The first games of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague playoffs are in the books and all the top-4 teams have managed to secure wins at home. On Wednesday night, both Real Madrid and Anadolu Efes Istanbul downed their respective opponents to claim Game 1 victories.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75-68 FC Barcelona Lassa
This may not have been a walk in the park but thanks to the impressive effort of Vasilije Micic, who paced Anadolu Efes with 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point territory to finish with 21 points and seven dimes, the blue shirts retain their homecourt advantage and put away Barcelona in their opener. As a team, Anadolu Efes knocked down 12-of-34 shots from downtown, compared to 6-of-23 from Barca, an advantage that came in handy indeed. Shane Larkin and Adrien Moerman added 12 points apiece.
Barcelona had difficulty in getting their offense flowing with the likes of Chris Singleton being limited to scoring five points on 0-for-5 shooting from 2-point range. Ante Tomic did his best to carry his team with his team-high 14 points but it would not be enough to offset their hosts’ bombardment from deep.
Real Madrid 75-72 Panathinaikos Athens
This was hands-down the most exciting game of the EuroLeague playoffs so far, with Real Madrid gutting it out to stymie Athens’ late-game run to hold on for the win.
Real Madrid had multiple players involved in the offense with Jeffrey Taylor leading the way with 13 points. They were able to put up a great team effort in the closing minutes of the game and keep the lead, despite a solid performance from Athens guard Nick Calathes who was aggressive, dropping a game-high 17 points along with four assists. They initially kept him in check but the former NBA point guard found a way to get his and it was just unfortunate that it came too little and too late.