By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Anadolu Efes continues its reign with its seventh straight victory after prevailing over CSKA Moscow with an 82-80 victory for Round 23 of Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, their first win in Moscow in 21 years and the first one since the 2012-13 season.
Shane Larkin put the visiting squad ahead 81-78 with 41 seconds remaining, while Mike James missed the chance to even the score for CSKA and push the game into possible overtime. A pair of free throws by Daniel Hackett made it a one-point game again, though time was on Efes‘ side, as Larkin hit the final point of the game from the free-throw line. Larkin also led the efforts of the visiting team with 23 points and four assists.
Vasilije Micic tapped 19 points for the winning squad while dishing five assists and creating with Larkin the most exciting one-two punch in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague backcourts.
On the other end of the court, James posted a team-high for CSKA with 20 points.
Ataman’s “prophecy” turns into reality
Before the game, coach Ergin Ataman spoke about how his team has “unfinished” business with CSKA, being the only team left for Efes to defeat in the recent years. Their last victory marked back to the 2012-13 Top 16 round, and the “curse” finally broke, this time in Moscow.
“For me, it is important because my players, one more time, showed that we have one of the best potentials this year in the EuroLeague. […] Efes maybe didn’t win here in the last 20-25 years, but this is a completely different team with great players, great compliments, and we also played great basketball”, he commented after the game.
Efes pulled away with a 25-16 advantage in the first quarter and kept a short 41-37 lead at halftime, though from that point on, the two top-tier teams of the competition clashed head to head in an ambivalent game.
The two sides took turns in the lead of the game, though in crunchtime, Rodriguez Beaubois (13 points) torched the hosts as he hit the net from the three-point line to put Efes ahead 79-75, Nikita Kurbanov (5 ποιντσ) answered to make it a one-point game again. Larkin stepped in to save the day for the visiting side and led his team to a victory of great importance at this point in the season.
Photo credit: EuroLeague