Real Madrid rallied past Anadolu Efes 66-75
Real Madrid dominated the second half to down Anadolu Efes 66-75 and record its sixth straight win on Thursday at the site of the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, the Sinan Erdem Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The hosts dominated early and led by 17 in the second quarter, but the Whites closed the gap to 43-36 by halftime and outscored Efes by 8 in each of the last two quarters to register the win and improve to 8-2. Nikola Mirotic paced the winners with 16 points and Jaycee Carroll, Sergio Llull and Kyle Singler added 12 apiece. Dusko Savanovic posted 15 points and 11 rebounds for the home team, which finished the regular season third in Group C with a 5-5 record. Sinan Guler added 13 points, Stanko Barac tallied 11 points and 9 rebounds and Sasha Vujacic scored 10 before getting ejected in the second quarter.
Strong defenses forced turnovers and missed shots on both ends before the starting centers, Stanko Barac and Ante Tomic, hit mid-range jumpers to open the scoring. Savanovic nailed a three from the top of the key and then fed Barac for a two-handed slam. Llull countered for Madrid with a steal, layup and free throw. Vujacic hit from behind the arc and Savanovic from the line to lift the hosts to 12-5. A Guler triple gave Efes a double-digit edge just six minutes into the contest. Singler and Mirotic helped the Whites eat away at the deficit. Carlos Suarez added a tip-in as the visitors came within 4. Guler connected from downtown to keep Efes in control. And a Vujacic triple made it 21-15 after 10 minutes.
An Esteban Batista steal led to a Kerem Tunceri layup and soon Guler lifted Efes to 10 points ahead. Mirotic banked in a jumper, but Vujacic hit a turnaround jumper from the baseline and Savanovic made a triple to put 30-17 on the scoreboard. Carroll scored his first points for the visitors, but Batista attacked the glass for a three-point-play and Tunceri on the break pushed the lead to 15. Vujacic drove to make it 37-20. Llull countered quickly before a TV timeout allowed the Whites to regroup. Sergio Rodriguez scored in the lane and Carroll drained a three before a Llull penetration made it 39-29. Vujacic was ejected after elbowing Felipe Reyes. Then Carroll and Mirotic trimmed the deficit even further form the line. Cenk Akyol ended Madrid’s 0-10 run with a runner in the lane. Llull made a pull-up jumper to set the score at 43-36 at the break.
Guler opened the second half with a three-pointer that restored a double-digit lead for the home side. Mirotic, Carrol and Tomic kept the Madrid account moving, but Efes seemed to have answers. But a Mirotic triple suddenly cut the lead down to 49-45 and brought a hush to the crowd. Singler converted on the break to make it a 2-point game before the TV timeout stopped the action. Efes’s shooting woes continued and Singler sent a lob pass to Mirotic to tie the game at 49-49. Guler rescued Efes, but Reyes tied the score once more. A Llull triple and Novica Velickovic layup put Madrid on top for the first time in the game. Tunceri weaved his way to the basket for a tough layup and Akyol sank a three in transition to tie the score and bring the Sinan Erdem Arena to its feet. Efes coach Ufuk Sarica was slapped with a technical after arguing Akyol’s fourth foul. Carroll put the visitors back on top with a free throw, 56-57, through three quarters.
Velickovic took a rebound and went coast to coast for a layup and Reyes scored from the wing to take the crowd out of the game. Singler finished on the break to make it 56-63. Akyol ended a three-plus minute scoring drought with a three to revive the hosts. A Singler jumper and Rodriguez triple affirmed Madrid’s control before Begic rejected Tunceri and started a fast break that led to a Singler layup and an 11-point Madrid lead. Savanovic gave the fans hope with a jumper and then a second-chance basket. A Mirotic triple with three minutes to go practically decided the outcome and Carroll’s follow basket sealed it.
Thursday, December 22, 2011