Valencia Basket will be looking to start up its win column at home against Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Valencia has had to start the season playing against the defending champs and the runners-up, which can be tough on any team. On the other side, Efes comes from an OT win by the skin of their teeth against ALBA Berlin at home and lost the first game of the season at home, so it will be looking to start a positive streak in Spain.
Pleiss returns to Valencia
Anadolu Efes big man Tibor Pleiss will be returing to a city that was his home during the 2017-18 season. During that year, Pleiss averaged 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds for Valencia but the team could not make the EuroLeague playoffs. In Valencia he won the Spanish SuperCup and now, two seasons later, he comes back to La Fonteta with Efes to try to make his team start a winning streak in a place that still has fond memories of him.
This will be the seventh time that these two teams meet in the EuroLeague. So far, the record in the series is at 3-3, so the winner will take the lead in their head-to-head. In 2017-18, each team won its home game of the regular season, something, in fact, that also happened in 2003-04 and 2010-11. Therefore, Efes will try to become the first of the two to win at the opponent's home.
Brock Motum and Bryant Dunston are two big men that are main referents in their respective teams but not only that, but they also played together in Efes during two seasons from 2017 to 2019. Motum is one of the main forces in Valencia this start of the season with 11.5 points and 3 rebounds, also averaging a PIR of 13. Dunston is also a solid name in the Efes roster with 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in the first two games. Expect one of the main duels in the game to be between these two big men that were teammates until last June.
Keys to victory: Valencia
Valencia has the third poorest offense in the league at the moment (67.0 ppg.) and that will have to change radically against such an offensive powerhouse as Efes. Players like Aaron Doornekamp, Alberto Abalde, Sam Van Rossom or Guillem Vives will need to step up their game in offense as they are combining an average 9.5 points per game in a combined average playing time of about 16 minutes each, something that is definitely not enough in a competition like the EuroLeague.
Keys to victory: Efes
Efes comes to Valencia after a tough home win in overtime last week. Last season's runners-up got back their main offensive weapon, Shane Larkin, and will continue looking up to him in offense. Efes is the team averaging the least steals in the league (4.5 spg.) so a bigger effort in defense would probably pay off big time, especially against a low-scoring team like Valencia. A win at the home of the current 7DAYS EuroCup champs could go a long way when money time comes.