Anadolu Efes Istanbul maintained its grip of fourth place in the standings with a commanding 81-72 home victory over Khimki Moscow Region.
The hosts took command with an 11-0 run in the second quarter and never trailed after that, improving to 12-6 for the season. Vasilije Micic led the victors with 16 points and 8 assists, while James Anderson, Adrien Moerman and Bryant Dunston all scored 11. Jordan Mickey registered 14 points and 9 rebounds in defeat for Khimki, which never gave up and came within 6 points in the final quarter, but dropped to 7-11 to end a two-game winning run.
Baskets were traded evenly in the opening exchanges, with Vladimir Micov scoring twice for Efes, but Andrey Zubkov bettering that with three scores for Khimki. The hosts surged ahead with an 11-0 run, including a three-pointer from Rodrigue Beaubois and a big slam for Brock Motum, for a 20-12 lead. Tony Crocker stopped the rot, but Motum netted a triple and it was 23-16 at the end of the first. A driving layup-and-one from Shane Larkin started the second quarter, but Mickey scored twice in a 0-9 run to bring Khimki back. Moerman, Garlon Green and Micic all struck from deep before a mid-range jumper from Charles Jenkins made it 36-34 at the half. A four-point play from Micic and a triple by Dogus Balbay started the second half and the lead extended to double digits with a smart close-range finish from Dunston, who soon scored again to take his team past 50 points. Free throws advanced the lead to 57-40 as Khimki struggled to get anything going on offense, but Mickey sparked a recovery by scoring twice, including a buzzer-beating triple to make it 62-51 with one quarter remaining. A three-point play from Mickey brought the margin down to single figures and a long-range strike from Jenkins made it 70-64. But a three-point play from Dunston gave Efes breathing room and Moerman and Krunoslav Simon both scored to extinguish any doubt.
Team effort sparks Efes
Only Vasilije Micic went past a dozen points for Efes, but that didn’t matter because it was a real team effort from Ergin Ataman’s men. All 10 players who took to the court for the home side scored at least 4 points and an impressive total of 25 assists – the team’s second-highest of the season – were nicely spread among seven different players, including 6 for Rodrigue Beaubois and 4 from Dogus Balbay
Efes takes better care of the ball
The first half was close partly because Khimki crashed the boards to claim 6 offensive rebounds before Efes had any. That – along with 8 first-half turnovers committed by Efes – allowed the visiting team to take 37 shots before the break while Efes had attempted only 26. But Efes committed fewer turnovers (3) and allowed only 1 more offensive rebound after the break and surged clear as a result.
Long-range woes harm Khimki
A major reason why Khimki couldn’t capitalize on all those extra shots was inaccurate long-range shooting. The visiting team started 0-of-7 from three-point range and only marginally improved as the game went on, finishing with just 6 conversions from 26 tries (23.1%). Khimki also struggled to share the ball, dishing just 11 assists.
Efes is at home again next week with a local derby against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul and Khimki remains on the road with a trip to Olympiacos Piraeus.