Anadolu Efes Istanbul went from holding a losing record in Round 17 to finishing the regular season with the home-court advantage for the playoffs. Such a rise in the standings required a dramatic improvement and Efes indeed improved on both ends of the floor in the second half of the regular season.
What especially stood out was the inspired offense that Efes has showcased, a level of play that makes Efes the hottest offense going into the playoffs.
As the graph above shows, Efes finished the regular season ranked second with 84.0 points per game, which is a result of its rise in the second half of the season. After sitting in 14th place midway through the regular season, Efes revved up its engines and averaged 90.4 points over the final 17 rounds.
Efes has the highest average PIR (98.8) and has been great at taking care of the ball with the second-fewest turnovers, 11.3 per game. Meanwhile, a key category where Efes showed improvement in the latter part of the season is with assists. The team finished the season sixth-best with 18.5 assists per game after ranking in the bottom half earlier in the season.
The substantially improved ball movement led to a rise in shooting percentages, too. Efes enters the playoffs ranked fourth in two-point shooting (56.9%) and climbed up to fifth in three-point accuracy (39.7%) after being as low as 14th in long-distance shooting halfway through the season.
A look at Efes's numbers on the other end of the floor suggests its defense profits from its offense. That is the truest when it comes to limiting opponents' points off turnovers, where Efes ranks first, and opponents' steals where Efes allows the fifth-fewest (6.2 spg).
The entire Efes defense visibly improved over the course of the season. Entering the playoffs, Efes has allowed the third-fewest points (76.9 ppg.), even though it ranked 13th earlier in the season, and opponents have accumulated the fifth-lowest average PIR (81.6) against Efes, a category in which Efes ranked as low as 15th early in the season.
Efes also spent most of the season in the bottom half in two-point and three-point percentages allowed and were ranked as low as 17th in both categories, but improved steadily as the season progressed and ended up holding opponents to a more impressive 53.2% on two-pointers and 37.4% on threes.
Having to face the ever-dangerous Real Madrid in the best-of-five playoff series, Efes needs to keep the trend from the second half of the season on both ends of the floor. Efes hosts Game 1 of their playoff series on Tuesday, April 20.