Efes sets records in rout of Barcelona
Anadolu Efes Istanbul led from start to finish to come within a win of a place in the Final Four, thrashing FC Barcelona Lassa 68-102 to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five playoff series. It was one of the biggest road wins in club history for Efes, which is yet to win a EuroLeague Playoffs series this century. Shane Larking starred with 30 points on near-perfect shooting, including 6 of 7 on three-pointers. Vasilije Micic had 14 points and 8 assists and Bryant Dunston collected 10 points and 10 rebounds among Efes's six scorers in double digits. Adam Hanga had 13 points and Kyle Kuric scored 12 in defeat.
Efes came out on fire with Krunoslav Simon and Rodrigue Beaubois sinking a three-pointer apiece to make it 4-10 before Simon knocked down two more from downtown and opened a 9-20 lead after 7 minutes of play. Hanga gave Barcelona a spark off the bench, stringing together 8 consecutive points right away and a three-pointer from Pau Ribas cut the deficit to 20-24. But Tibor Pleiss beat the buzzer with a layup to end the first, before a jumper from Larkin and a triple from Micic made it 23-31 in the second. Efes continued its charge, with a second-chance triple from Adrien Moerman and assist from Micic for dunks by Dunston and Moerman making it 27-40. Thomas Heurtel had a floater and a triple for Barcelona, but Larkin still increased the margin to 32-46. Kuric hit from long range and Kevin Seraphin twice inside, however, back-to-back last-minute triples from Larkin made it 39-52 at halftime.
Hanga and Kuric hit a second-chance triple apiece to open the third quarter and get Barcelona back into the thick of things, but only briefly. Larkin nailed back-to-back triples and Simon added a crafty runner to restore a double-digit lead, 50-60. Hanga and Ante Tomic kept the hosts in touch, 56-64, but Larkin had a triple and a three-point play to make it 56-73 and Efes scored 9 points in the final 62 seconds of the third quarter in surging to 57-84. Moerman scored from close range and Larkin from long range again to make it 57-89 before Seraphin’s basket snapped a 1-25 run early in the fourth period. But, Barcelona's tough night was far from over, as the hosts were left without a point for another 6 and a half minutes during which Dunston, Micic, James Anderson and Pleiss put together a 0-11 run for a 62-100 lead, the largest of the night.
The 102 points were the most a team has scored in a EuroLeague Playoffs game since 2005. Efes hit 14 triples, tying the most by a road team in EuroLeague Playoffs this century.
Third quarter magic
It took Efes more than 3 minutes to score at the start of the third quarter, but Shane Larkin’s triple opened the floodgates. Efes scored 32 points in the remaining 6:53 of the quarter, including a 0-17 run during a span of 3 minutes and 25 seconds.
Shane Larkin led the way with 30 points, Vasilije Micic had 14 points and 8 assists, and Tibor Pleiss 14 points and 6 rebounds. Adrien Moerman collected 13 points and 6 rebounds, Krunoslav Simon finished with 11 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds, and Bryant Dunston had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Efes.
Did you notice
Both teams made 8 free throws. Efes was perfect 8 for 8, but Barcelona made 8 out of 21 attempts.
Barcelona will try to bounce back and extend its season when two teams meet again for Game 4 on Friday in Palau Blaugrana. Efes, on the other hand, will try to close out the series and clinch a Final Four ticket.
Wednesday, April 24, 2019