Galatasaray, Efes ready for final-like game

Galatasaray, Efes ready for final-like game

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Galatasaray, Efes ready for final-like game

Galatasaray Medical Park’s Joshua Shipp (R) pulls a rebound over Anadolu Efes forward Dusko Savanovic during the two teams’ first match in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Top 16 stage. AFP photo

Two Turkish teams, Galatasaray Medical Park and Anadolu Efes, will meet in a do-or-die battle in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague tonight.

Galatasaray Medical Park hosts Anadolu Efes in Group E of the Top 16 stage of the top-level club competition in European basketball.

The Lions will play on the back of two impressive victories, including a home win over Olympiacos and, more importantly, one over CSKA Moscow. The Istanbul side ended the star-studded Russians’ 13-game winning run and became the first team to beat CSKA this season.
CSKA tops the group with a 3-1 record, while Galatasaray and Olympiacos are tied 2-2. Anadolu Efes has only one win in four games.

CSKA hosts Olympiacos in another game tonight.

While Galatasaray wants to keep its momentum going, a loss means elimination for Efes.

But if it wins and CSKA beats Olympiacos, the best Efes can get is a tie for second with the winner of the Week 6 Olympiacos vs. Galatasaray matchup. In this event, a tiebreaker with Galatasary would go in favor of Efes, but would go against Efes if Olympiacos wins.

Anadolu Efes’ only win in the group came over Galatasaray in the first match day of the Top 16 stage.
Two players on each team have played for their opponent, and Galatasaray head coach Oktay Mahmuti did a four-year stint with Efes, adding intrigue to what promises to be a very intense game at Abdi Ipecki Sports Hall.

Mahmuti admitted that the game will be a tense encounter.

“At this moment before the last two games of the Top 16, excitement is very high for all of the teams in the Euroleague,” Galatasaray coach Mahmuti said. “Tomorrow, like always, we will try to play our basketball and put our hearts to win with the support of our incredible fans.”

Galatasaray Medical Park guard Hüseyin Köksal, whose defense against Serbian guard Milos Teodosic was key in the CSKA victory, said the team would battle hard against Efes. “We would like to give one more victory to our fans tomorrow. We know how good our opponent is, but we will do our best to win. We will put in our best effort, like we did against CSKA. With the help our incredible supporters we achieved what no other team could,” he said.

Galatasaray will still have a chance even if it loses tonight, but for Anadolu Efes, who built a star-studded lineup at the beginning of the season, knows that the match is their last chance.

Anadolu Efes center Esteban Batista acknowledged it was a must-win game. “We have to play at 100 percent to win. It will be a very tough game,” the Uruguayan center said. “We know that we need to recover our morale. We must win the last two games in our group to have a chance to make the Playoffs. It will be a tough game, we should play hard,” he said.

Head coach Ufuk Sarıca added it would be hard to play against the famously boisterous Abdi İpekçi crowd. “We will play in front of a crowd with a tough atmosphere,” he said. “We absolutely must win the two remaining games at our group to continue with our chances for the Playoffs.”

In another game tonight, leader Montepaschi Siena (4-0) visits Gescrap Bizkaia Bilbao (2-2) in Group F. k HDN