Micic shines as Efes beats Zvezda
Anadolu Efes Istanbul grabbed its fourth consecutive win by downing Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade 85-70 at home on Tuesday. Efes improved to 4-1 in the standings while Zvezda dropped to 1-4. Vasilije Micic led the winners with 26 points, Shane Larkin added 13, Krunoslav Simon had 11 and Bryant Dunston got 10 for Efes. Lorenzo Brown led Zvezda with 18 points. Three-pointers by Micic, Larkin, Simon and Rodrigue Beaubois gave Efes a double-digit lead, 21-9, after 10 minutes. Billy Baron and Charles Jenkins stepped up for Zvezda, but Tibor Pleiss and Alec Peters helped Efes keep a 12-point margin, 38-26, at halftime. Brown, Dejan Davidovac and Branko Lazic fueled a 2-20 run that gave Zvezda its only lead of the game, 49-51. Larkin, Dunston and an unstoppable Micic stepped up, as Efes restored a 75-60 margin midway through the fourth quarter and cruised to another win.
Micic got Efes going with a mid-range jumper and a three-pointer for a 5-0 lead. Lorenzo Brown followed a layup with a three-point play, but Larkin singlehandedly kept the hosts in charge, 11-5. Simon and Rodrigue Beaubois each struck from downtown and a layup by Simon made it 19-7. Micic scored in penetration and a put-back layup by Ognjen Kuzmic fixed the score at 21-9 after 10 minutes. Simon and Ognjen Dobric traded three-pointers early in the second quarter and another put-back basket by Kuzmic gave Zvezda hope at 24-14. Micic insisted from beyond the arc and a jumper by Pleiss seemed to break the game open, 29-14. Jenkins rescued Zvezda with a driving layup and a couple of jumpers, but Larkin quickly restored a double-digit Efes lead, 31-20. Zvezda found a new go-to guy in Baron only to see James Anderson and a big three-pointer by Peters cause the visitors to call timeout at 38-24. A tip-in by James Gist kept Zvezda within 38-26 at halftime.
Dunston dunked twice right after the break, Micic hit a jumper off the dribble and a three-pointer by Peters boosted Efes's lead to 47-31. Lazic and Davidovac fueled a 0-6 run that gave Zvezda hope at 47-37. Micic sank a fallaway jumper, but he didn't find much help. Meanwhile, Brown had 7 points - a triple and a couple of layups - and Michael Ojo added a three-point play in a 0-14 run that Stratos Perperoglou capped with free throws to give Zvezda its first lead, 49-51. Larkin buried a three-pointer and got help from Micic to restore a 56-51 Efes lead after 30 minutes. Micic downed a triple early in the fourth quarter, but Brown and Davidovac made it a one-possession game, 59-56, with 8 minutes left. Dunston scored down low, getting help from Chris Singleton to boost the hosts' lead to 64-56. Simon, Micic and Anderson each buried a shot from beyond the arc to seal the outcome, 75-60, midway through the fourth quarter. Nothing changed from that moment as Efes kept a safe lead until the final buzzer.
Vasilije Micic was a constant threat against his former team all game long. He finished the game with 26 points on 5-of-8 two-point shooting, 4-of-6 three-point shooting and 4-of-4 on free throws. He added 2 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 5 fouls drawn for a PIR of 29.
A mammoth 2-20 run allowed Zvezda to take its only lead of the game, 49-51. Micic and Larkin combined for all the points in a 10-0 run that allowed Efes to regain the lead for good, 59-51, early in the fourth quarter. Zvezda never recovered.
Three-point shots made the difference in this game. Zvezda hit just 5 of its 23 shots from downtown (21.7%). Efes buried 13 of 30 from beyond the arc (43.3%).
Did you notice?
Micic's 26 points was a new career-best effort for Efes's star point guard. His previous highest-scoring game in the EuroLeague was against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in last season's EuroLeague Semifinals, in which he scored 25 points.
Both teams return to Turkish Airlines EuroLeague action later this week - on Thursday, October 31. Efes visits Panathinaikos OPAP Athens at 20:00 CET. A little earlier, at 19:00 CET, Zvezda hosts Khimki Moscow Region.
Tuesday, October 29, 2019