Micic, Beaubois shoot Efes past Maccabi
Anadolu Efes Istanbul overpowered Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv 99-79 on Thursday night at Sinan Erdem Dome to keep at least a share of first place in the standings. Efes used runs of 10-0 in the second quarter and 12-0 in the third to break the game open and kept the lead in the neighborhood of 20 points for most of the fourth quarter. Efes improved its record to 13-3 and dropped Maccabi to 11-5. Vasilije Micic led the winners with 23 points plus 5 assists, Rodrigue Beaubois netted 22 points with 4 steals, Krunoslav Simon scored 19, Shane Larkin 15 and Tibor Pleiss 11. Jake Cohen scored 15 points for Maccabi, Scottie Wilbekin added 12 and Angelo Caloiaro 10.
Tough defense characterized the early action as the team stood tied 5-5 through 4 minutes. Wilbekin's four-point play put the visitors in control and a Quincy Acy slam made it 8-13. An Efes timeout changed things as Simon drilled a three-pointer and tipped in his own miss as part of a 7-0 run to take the lead. Simon scored twice more to help Efes to a 23-19 lead, but more of concern to Maccabi was that Wilbekin went to the locker room with an apparent ankle injury in the final minute of the opening quarter. Deni Avdija and Jake Cohen formed a frontcourt partnership to keep Maccabi close in the first few minutes of the second quarter. Avdija tied it at 34-34 midway through the second quarter and Jake Cohen scored next to put the visitors ahead, at which point Efes called another timeout. Beaubois connected on a pair of threes that ignited a 10-0 run in which he scored all the points to put Efes back in control, 44-36. Wilbekin reentered the game for Maccabi, but was unable to make an impact. Beaubois's steal and layup gave the hosts a double-digit advantage, though a three on the halftime buzzer by Yovel Zoosman made it 48-41 at the break.
Wilbekin banked in a three to start the second half, but soon Simon and Beaubois led Efes on a 12-0 run that made it 60-44. Micic added a pair of triples as the difference reached 20. Efes did not let up after that and Pleiss got in on the action with a pair of buckets to make it 80-58 at the end of the third quarter. Maccabi showed signs of life with the first 5 points of the fourth quarter, which Coach Ataman reacted to with a timeout. Pleiss responded with a three and a put-back and the hosts started to cruise again. Larkin put the finishing touches on the game as he drew a second unsportsmanlike foul from Tyler Dorsey, which disqualified the Maccabi guard. The visitors battled until the final buzzer, but Efes already had the game in its pocket.
Maccabi battled hard to grab a 34-36 lead midway through the second quarter, but then Rodrigue Beaubois came alive. The Efes guard buried back-to-back three-pointers, added another basket and turned a steal into 2 free throws for a 10-0 run of his own, from which the Israeli champs never recovered.
Efes enjoyed an extraordinary three-point shooting game in going 16 for 28 from downtown. Not only was the team within a single three of the club record, but its 57.1% conversion rate was the highest in club history for a game with more than 20 three-pointers attempted. Vasilije Micic led the way with 5 makes from 7 tries from downtown, Rodrigue Beaubois was 4 of 7 and Krunoslav Simon 3 for 4.
Injuries strike Maccabi again
Already without starters Tarik Black, Omri Casspi and Nate Wolters, Maccabi was struck again by the injury bug when Scottie Wilbekin went down with an apparent ankle injury in the final minute of the first quarter. He left the court and went to the locker room to have his ankle re-taped and returned to play a couple of minutes in both the second and third quarters, but did not seem to be himself and sat out the final 15 minutes of the game.
Efes's winning record vs. Maccabi.
With this win, Efes now has a winning record in the competition against Maccabi, 9-8. The Turkish champs have now won six of the seven meetings between them over the past five years.
Maccabi remains on the road for its first game of 2020 when it visits Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday, January 2. The following evening, Efes hosts Khimki Moscow Region.
Thursday, December 26, 2019