Can Real Madrid stop the monster from Turkey?

Three games ago, everybody was wondering who’ll be able to stop Real Madrid’s 13-game win streak and now, after two Euroleague rounds the question moves towards Anadolu Efes, who won 19 out of last 20 games in all competitions. This match will bring face to face the best records in Euroleague standings and two of the main favourites to win the trophy. In their last meeting, Anadolu won at home 76-60, thanks to Krunoslav Simon and Bryant Dunston, both scoring 17 points apiece.

Real Madrid must recover quickly, because after two Euroleague defeats suffered in Russia against CSKA and Khimki Moscow, they were outscored again, at home, in Spanish League by Baskonia. They started the game very well and after a 32-18 win in the first quarter, everything seemed to be concluded that night. But then, Real Madrid had one of the worst quarters in their history. They scored only six points, four from the action and two from the free-throw line, while their opponents scored 21 and took a one-point lead at the halftime. Baskonia lead the game until the fourth quarter when, Real made a comeback and build an 8 points lead, 78-70. The visitors didn’t give up and responded with a 12-0 run which gave them the lead until the final buzzer when Baskonia won 95-94. The main contributors for Real Madrid were: Facundo Campazzo (27 points and 4 assists) and Sergio Llull (23 points). Rudy Fernandez was recovered in time, but Anthony Randolph is out for this game.

There are not many things to be said about Anadolu Efes. They have a tremendous season, being in the first position in both Euroleague and TBL. To win 19 games out of 20 requires big determination, great team-plays and solid chemistry between your big and strong roster. In their last two Euroleague games, they received the visit of Milano and ASVEL Lyon, but both teams were hammered there, 88-68 respectively 101-74. In their last game against the French team, everything went perfect for the hosts with 101 points scored, 11 players with over 10 minutes on court, very good shooting and few turnovers made. Shane Larkin was a one-man show, finishing the game with 29 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists in 28 minutes. Rodrigue Beaubois (14 points and 3 rebounds) and Sertac Sanli (13 points and 6 rebounds) also had good contributions here. For this game, Bryant Dunston is out, while Vasilije Micic is doubtful.

This is a must-see game for every basketball fans because we have face to face best records in Euroleague. For sure, Real Madrid will try to end their 3-games losing streak but will be very hard against Efes. Rudy will play, which give them another weapon offensively, but their main concern must be Shane Larkin who is in very good shape. If Micic is out, then Real Madrid has the first chance, but if he will play, the chances are 50-50, in my opinion.

Photo: Euroleague

Bogdan Vasile Tirc