Simon leads Efes past Gran Canaria
Anadolu Efes Istanbul got back to its winning ways by downing visiting Herbalife Gran Canaria 93-74 at Sinan Erdem Dome on Thursday night in Istanbul. Efes improved to 14-8 to remain in fourth place in the standings, while Gran Canaria dropped to 6-16. The hosts took the lead for good early in the third quarter with a 15-2 run and then opened a double-digit lead at the start of the fourth from which they never looked back. Krunoslav Simon paced Efes with a career-high 25 points, along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Shane Larkin added 18 points in victory. Clevin Hannah netted 16 for Gran Canaria, Marcus Eriksson scored 13 and D.J. Strawberry had 10 points in defeat.
Efes started fast behind Simon and opened an 8-0 lead. Simon had 8 points – including 2 triples – in the first 4 minutes, but so did Kim Tillie at the other end. Tibor Pleiss scored 5 points – including a three-point play, that helped open a 22-12 lead. However, back-to-back dunks from Ondrej Balvin and a three-pointer from Eriksson cut it to 26-19 after 10 minutes before Eulis Baez and Eriksson combined to score the first 10 points of the second quarter to give Gran Canaria a 26-29 edge. Adrien Moerman snapped a 0-13 run and Efes restored the lead, 33-32, with a three-point play from Larkin. A triple from Hannah helped Gran Canaria go up again, 33-39. Larkin answered with 8 consecutive points, including a pair of triples, but Hannah's third triple of the night gave the visitors a 43-46 halftime advantage. Efes restored the advantage early in the second half with a 15-2 run that started and finished with dunks from Bryant Dunston and featured a triple apiece from Vasilije Micic, Dogus Balbay and Simon. Siim-Sander Vene ended the visitors' drought, but Dunston had a basket-plus-foul and Simon nailed his fifth triple of the night to give Efes a 69-60 cushion at the end of the third quarter. A pair of close-range baskets from Moerman helped the margin go up to 75-60 after 73 seconds in the fourth. After the margin reached 16 points, Gran Canaria answered with a 0-8 run, but Micic strung together 11 points – a runner, a long jumper, a driving layup and a triple – to get Efes to 87-72, which effectively sealed the outcome.
Krunoslav Simon fueled Efes's efforts in this game. He had 10 points in the opening 4 and a half minutes to help Efes to a double-digit lead and then scored 11 points in the third quarter, helping fuel a 15-2 run then. He then capped the quarter with a triple. He had 23 points after three quarters, and finished with 25 on a near-perfect shooting night, making 3 of 3 for two-points, 5 of 6 three-pointers and 4 of 4 free throws.
Shane Larkin tied his season-high with 18 points, Vasilije Micic scored 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, and Bryant Dunston was huge with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks.
Gran Canaria had a 46-50 lead early in the third when Efes forced 3 quick turnovers and turned them into a 7-0 run. Triples from Dogus Balbay and Simon continued the run and Dunston's dunk capped a 15-2 spurt that got the hosts to 61-52. The visitors never got closer than 4 points the rest of the way.
Up and down
Efes won the first quarter by 7 points. Gran Canaria took the second quarter by 10 before Efes topped Gran Canaria by 12 points, 26-14, in the third.
The Turkish Airlines EuroLeague will be on a break next week with teams engaged in domestic cups. When they return in two weeks for Round 23, Gran Canaria will travel to face CSKA Moscow, while Efes will play at home against Olympiacos Piraeus in a big game in the race for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Thursday, February 7, 2019