Efes rolls at Fernando Buesa Arena
Anadolu Efes Istanbul confirmed its good moment in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by topping KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz 92-102 at Fernando Buesa Arena on Friday. Efes, which had already locked fourth place in the standings, improved to 19-10. Baskonia, which would have qualified to the playoffs with a win, dropped to 15-14 but still ranks sixth. Tibor Pleiss and Adrien Moerman led the winners with 21 points apiece. Pleiss added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Shane Larkin had 19 points while Vasilije Micic dished 11 assists for Efes. Luca Vildoza led Baskonia with 23 points. Shavin Shields added 16, Johannes Voigtmann and Jalen Jones each had 13 while Darrun Hilliard got 12 for the hosts. Larkin and Moerman shined early before Vildoza and Shields took over, allowing Baskonia to get a five-point margin at half-time. Pleiss stepped up after the break, joining forces with Moerman and Micic to give Efes a 67-74 margin after 30 minutes. Efes boosted its margin to 78-91 midway through the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Three-pointers by Bugrahan Tuncer and Moerman allowed Efes to get an early 5-9 lead. Vildoza and Shields stepped up for Baskonia with 5 points apiece, giving the hosts their first lead, 15-12. Larkin struck twice from downtown and Krunoslav Simon added another one but a dunk by Vincent Poirier and an unstoppable Voigtmann kept Baskonia ahead, 23-21. Sertac Sanli followed a jump hook with a layup but Voigtmann sank his second triple for a 26-25 score. A floater by Simon and a three-point play by Micic restored a 26-30 Efes lead after 10 minutes. Huertas and Brock Motum traded close baskets early in the second quarter, and a corner triple by Dogus Balbay made Baskonia call timeout at 28-35. Poirier rescued the hosts with consecutive baskets in a 6-0 run that Jones capped with a floater. Huertas buried one from beyond the arc and a dunk by Jones made the hosts regain a 39-37 lead. Rodrigue Beabois downed a three-pointer but Huertas and Hilliard fueled a 6-0 run that gave Baskonia a 45-40 edge. Moerman and Balbay each hit a three-pointer but Shields and an outstanding Vildoza allowed Baskonia to reach halftime with a 53-48 lead. Poirier dunked immediately after the break but Simon improved that with a three-point play. Pleiss stepped up and a dunk by Micic tied it at 57-57. Moerman followed a put-back basket with a triple to complete his team's comeback, 60-62. Moerman and Pleiss kept pacing Efes, and a layup by Micic made it a six-point game, 64-70. Pleiss dunked and Beaubois boosted his team's lead, 67-74, after 30 minutes. Hilliard and Shields took over early in the fourth quarter before a jumper by Vildoza brought Baskonia within 73-76. Hilliard bettered Pleiss's layup with a three-point play but Larkin and Pleiss quickly restored a 76-83 Efes lead. Shields and Larkin exchanged layups, and a three-pointer by Moerman made the hosts stop the game at 78-88. Pleiss hit a triple and added a layup to seal the outcome, 81-95, and Baskonia did not recover.
Efes arrived in Vitoria-Gasteiz without starting center Bryant Dunston, but Tibor Pleiss made sure he was not missed a lot. Playing against his former team, Pleiss dominated at both ends, finishing the game with 21 points on 7-of-11 two-point shots, 1-of-1 three-pointers and 4-of-4 free throws. He added 12 rebounds for a PIR of 28.
A three-point play by Darrun Hilliard brought Baskonia within 76-78 but the guests did not panic. Shane Larkin, Adrien Moerman and Pleiss each struck from beyond the arc in a 2-13 run that sealed the outcome, 78-91, with over 4 minutes left.
Efes hit 15-of-20 two-point shots and 9-of-9 free throws in the second half. It also finished the game with 27 assists - tying both its season-high and the second-best mark for Efes in EuroLeague history. It previously dished 27 assists against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica on December 18, 2018.
Did you notice?
Vasilije Micic reached double digits in assists for the first time in his career, dishing 11 with just one turnover. He missed the chance to record his first double-double, scoring just 7 points. Pleiss's 12 rebounds were one shy of his career record - 13 with Baskonia against AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan on March 13, 2014.
Both teams finish the regular season next Thursday: Baskonia visits CSKA Moscow in a rematch of the 2005 and 2008 EuroLeague semi-finals. The same night, Efes hosts AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan in a rematch of the 1996 Korac Cup final.
Friday, March 29, 2019