The opening of Round 10 in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague has brought us a new team on top of the standings. In a battle between two teams with identical 7-2 records, it was Anadolu Efes that bagged a key win on the road over Armani Exchange Milan 76-81.
The win takes Efes to 8-2, moving them up to first place (for now). FC Barcelona Lassa is the only team remaining that can achieve an 8-2 record and they play tonight.
For Milano, while the loss was a disappointment to the fans in attendance, the club is still in a relatively “safe” spot (3rd).
Interestingly enough, this is also the first road win in the EuroLeague when it comes to the now 10-game matchups of these two teams. This adds an accent of value to the win as Efes is able to pull off the exception to the long-standing rule.
At the core of Efes’ defense on Thursday night was Tibor Pleiss, who recorded 14 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks on the night. He was also ultra-efficient on the offensive end of the floor, going 6-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Shane Larkin was the top-scorer for Efes in this one with 17 points.
But the X-factor in Efes’ win was their successful run at the line. They made 23-of-24 free throws in this game and made those bonus points count when it mattered most.
Milan leaned heavily on their 3-point shooting, but only hit 12 of their 31 attempts from deep.
There were three other games on tap to open Round 10.
Crvena Zvezda came up with a stunning road win of their own, besting Zalgiris Kaunas 59-61 in a low-scoring affair. Olympiacos Piraeus improved to 4-6 after defeating ALBA Berlin 80-99. Lastly, Valencia Basket stunned a visiting Khimki Moscow Region with an 89-84 homestead defense.