Anadolu Efes overcame an early deficit to produce their second consecutive win, and Shane Larkin led the way.
Shane scored a season-high 26 points on 9-of-14 from the field, including an incredible 6-of-7 from deep, as Efes defeated Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv 92-78 on the road at Menora Mivtachim Arena in Israel in Round 16. The victory improved Efes to 8-8, all alone in eighth in the EuroLeague standings, breaking a tie with several other teams including Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv.
“It was a big game for us,” Shane said. “We came in here tied in the standings with this team, and it was a big game for both sides. So it was good for us to come in here and play hard on the defensive end, make some shots and get a big road win. It was difficult. Both teams came from Istanbul. They played at Fenerbahce the other day. It was tough for both teams. We had the better night. The atmosphere was great tonight, and I’m just glad we were able to get a win.”
Shane didn’t get the start, and Efes missed his energy, falling behind early. They trailed 27-20 after one. But No. 0 made up for list time with 12 points in the second quarter as Efes pulled ahead. His back-to-back-buckets just three minutes into the quarter pushed Efes to the lead. At halftime, they held a 50-47 lead.
Efes put the hammer down with their defense in the second half, limiting Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv under 20 points in both of the final two quarters. Meanwhile, Shane kept scoring, including two huge threes midway through the frame that kept Tel Aviv at arm’s length. Those consecutive treys took a slim 58-57 lead with under five minutes to go in the third and turned it into a 64-57 advantage with 3:49 remaining in the quarter. He added another three a minute later to make it 67-59 and Efes held a seven-point lead at the end of the quarter.
Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv clawed within four with five-and-a-half minutes left in the game, but Shane answered a Keenan Evans three with one more of his own to again extend the advantage. That was the start of a 9-0 Efes run to put the game away.
Along with 26 points, Shane added six assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block. He’s now averaging 18.8 points, 5.2 assists and nearly two steals per game over the last six for Efes, and they’re 4-2 in that time.
The defending EuroLeague champions return to EL action in Round 17 next week when they host Crvena Zvezda Mts Belgrade on Wednesday, December 22 at Sinan Erdem Sports Hall. Tip-off is slated for 8:30pm local time, 12:30 p.m. ET.