Anadolu Efes made it two wins in a row in their EuroLeague playoffs series against Real Madrid. Similarly to Game 1, Efes were untroubled throughout as pressure will be on Pablo Laso’s men with no team having ever comeback from 2-0 down. Olimpia needed no comebacks on Thursday as they cruised past Bayern Munich to make it two from two in the playoffs.
Real Madrid started the scoring before the only lead change coming seven minutes from the end of the first. Efes then went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter 22-13, with Real going cold. Shane Larkin was the star for Efes with his play, second in scoring with 21 to Vasilje Micic who got 23. Micic was sharp from three, scoring five of five.
Interviewed during the break, Laso emphasised he wanted his side to be more aggressive. Efes coach Ergin Ataman lamented the many first half turnovers by his side.
Real, who were missing Walter Tavares after getting injured during warmup, struggled with their shots throughout, going six from 18 from beyond the arc. It was a mountain to climb for Real with the game looking more and more like the previous. Efes ended the game with a strong 23 point lead at 91-68, as they head into Game 3 with an added confidence.
Lesson learnt for Milan
Olimpia Milano look to have learnt their lesson from Game 1 and did not rely on a fourth quarter comeback to take the game on Thursday ad they cruised past Bayern Munich 80-69. Milan’s Kevin Punter was on fire on the night to lead his side with 20 points as Sergio Rodriguez added 13 and Shavon Shields put up 12.
Bayern looked to be on the way to a similar game as that on Tuesday with a 5-0 run to start the scoring but Punter woke Milan up with eight points to inflict the first lead change. The home side took advantage of this momentum as they took the first quarter 26-12. By the second quarter Milan had the biggest lead of the night at a 20-point margin. It was then when Bayern were in trouble with no shots falling and Milan cruising.
During the half, Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri admitted his side were struggling, saying: “We lost control of the game completely. We have to be smart and be solid on defense”.
They did, as Bayern looked a much changed side in the third quarter with Wade Baldwin reaching the 20 point mark and James Gist getting double-digits. But it was all Milan on Thursday as the game was always going to bye theirs. The final buzzer brought about drama as players had to be separated.
In the post-game comments, Milan’s Sergio Rodriguez showed his enthusiasm towards heading into the third game of the series on such a positive note.
“We knew it was going to be tough but we got the 2-0 and we’re very happy,” Rodriguez said.