Efes sends a message with dominant road win
Anadolu Efes Istanbul sent a loud and clear message around the continent with a dominant 71-90 victory over Turkish Airlines EuroLeague newcomer FC Bayern Munich. A hugely impressive all-around team performance saw five Efes players score in double figures, led by Brock Motum with 14. The efficiency of the visitors was reflected in their outstanding long-range shooting, with nine different players converting 12 of 20 three-point attempts (60%). A quartet of new signings all made an early mark, with Shane Larkin scoring 13 points, James Anderson adding 12 while Adrien Moerman and Tibor Pleiss each netted 11. Nihad Dedovic led Bayern with 17 points and Stefan Jovic tallied 15 points, 5 assists and 5 steals.
Bayern led for the majority of a finely balanced first quarter, notable for a big slam from Devin Booker. The hosts went up 14-9 at one stage, but the introduction of Vasilije Micic and Dogus Balbay from the bench changed the game as the latter scored 5 consecutive points to send Efes ahead. A rapid flurry of triples, including two from Motum, saw Efes surge to a double-digit advantage with a 4-18 burst in the middle phase of the second quarter, before Jovic hit from deep to make it 37-44 at halftime. But Efes just kept on going, with a pair of triples from Moerman and Krunoslav Simon early in the second half making it 37-53, and the lead just grew further as the visiting team remained dominant at both ends of the court. A couple of dunks at the start of the fourth quarter from Pleiss made it 53-78 to quash any home team hopes of a fightback, and the intensity of the action then dropped with the result beyond doubt. A pair of three-pointers from Dedovic helped narrow the deficit somewhat, but Efes eased home to seal an eye-catching road triumph.
Dogus Balbay delivered a perfect all-round display. Coming into the game with Bayern leading 17-13, he converted all his shots to score 9 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, dished 3 assists, made 2 steals, blocked a shot and committed no turnovers.
Movers and shakers
Former Bayern player Vasilije Micic only scored 3 points, but he made a big contribution for Efes by dishing 5 assists and playing excellent defense. Another debutant, Tibor Pleiss, also had a great game in his native country, combining 11 points with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 blocked shot.
Balbay wasn't the only player to enjoy a perfect shooting night from the field. Pleiss made all four of his two-pointers and his only three-point attempt and James Anderson connected on all three two-pointers and a pair of triples (although he did miss a free throw).
After trailing for much of the first quarter, Efes took control in the second and did it from downtown: Micic's triple sparked a run of six three-point conversions in the space of just over seven minutes. The team missed just two shots during that period.
Efes will look to take its outstanding early-season form back to Istanbul with Wednesday's home opener against Zalgiris Kaunas, while Bayern will search for its first win at home against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens on Tuesday.
Thursday, October 11, 2018