Efes rocks Reds on road in Larkin's return
Anadolu Efes Istanbul celebrated the return of Shane Larkin with a strong 79-84 road victory over Olympiacos Piraeus on Friday. Vasilije Micic poured in 20 points with 7 assists while Larkin, in his season debut, joined Rodrigue Beaubois in scoring 15 points. Efes improved its record to 2-3. Bryant Dunston picked up 8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks, the first of which made him the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague's all-time leader. Hassan Martin paced Olympiacos with 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks. Kostas Sloukas chipped in 10 points and 7 assists and Shaquielle McKissic scored 10 points in the loss. The Reds have now lost two straight games to drop to 3-3.
A moment of silence before the game honored the victims of Friday's earthquake in Turkey and Greece. Krunoslav Simon's free throw started the scoring with Kostas Papanikolaou's three-point play getting Olympiacos on the board. Beaubois and Papanikolaou traded threes before Dunston had two baskets and Chris Singleton nailed a three-pointer for a 12-17 Efes lead. Octavius Ellis hit 4 free throws to keep Olympiacos close but Micic and Beaubois both downed triples to extend the visitors' margin as Efes stayed in front by 26-29 after 10 minutes. Tibor Pleiss reeled off the first 6 points of the second quarter before Charles Jenkins finally scored for Olympiacos after more than 2 minutes. Micic followed with a three-point play and Larkin drained a three-pointer, his first points of the season, for a 28-41 Efes cushion. Olympiacos held Efes scoreless for more than 5 minutes but could only pull within 35-41 as Aaron Harrison and Vassilis Spanoulis both hit from long range. Harrison added another triple and the score was 38-44 at intermission. The run continued at the start of the second half with McKissic scoring four points in a 9-0 burst for a 47-44 Olympiacos advantage. Singleton's three-pointer gave Efes its first points almost 3 minutes into the third quarter and Micic followed to regain the lead 47-50. Sloukas answered with a three-pointer to tie only to see Beaubois pick up 7 points in 2-11 surge to move Efes ahead 52-61. Georgios Printezis hit a three-pointer as Olympiacos got back within 57-63 after 30 minutes. Beaubois added another basket early in the fourth quarter before Larkin began to take control with 2 three-pointers and 2 free throws to extend the Efes advantage to 63-75. Sloukas converted a three-point play as Olympiacos had a 7-0 run over 2 minutes to cut the gap to 70-75. Spanoulis's three-pointer and Martin's score cut the deficit to 75-78. Larkin, however, made sure he wouldn't lose his first game of the season with a tough reverse layup with just 48 seconds remaining and Micic drained 2 foul shots with 13 seconds for a 77-82 score.
History for Dunston
Bryant Dunston made history in the opening minutes as he blocked a shot by Kostas Papanikolaou. That gave made him the all-time EuroLeague leader in blocked shots. He had entered the game even with Fran Vazquez at 249 each, the Spaniard needing 254 games to collect that total while Dunston has played 197 contests. With another block later in the game, Dunston's record is now up to 251.
Season debut for Larkin
Efes superstar Shane Larkin made his 2020-21 season debut with 51 seconds left in the first quarter. Larkin had missed Efes's first four games with an injury. He ended Friday's game with 15 points on 4-for-13 field goal shooting and 4-for-7 free throws to go with 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block and 0 turnovers.
Efes controlled the boards with a 31-23 rebounding advantage, including 12 offensive rebounds.
Another Efes center, Tibor Pleiss, collected 5 of those rebounds to become the 18th player in EuroLeague history with 1,000 rebounds or more.
Olympiacos will head on the road for Round 7 and look to snap the two-game losing streak at Zenit St. Petersburg on Thursday, November 5. Efes returns home where it will host Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv on the same night.
Friday, October 30, 2020