Anadolu Efes blasted past Partizan mt:s 73-84
Anadolu Efes started the 2011-12 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season in style by downing Partizan mt:s 73-84 in Belgrade, Serbia in Group C on Thursday. Efes overcame a strong basketball atmosphere at Pionir Arena to register its first road win and improve its chances to get to the Top 16 in difficult Group C. Tarence Kinsey led the winners with 18 points. Dusko Savanovic added 17, Sasha Vujacic had 14 while Ersan Ilyasova got 10 for Efes. Nikola Pekovic led Partizan with 21 points in less than 20 minutes. Milan Macvan added 14 while Dragan Milosavljevic had 10 for the hosts. An unstoppable Pekovic led Partizan to a 28-27 lead after 10 minutes. Back-to-back three-pointers by Milosavljevic soon boosted the hosts' lead to 40-33 late in the second quarter. A 0-9 run that Kinsey capped with a driving basket put Efes back ahead, 45-48, near halftime. Efes improved its defense after the break, making Partizan go scoreless for more than 5 minutes. Meanwhile, Kinsey, Savanovic and an outstanding Ilyasova allowed Efes to break the game open, 51-68, at the end of the third quarter. Nothing changed from that moment, as even when Partizan kept trying, Efes had cruised to a well-deserved win.
Kinsey got Efes going with a catch-and-shoot jumper that Pekovic matched with a power dunk. Partizan kept trying to get Pekovic involved in the low post, making Stanko Barac pick up 3 fouls in the opening 2 minutes. A three-point play by Ilyasova, however, gave Efes a 4-5 edge. Pekovic scored off a spin move and a driving layup by Acie Law made it 8-5. Kerem Tunceri followed a six-meter jumper with a driving layup while Ermal Kuqo scored down low for a 10-11 Efes lead. Pekovic insisted with free throws and Law scored in penetration but Tunceri and Ersan Ilyasova kept Efes ahead, 14-15. Vujacic struck from downtown but a layup by Miroslav Raduljica kept the hosts within 16-18. Kuqo and Raduljica exchanged dunks but a layup-plus-foul by Macvan provided another lead change, 21-20. Vujacic downed a long jumper that Danilo Andjusic bettered with a triple. Raduljica stayed on fire with another layup and Andjusic added free throws but Vujacic nailed a three-pointer and fed Ilyasova for a buzzer-beating reverse layup to Efes as close as 28-27 after 10 minutes.
Esteban Batista took over with a big dunk early in the second quarter, as Partizan kept trying to speed up the game tempo. Vlado Ilievski soon added a jumper to give Efes a 28-31 edge. Pekovic kept pacing Partizan with a three-point play and Dragan Milosavljevic bettered Kinsey's floating jumper with a bomb from downtown that made the hosts regain the lead, 34-33. An unstoppable Pekovic hit a jump hook, making Efes ask for a much-needed timeout. Milosavljevic split free throws and nailed another triple to boost the hosts' lead to 40-33. Kinsey sank another shot that Vladimir Lucic matched in the other end. Savanovic hit a mid-range jumper and soon struck from downtown, as Partizan struggled to score without Pekovic on the floor. Vujacic made free throws and Kinsey scored in penetration to give Efes a 42-44, after a 0-9 run. Macvan buried a baseline jumper that Tunceri erased in the other end. Free throws by Raduljica, Kuqo and Batista fixed the halftime score at 45-48.
Both teams went scoreless for more than three minutes after the break, as Partizan changed its game plan and slowed down the game tempo once Pekovic returned to the bench with 4 fouls. Efes could not find the way to the basket as Partizan, pushed by an incredible crowd, excelled in defense. Kinsey stepped up with a corner three-pointer and the hosts entered the foul bonus right after that. Ilyasova made 3-of-4 foul shots and a fast break dunk by Kinsey made it a double-digit game, 45-56. Ilyasova had consecutive blocks, intimidating everyone around the guests' basket. Partizan missed 7 consecutive shots and picked up 6 turnovers until Raduljica and Lucic made free throws. Batista shined with a fast break slam and a three-pointer by Savanovic broke the game open, 49-62. Ilievski and Savanovic hit free throws and an off-balance jumper by Lucic only brought Partizan within 51-68 after 30 minutes.
Macvan tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a three-pointer early in the fourth quarter but Savanovic immediately answered from downtown and soon added a turnaround jumper to keep Efes way ahead, 54-73. Partizan kept trying to run its offense through Pekovic, back on the floor with 4 fouls. Andjusic hit a short shot but Efes had started to use long possessions to run the game clock down. Pekovic made free throws and followed that with a put-back layup to give Partizan some hope, 61-73. Barac shined with an up-and-under layup right before fouling out. Pekovic made free throws and Macvan struck from downtown but Kinsey followed a triple with a jumper to keep Efes out of trouble, 66-80, with 4 minutes to go. Macvan insisted from downtown and a second-chance basket by Pekovic got Partizan even closer, 71-80. Batista stepped up with a backdoor layup to seal the outcome in the final 2 minutes, allowing Efes to celebrate an important win.
Thursday, October 20, 2011