Efes sets new record by holding off ALBA
Anadolu Efes Istanbul gained a commanding 86-99 victory at ALBA Berlin to maintain its three-game lead at the top of the standings and set a new competition record by winning its 12th consecutive road game. The Turkish champs raced to a double-digit lead in the first 10 minutes before ALBA fought back to make it 47-50 at halftime. A dominant third quarter sent Efes ahead by double digits again and there was no way back for the hosts this time. Vasilije Micic led his team with 23 points and 9 assists, while Adrien Moerman also contributed heavily with 19 points and 7 rebounds. Tibor Pleiss made 9 of 12 two-pointers in his total of 18 points, while Rodrigue Beaubois converted 3 of 4 triples in his 15. Krunoslav Simon added 11 points for the winning side. Martin Hermannsson paced ALBA with 19 points and 8 assists, while Rokas Giedraitis scored 17. Marcus Eriksson (14) and Niels Giffey (13) also scored in double figures for the hosts. Efes improved to 23-3, while ALBA dropped to 9-17.
A three-pointer by Chris Singleton and a three-point play by Micic gave Efes the early edge. Triples from Micic and James Anderson were equaled by Hermannsson as ALBA battled to stay in touch, but another three from Micic made it 14-21. A pair of baskets from Pleiss maintained the advantage and a pair of scores from Anderson was followed by a buzzer-beating alley-oop between Micic and Pleiss as the first quarter finished 21-32. Giedraitis started the second quarter with a steal and slam and consecutive inside scores from Kresimir Nikic forced Efes into a timeout as ALBA went on an 8-0 run, pulling it back to 29-32. Simon’s deep strike and a coast-to-coast score from Dogus Balbay restarted Efes, but triples from Niels Giffey and Giedraitis kept ALBA close. A mid-range strike from Micic kept the visitors ahead, but Eriksson’s three-point play and three-pointer made it 46-47. Moerman put up the half-century for Efes, making it 47-50 at the break.
Simon and Pleiss netted inside to open the second-half scoring, but a trio of Hermannsson baskets kept ALBA in touch. Beaubois’s three made it 54-63 before Giedraitis scored twice for the hosts. A pair of Moerman baskets maintained the Efes lead and Pleiss’s mid-range shot established a double-digit margin. Luke Sikma and Simon traded triples before Micic penetrated to score and Moerman added a triple to make it 65-79 after three quarters. Another deep strike from Beaubois kept Efes in charge early in the final frame and a tip-in from Pleiss stretched the lead to 73-86. Hermannsson’s fourth triple kept ALBA hoping, but Beaubois answered from the corner before fouling out. Pleiss and Nikic exchanged mid-range scores before Moerman scored again to make it 81-95 with 2 minutes left, effectively sealing the outcome.
Efes sets new competition record
The victory saw Efes set a new record in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague this century by recording its 12th consecutive road victory. The sequence, which started with a win at Olympiacos Piraeus in Round 7, eclipsed the previous best of 11 straight road triumphs achieved twice by CSKA Moscow, last year and in 2004-05.
Micic punishes ALBA again
Shane Larkin was again missing with an ankle sprain, but Vasilije Micic ensured his fellow backcourt star was not missed too much. Having won the MVP of the round award when the teams met in Round 2, Micic punished ALBA again by amassing a career-high PIR of 35 after combining 23 points (on 6-of-7 field goal shooting) and 9 assists – only spoiling his night by committing 9 turnovers.
Moerman back to his best
Another sparkling individual performance for Efes came from Adrien Moerman, who scored 11 points in the third quarter to give his team a commanding lead. The Frenchman finished with a season-high 19 points after making 9 of 11 field goals, setting another season-high with 7 rebounds to show he is back to his best after missing the first 15 games of the season through injury.
Defense keeps ALBA in touch
Trailing by double digits after the first quarter, ALBA roared back into contention with an 8-0 run at the start of the second sparked by defense: Rokas Giedraitis made 2 steals and forced another turnover, while Niels Giffey blocked a shot and Jonas Mattiseck made another steal during that brief passage of play, which made Efes truly uncomfortable.
Efes stays on the road to visit Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv in Round 27 next Wednesday, on the same night ALBA welcomes FC Barcelona.
Thursday, February 27, 2020