By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Serbian point guard had additional space to operate with Shane Larkin sidelined dominated the second half of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 8 contest pouring 21 out of his career-high 33 points, including 17 in the key third period. He made 12/20 field goals, 5/7 from beyond the arc. His previous EuroLeague-best was in Greece as well, his 27 facing Olympiacos last November.
“I feel great. The most important thing is that we won. It’s my first victory in this gym, so I’m happy for that,” he mentioned following the game, “We fought until the end, and I’m happy that even though we missed so many players the focus was here. We showed a great attitude and I think we deserved the victory.”
Larkin, one day out of the 14-day window of the special Euroleague Basketball regulations, watched his teammate send the Turkish outlet to its third straight “W” in Europe’s premier continental club competition and seventh overall. Bryant Dunston and Sanli Sertac were out as well. In addition, Rodrigue Beaubois picked up an injury early and was limited to one minute of action.
Powered by unstoppable Micic, Efes gained separation in the second half and held on down the stretch to eventually improve its EuroLeague record to 4-3. Krunoslav Simon contributed with 12 points, Dogus Balbay with nine, and Tibor Pleiss with eight playing through a sprained ankle.
“The most important thing is the victory,” pointed out Simon, “It was hard like always in OAKA, but we played tough. It’s not easy to speak about myself but I feel good, I’m in good shape and I hope that I will continue and my team will continue like we did today.”
Ergin Ataman’s side will be back in action Sunday hosting HDI Sigorta Afyon Belediye before moving on to another home match and FC Bayern Munich Tuesday.
“Tonight we put great hustle, especially in defense. Balbay gave us so much intensity in defense,” said the boss of the Turkish team, “Offensively, Micic had an extraordinary game tonight, he covered Larkin and Beaubois. It was good teamwork and all the team won this game.”
Nemanja Nedovic was ruled out after missing Thursday’s practice due to a pull in his leg. Shelvin Mack in his debut put up 18 points and Georgios Papagiannis followed with 16.
“It was a tough loss,” confessed Mack, “I came here to win as part of the team but unfortunately we couldn’t do that today.”
“Balbay was a key player, changing the rhythm and pace of the game. Micic was the one player that kept the pace, he played for 33 minutes, scoring and creating a lot of troubles for our defense,” summed up head coach Georgios Vovoras, “So congratulations to Efes, they had composure and deserved to win.”
The Greens fell to 2-4 with their third loss at home. Up next, a trip to Spain to go against Valencia Tuesday.