added an alley-oop layup for a 17-28 Efes deficit. Larkin rescued Efes with a triple, a driving layup and a wild four-point play, bringing his team within 26-28. Larentzakis buried an off-balance jumper, but Larkin and James Anderson completed the hosts' comeback, 32-30. Beaubois took over with an alley-oop slam and a corner three-pointer that capped a 24-2 run. Dunston and Anderson each scored around the basket, but Charles Jenkins and Vezenkov kept Olympiacos within 43-34 at halftime.
Larkin and Beaubois kept pushing Efes after the break and Dunston's off-balance three-point play gave the hosts a 50-37 margin. Micic and Larkin each struck from beyond the arc to break the game open, 56-38. Jenkins hit a jumper and Vassilis Spanoulis added a triple to bring Olympiacos a bit closer, 58-43, after 30 minutes. Krunoslav Simon joined the three-point shootout early in the fourth quarter and Dunston scored down low to make it a 20-point game. Livio Jean-Charles tried to change things with a corner triple but didn't find much help. Larkin and Moerman helped Efes seal the outcome, 69-47, midway through the fourth quarter.
It took Shane Larkin some time to find his rhythm, but once he did, he was unstoppable. Larkin finished the game with 21 points on 4-of-8 three-point shooting plus 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 7 fouls drawn for a PIR of 32.
Olympiacos led 13-28 early in the fourth quarter, but Efes found its regular go-to guy to dynamite the game. Shane Larkin had 9 unanswered points in a mammoth 24-2 run highlighted by Rodrigue Beaubois's alley-oop slam. All of a sudden, Efes led 37-30 and was well on its way to dominating the game.
Olympiacos made 7 of 11 two-pointers (63.6%) and 4 of 6 shots from downtown (66.7%) in the first quarter, outrebounding Efes 5-11 and committing just 2 turnovers. In the final 30 minutes, however, the Reds made just 8 of 19 two-pointers (42.1%), 2 of 13 three-pointers (15.4%), were outrebounded 30-16 and had 20 turnovers.
Did you know?
Efes won its fifth consecutive game against Olympiacos. The Reds' last time against Efes, 88-81, came on December 13, 2018. Olympiacos, however, has a 24-22 head-to-head record against the Turkish powerhouse. Both teams are now 21-21 since the turn of the millennium.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Olympiacos hosts CSKA Moscow on Thursday, February 25 in a rematch of the 2012 EuroLeague championship game. A day later, Efes visits cross-town rivals Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Thursday, February 18, 2021