By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Tibor Pleiss and Vasilije Micic scored 18 points apiece as Anadolu Efes extended its winning streak to 8-0 by defeating Zalgiris Kaunas 68 – 74 on the road and handing the Lithuanian side their eighth straight loss.
Efes made all the right plays down the stretch, in total contrast with Zalgiris. With the score 65 – 70 following a layup by Micic, Zalgiris missed back-to-back opportunities to get closer with turnovers and missed shots. Shane Larkin made a difficult basket with 65 – 72 with 1:24 left and then Chris Singleton made his fourth steal on the night by snatching the ball from Jock Landale’s hands.
On the other end, Krunoslav Simon “locked” his team’s win with a floater for the 65 – 74.
“It’s a great victory for us. Especially in this court that it’s very difficult to win,” Micic said to EuroLeague TV after defeating his former team. “They never give up. I’m very proud of my team.” Efes remains at the top of the standings, now at 11 – 3.
Landale had 16 points and Edgaras Ulanovas scored 14 for Zalgiris that dropped to 3-11. The hosts came back after falling 17 – 26 at the end of the first quarter to go ahead 35 – 34 in the mid of the second period. Efes was down 43 – 42 at halftime but retook the lead and remained up for the remainder of the match.
“A perfect game”
Efes coach Ergin Ataman characterized his team’s performance as “perfect” and complimented the contribution of many of his players.
That’s a perfect game,” Ataman said in the post-game presser. “Every EuroLeague game is like a final, final of the Final Four. Congratulations to my players because it was a great atmosphere, very hot, and Zalgiris put a great hustle. Sometimes they scored incredible shots, with Landale, Ulanovas scored two last-second three-point shots. We did not give up. In the beginning, we had a problem to find scoring with Larkin, but in the fourth quarter, we found a way and Larkin started to score, too. Our two guards Micic and Larkin controlled the game, and center Pleiss played great basketball on offense and also on defense. And all others, Singleton also put great hustle. It is not easy to win seven games in a row on the road and we will continue like this. Friday we play CSKA Moscow at home. Of course, I am satisfied with [my team’s performance]. If somebody is not, tell me.”