Anadolu Efes forces decider against Olympiacos with last-second miracle
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Efes Anadolu forced the decisive fifth game thanks to Jamon Lucas Gordon's last-second heroics despite playing catch-up for most of the game. AFP photoAnadolu Efes sensationally forced a fifth and deciding game in their best-of-five Euroleague playoff series against defending champions Olympiacos, scoring a last-second basket to win 74-73 despite trailing against the Greek giants for most of the match.
Efes’ American point guard Jamon Lucas Gordon only picked up 10 points in the contest, but his last two were priceless for the Turkish club, as he acrobatically palmed home a failed three-point attempt with 1.9 seconds remaining to put Efes’ noses in front in a game in which they were forced to play catch-up almost from the opening tipoff.
The Istanbul side, aiming to return to the Euroleague Final Four for the first time in 12 years, might have needed the victory to force a final game, but it was Olympiacos that came out with the better start, pacing themselves to a 20-12 lead after the first quarter.
The Turkish side endeavored to cut into the lead, but found it difficult to do so, particularly as Olympiacos continued their dominance from outside the three-point line.
The Greek giants were led through the first half by Kostas Papanikolaou, who scored 14 points, including four three-pointers, helping his team take a 44-38 lead into the break.
Efes attempted to chip into Olympiacos’ lead, without managing enough momentum to overturn the Greeks’ advantage through three quarters.
Trailing 58-56 going into the fourth, Efes finally forged ahead briefly, forging a slim 62-60 lead before being pegged back.
Semih Erdem had a chance to put Efes up by four with a pair of free-throws with just over six minutes remaining, but the Turkish star missed them both, ceding the momentum to Olympiacos. The champions seemed destined to close out the series away from home, only to be pegged back in the late stages by a furious Efes comeback that set the stage for Gordon’s last-second heroics.
Jordan Farmar topped all Efes scorers with 15 points, while Acie Law posted the most for the champions with 15.
Olympiacos will host Efes back in Greece for a decisive game 5 on a date to be decided later.