Real Madrid will be hoping to forget the previous two Euroleague playoff games against Anadolu Efes, two tough losses of 90-63 in Game 1 and 91-68 in Game 2, as they head into Game 3 on Tuesday looking for a way back into the series which could be over if Real fail to win.
Coming off a 76-90 win over Fuenlabrada on Sunday, Real will be hoping to keep this momentum going into the Efes tie.
Speaking to the club’s channels, coach Pablo Laso referred to Tuesday’s game as a final.
“It’s a final for us because if we lose we’re out of the Euroleague. We’re not thinking about that outcome, but rather about putting in a good performance and being able to focus on the next game, as that’s the real situation we’re in,” Laso said.
“We’re in the middle of a very demanding playoff series. We’re playing at home again and we know we’ll have to put in a good performance to get through”.
Spanish center Usman Garuba, with nine points in Game 2 and five points in Game 1, gave credit to Efes emphasizing the importance of the game on Tuesday, and that they would have to “play hard from the start”.
“We know that this game against Efes is the most important game of the season. We’re going in to it hoping to get the win. We have to match their intensity and then everything will work out from there,” Garuba told Real Madrid TV.
“They’ve got players who’ve been through a thousand battles and have played for their national teams. We have to compete hard from the start in order to win the game”.
Favourites for qualification to Final Four, Efes will be looking to control the tempo in order to be able to cruise past their opponents yet again.
Game 2 had been a dominant performance for the Istanbul side, but coach Ergin Ataman insists this could be a different story.
“We must defend decisively and well as in the first two games. We must use our different options wisely and control the rebounds in the offensive,” Ataman said.
“In the play-offs, each match is played in a different atmosphere and with a high level of combat.”
Efes center Sertac Sanli echoed his coach’s words but was confident of his side’s concentration and effort.
“We won the first two matches in the play-off series and we held our advantage. We will now play the third game in Madrid. We want to leave this match victorious and reach the Final Four,” Sanli said.
“Our opponent is an experienced team, we must be very careful. I believe that if we keep our concentration in the first two games and perform the same game, we will win this match. “