Efes launches playoff bid against Olympiacos

Efes launches playoff bid against Olympiacos

ATHENS, Greece
Efes launches playoff bid against Olympiacos

Olympiacos, is a very strong team and deserves respect, Anadolu Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti says. AA photo

Turkey’s sole hope Olympiacos visits reigning Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion Efes in their playoff series opener.

The two teams meet for the third time this season, but now in the playoffs it’s for the greatest stakes.

In their previous two meetings – both in the regular season, the home team won by a sizeable margin.

Efes ripped the Reds 98-72 in October as Jordan Farmar dominated to the tune of 25 points, eight rebounds and nine assists; Olympiacos routed Efes 75-53 in November behind 17 points from Kostas Papanikolaou.

Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti said: “Now our opponent in the playoffs is Olympiacos, the defending champs. They are a very strong team and they deserve respect. They are last season’s champs and kept most of their squad.”

“We must be very careful, there will be a very experienced team against us,” Mahmuti added. “You could compensate a loss in the previous stages but now you cannot. We do not want to make any mistakes.”

Olympiacos holds the home court advantage in the best-of-five series, which will continue with the second game on April 12, also in Piraeus.

Efes will host the game three on April 17 and, if needed, game four on April 19.

“Olympiacos is last year’s Euroleague champion but I believe that we are as good as them,” Efes center Kerem Gönlüm said. “Now we must put our fight and winning desire on court and win at least a game in Athens, and then winning the two games at home to the way to Final Four.”