Anadolu Efes might have cruised past Real Madrid 90-63 in Game 1 on Tuesday, but they will need to maintain their momentum in their second home game of the series in Istanbul. Olimpia Milano aim to build on their comeback 79-78 win against Bayern Munich, who continue to look for their first playoffs win in their history.
Efes, who finished third in the regular season, never struggled against sixth seed Real and took all quarters on Tuesday but coach Ergin Ataman insists the side has forgotten the game as “every game is played in a new atmosphere in the play-offs”.
“We need to keep the defense at the forefront with determination and impose our own game strategy on offense,” Ataman told the club’s website.
“Real Madrid is a very experienced team. We must move towards the goal step by step, without compromising the game discipline at any time in the series.”
Ten-time winners Real will be looking for a victory which brings home court to Madrid, while levelling the series. However, they will have to do much better to prevent Efes from going further ahead. Coach Pablo Laso emphasised that to beat a rival of that size, “it’s necessary to maintain intensity during the 40 minutes”.
While this is not the first time, the side has lost its opening game, this was a catalyst for them to win their tenth title in 2018 after losing to Panathinaikos in Game 1 and winning the next three.
Delaney treating it like 0-0
Olimpia Milano produced a fantastic comeback win on Tuesday as the side beat Bayern with a clutch alley-oop from Zach LeDay in the final second to take Game 1 in Milan. Now the sides meet again as Bayern are still on the hunt for their first ever EuroLeague playoffs win.
Denied at the death, Bayern would have definitely been disappointed after dominating throughout the game but Milan held on and produced turnaround in the fourth quarter.
DJ Seeley, Bayern’s top scorer on the night with 23 points, five of five from three, lauded his side’s defense despite the loss.
“I think we played very good defense the whole game, even if they hit heavy throws in the end, including well-defended threes,” Seeley said on Wednesday.
“In the last quarter, we unfortunately didn’t play the attack as we should and could have done. Of course, we are all annoyed about the end, but we now need a short-term memory and above all, we have to concentrate mentally on the second game.”
Milan’s Malcolm Delaney, who provided the game-winning assist in Game 1, will be treating the second game just like the opener.
“Tomorrow we have to carry the momentum and energy we played with in the second half of the last game. We didn’t make many shots, but we need to continue to build on defense and treat game two like the series is 0-0,” Delaney told the club’s website on Wednesday.
Milan coach Ettore Messina explained that the side had used up a lot of energy to come back for the win on Tuesday and insists his players will need to refocus to improve.
“Both teams will go out there with great focus, since we know that every playoff game is a new story,” Messina said.
“For us, it’s necessary to get back our energy, physically and mentally, because we spent a lot of them last night, and improve throughout the series. In order to win Game 2 we’ll need to improve, starting with defense and ball movement.”