The latest edition of the Istanbul derby will open Friday's slate of EuroLeague action with Anadolu Efes against Darussafaka. Efes comes into the game on a three-game winning streak, sitting in fourth place in the league and owning a 7-2 home record. Darussafaka is on a three-game losing streak, last in the standings and winless on the road this season. Efes is 5-0 in EuroLeague games against Darussafaka and also won their Turkish League game earlier this season.
They are power forwards with much different roles on their teams, but Efes's Adrien Moerman and Darussafaka's Jeremy Evans are important players whose performances will greatly impact this game. Moerman can play the stretch-4 role to break down defenses with his shooting, while also impacting the game on the boards; he is sixth in the league with 6.4 rebounds per game. Evans is an elite athlete and former slam dunk champion who is eighth in the league with 5.8 rebounds per game and second with 1.2 blocks. It should be an exciting matchup.
Earlier this season
Efes used a 32-point third quarter and then held off a late Darussafaka charge to win 88-93 when these teams met in Round 9. Rodrigue Beaubois was the hero for the winners with 24 points – all in the second half – on 6-of-7 three-point shooting. Vasilije Micic contributed 9 points and 8 assists. Micheal Eric led Darussafaka with 18 points. Efes made half of its 22 three-pointers in the game.
Keys to victory: Anadolu Efes
Turning this game into a shootout would work to Efes's benefit since Coach Ataman has a deeper squad that has scored at least 90 points seven times this season – and has won each of those games. Efes is averaging 89.4 points in wins, while Darussafaka has averaged 75.0 points in its wins. Efes also leads the league in three-point accuracy (43.8%) and Darussafaka is last (30.4%).
Keys to victory: Darussafaka
Darussafaka leads the league in offensive rebounds this season (12.3 orpg.) and Efes is last (8.1 orpg.). Coach Ernak's men – led by Micheal Eric and Jeremy Evans – must turn that rebounding advantage into second-chance points to improve their chances of scoring an upset win.