Barcelona tops Efes, ties series again
FC Barcelona Lassa survived a do-or-die situation by downing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 82-72 at home in Game 4 of their best-of-five series on Friday. Their series, tied 2-2, will be decided when Efes hosts Game 5 next week. Barcelona retained a chance to reach the Final Four for the first time since 2014 and Efes can punch its first Final Four ticket since 2001. Kyle Kuric led the winners with 19 points. Ante Tomic added 13 while Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton each had 12 for Barcelona. Shane Larkin led Efes with 20 points. Krunoslav Simon added 17, Adrien Moerman 11 and Rodrigue Beaubois 10 for the guests. Bryant Dunston and Simon each hit a triple and Larkin added a pair of his own in a 0-14 run that gave Efesa 15-22 margin after 10 minutes. Kuric and Seraphin rescued Barcelona in the second quarter but a three-pointer by Adrien Moerman kept Efes in charge, 36-38, at halftime. Barcelona excelled on defense throughout the third quarter, as Kuric, Victor Claver and Thomas Heurtel broke the game open, 63-46. Nothing changed after that, as even when Efes got within 74-67, it was already too little, too late for the Turkish powerhouse.
A layup by Tomic and a floater by Kevin Pangos gave the hosts a 4-0 lead. Beaubois and Moerman each struck from downtown for Efes, but Pangos tied it at 6-6. Tomic and Singleton combined for all points in a 6-0 run that restored a 12-8 Barcelona lead. Larkin took over with a four-point play, igniting a 0-14 run in which Dunston and Simon each struck from beyond the arc. A triple by Larkin made it a double-digit game, 12-22, before Singleton joined the three-point shootout to cut Barcelona's deficit to 15-22 after 10 minutes. Kuric's baseline jumper and a layup by Seraphin brought Barcelona as close as 19-22 early in the second quarter. Larkin rescued Efes with 4 quick points but Seraphin and Kuric brought Barcelona even closer, 25-26. Vasilije Micic found his first points, getting help from Larkin and Simon to restore a 29-33 Efes lead. Tomic nailed his trademark jump hook and a three-pointer by Victor Claver ignited the crowd at 34-33. Dunston scored down low and Moerman bettered Kuric's jumper with a triple to make the guests regain the lead, 36-38, at halftime. Tomic scored around the basket right after the break and Kuric did so from downtown, putting Barcelona ahead, 41-38. Simon sank a jumper but Pangos and Tomic fueled a 7-0 Barcelona run that Singleton capped with a triple, good for a 48-40 Barcelona lead. Adam Hanga, Simon and Kuric each hit one from beyond the arc but Larkin kept Efes within 54-46. Singleton dunked and a three-pointer by Claver broke the game open, 59-46. Thomas Heurtel added a four-point play for Barcelona, while Micic and Simon kept Efes within 63-50 after 30 minutes. Larkin hit free throws and fed Moerman for a layup to give the guests hope at 63-54. Pierre Oriola scored down low and an unstoppable Heurtel kept Barcelona out of trouble, 68-56. Moerman hit a triple and Beaubois added a driving layup but Efes only managed to trade baskets now. Kuric ignited the crowd with a dunk off a steal and Tomic swished a jump hook for a 74-62 Barcelona lead with over 4 minutes left. Beaubois downed a three-pointer and Larkin brought Efes within 74-67 before Kuric and Tomic sealed the outcome from the foul line.
Claver was all over the place for Barcelona, playing defense on Efes guards while contributing in many aspects of the game. He finished the game with 8 points on 2-of-2 three-point shots, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, a steal and 2 fouls drawn for a team-high PIR of 20
A rain of three-pointers made the difference late in the third quarter. Hanga, Kuric, Claver and Heurtel each struck from beyond the arc to break the game open, 63-46. Efes tried to rally in the fourth quarter but Barcelona never lost control of the scoreboard.
Rebounds and two-point shots made the difference in this critical game. Barcelona outrebounded Efes by 37-28, pulling down 14 offensive boards. Barcelona hit 25-of-48 two-point shots (52.15), limiting Efes to just 9-of-22 inside the arc (40.9%). Barcelona also took excellent care of the ball, picking up just 8 turnovers.
Did you notice?
Efes and Barcelona will play the 11th do-or-die Game 5 in a best-of-five EuroLeague playoffs series. In all 10 previous showdowns, the home team won Game 5. It is the first Game 5 showdown in two years since Olympiacos Piraeus downed Efes 87-78 in Game 5 of the 2017 playoffs. Efes is 0-2 in Game 5s historically; Barcelona is 2-1.
Both teams meet again in a do-or-die showdown for a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four spot on Wednesday, May 1 at 19:00 CET.
Friday, April 26, 2019