Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 22, 2013
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NBA Europe Live report: Efes Pilsen 81-84 Minnesota
The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a victory in the opening game of NBA Europe Live 2007 by outlasting Efes Pilsen 81-84 at Abdi Ipecki arena in Istanbul on Saturday. It was the first-ever game for a NBA club in Turkey and Minnesota escaped with a prestigious win by stopping a late rally by Efes. Ricky Davis led the winners with 14 points. Ryan Gomes added 12, Al Jefferson and Randy Foye 11 each and Gerald Green 10 for the T-Wolves. Drew Nicholas was the game's top scorer with 24 points for Efes. Andre Hutson added 15 and Ender Arslan 10. Nicholas pushed Efes to a 21-15 lead in the first quarter but the T-Wolves made the most of physical, aggressive defense to take a 39-41 halftime lead on a jumper by Green. A 0-8 run in which Green had 5 points allowed the T-Wolves to take a 59-68 lead early in the final period, before Nicholas and Hutson led the Efes comeback. The hosts entered the final minute with a 77-76 edge, but Jefferson scored inside while Telfair and Foye sealed the outcome from the free throw line while Nicholas missed a game-tying shot almost at the buzzer.
Loren Woods started Efes off by scoring on a dunk in traffic, showing that the hosts were going to be aggressive. Mark Blount answered the same way for Minnesota, while Randy Foye buried a three-pointer for a 2-5 T-Wolves lead. Rashad Wright stepped up with a fade-away jumper for Efes while head coach David Blatt ordered the hosts into his patented match-up zone defense. Meanwhile, Andre Hutson buried a baseline jumper and Drew Nicholas added one from downtown to put Efes ahead 10-7. Minnesota controlled the offensive boards and started to pick up easy points inside, as Blount and Ryan Gomes forced Efes to call timeout at 12-11. Ricky Davis and Ender Arslan traded baskets before a triple from Nicholas in the corner kept Efes ahead 17-13. The T-Wolves now had troubles against a well-organized 2-3 zone defense of the hosts, but a three-pointer by Foye after a timeout got the guests going. Hutson and Kenny Gregory scored easy baskets inside to keep Efes ahead, 23-22, at the end of the first quarter.
A running jumper by Corey Brewer completed the T-Wolves comeback, 23-24, early in the second quarter. The T-Wolves kept struggling against coach Blatt's matchup zone defense, the one utilized so famously in the 2005 Euroleague Final, when Maccabi Elite beat Tau Ceramica. Free throws by Serkan Erdogan and Woods put Efes back ahead, 26-24, after 15 minutes. Efes lost its rhythm on offense, though, as the T-Wolves started to take advantage of its physical game now. Woods and Gomes traded free throws, as Efes kept missing open shots and forced coach Blatt to call a timeout at 28-31. Nothing changed in the short run, as the T-Wolves forced a 24-second violation that allowed Chris Richards to score in the other end. Efes finally found a go-to guy in Arslan, who hit a mid-range jumper, collected a steal and soon fed Nicholas for a three-point play that let the hosts regain the lead, 36-35. Hutson capped a 10-2 Efes run with his trademark four-meter jumper but a free throw by Gerald Green and a put-back by Gomes gave the T-Wolves a 38-39 edge. A free throw by Ermal Kuqo and a buzzer-beating jumper by Green fixed the halftime score at 39-41, by which time Minnesota was outrebounding Efes by 17-34
Both teams had trouble scoring early in the second half, as Efes tried to run its offense through Hutson without much success. The hosts went scoreless for more than 3 minutes while Blount and Davis allowed the T-Wolves to get a 39-45 edge. Minnesota kept dominating the boards, not allowing second-chance shots and forcing Efes to take timeouts to look for solutions. Gomes and Kuqo traded layups but a third-chance basket by Jefferson gave the T-Wolves a 41-49 lead. Kuqo scored again and Gregory added a fastbreak layup to keep Efes close, as the hosts slowly improved their defense despite big problems on the defensive board. Davis shined with a driving layup that Gregory erased with a tip-in. Davis buried one from downtown, but Efes had improved its intensity now and opted to attack the basket, but Hutson, Nicholas and Wright struggled from the foul line. At 50-56, Erdogan stepped up for Efes but another three-pointer by Davis off a T-Wolves timeout extended the Minnesota lead to 52-59. Hutson dunked and Wright added free throws while a floating jumper by Gregory got Efes as close as 59-60 after 36 minutes.
Green opened the fourth quarter with a bomb from downtown, as the T-Wolves sped up their offense. Telfair added a corner triple in a game-breaking 0-8 run that Green capped with a second-chance dunk, making Efes call timeout at 59-68. The T-Wolves excelled now on defense, forcing Efes to play with long possessions and finish them with off-balance shots. Arslan stepped up with a triple but Telfair copied him immediately for a 62-71 T-Wolves lead with 9 minutes to go. Woods tried to change things with a jump hook but Green was now on fire. Nicholas nailed an eight-meter bomb to show that Efes did not give up, especially when the T-Wolves missed a couple of easy shots. A driving layup by Arslan made the T-Wolves call timeout at 69-74. Green had a critical block on Kerem Gonlum but Efes was a different team on defense now while Nicholas made a triple and a driving layup to tie it up, 74-74. Richard hit a jump hook but Hutson improved it with a three-point play, good for a 77-76 Efes edge with 2:40 remaining. Both teams struggled to score in crunch time, but Jefferson stepped up with the go-ahead layup with 45.3 seconds to go. Nicholas missed a driving layup and Efes quickly fouled on Telfair, who was cool from the line, 77-80. Hutson hit a six-meter shot with 14.1 seconds remaining and Foye was next on the line. He made 1 of 2, but grabbed his own rebound, was fouled again and did not miss to give the T-Wolves a 79-83 edge with 10.9 seconds to go. Nicholas scored for Efes and then Foye made 1 of 2 free throws. Efes had a final chance at 81-84 with 4.5 seconds to go, but Nicholas missed the game-tying shot almost at the buzzer.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Javier Gancedo, Istanbul