Efes meets EA7 in key Euroleague match

Efes meets EA7 in key Euroleague match

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Efes meets EA7 in key Euroleague match

Anadolu Efes’ Turkish center Semih Erden slam dunks during a game. The Istanbul team hosts EA7 Milano tonight in the sixth game of the regular season in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. AA photo

Anadolu Efes hopes to bounce back from its first home defeat of the season when it hosts EA7 Milano in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.

The Istanbul team is second in the Group C of the top level club competition in European basketball with a 3-2 record. However, Efes missed a chance to top the group last week when it suffered a 77-64 defeat at the hands of Zalgiris Kaunas, its first home defeat this season.

The Lithuanians are on a perfect 5-0 run and setting the pace for the group.

Defending champion Olympiacos is third with also 3-2, while EA7 Milano is fourth with 2-3.

Caja Laboral and Cedevita Zagreb both have 1-4 records.

Efes coach Oktay Mahmuti acknowledged that his team will seek a victory in the halfway through the group stage.

“We are starting the second leg of the regular season in the Euroleague,” he said. “While approaching at the end of the first round, the importance of the games increases. We have lost against Emporio Armani Milan in the first game in Italy. Now we will play at home. With the great support of our fans we want to win this game to gain an advantange in our group.”

Seeking revenge

EA7 also suffered a heavy 84-71 home defeat to Olympiacos last week and sees the game as a chance to bounce back.

“It’s a huge game for us, we really have to go out there and re-establish ourselves and our game,” forward Malik Hairston said. “We won the game in Milan so they definitely will come out to get a revenge. We need to be ready for the challenge.”

Efes was on a hot streak until last week’s defeat to Zalgiris Kaunas. Major credit has to go to guard Jordan Farmar, one of the biggest signings of the summer. The guard leads the Euroleague in performance index rating, ranks second in shots made and features in the league’s top five for points, steals, defensive rebounds and assists.

While Farmar has been the standout, Efes has other assets as well, with Sasha Vujacic, Sinan Güler, Jamon Lucas and new addition Josh Shipp all being constant threat from the wings and, when it comes to the inside game, center Semih Erden has come into his own.

EA7 has a big name center of its own to go up against Erden, in the form of Ioannis Bourousis, who is third in the league in rebounding.