Credit: imago images/Eibner-Scanpix
Credit imago images/Eibner-Scanpix

Anadolu Efes started the season not the way they would like it. Following the heavy defeat against Real Madrid, they became 0-2 with the home loss against CSKA (96-100).

Player of the Game
Tornike  Shengelia
EFF
29
Tornike Shengelia
Points 23
Accuracy 7-8
Rebounds 4
Assists 3

As an early matchup at this part of the season for the winners of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, the game turned out to be an offensive bonanza for the visitors.

Efes will have to get ready for two away games against ASVEL and Milano after playing a tough game against Pinar Karsiyaka in the BSL, who are currently undefeated. Ergin Ataman looked concerned, especially when double-game Euroleague week is just around the corner.

"Defensively, we played a terrible game," Ataman said after the game. "To give 100 points on the home court, it isn't easy to win in that situation. In the first half, we have them 8 offensive rebounds, 15 points after these rebounds."

"I think today we didn't answer physically. Except for Micic, we missed a lot of shots. Shane is 0/7 from 3 pointers. In the last quarter, we tried to come back, but it was not enough. Also, they made 37 shots from the free throws. I don't know, our defense was not good, we made a lot of fouls. It was not a good game for us," he added.

As Ataman lamented, giving too many offensive boards and second chances to their opponents could become a real headache for Anadolu Efes this season.

Currently, they are among the top four teams in the number of offensive rebounds given to the opponents per game (13.5), only trailing behind ASVEL (15), Monaco (15), and Milano (14).  

Besides, the inability of Efes to disrupt the rhythm virtually any part of the game allowed. CSKA scored explosively but also with reliable stability - (26-25-28-21 in each quarter, respectively).

Efes struggled to protect the rim as Tornike Shengelia, and Johannes Voigmtmann set the tone in the very early part of the game.

Tibor Pleiss did not play very extensively due to Ataman's preference. Filip Petrusev and Bryant Dunston could not find many ways to counter-measure the effective touches in the Efes painted area.

Shengelia finished the game with 23 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds and did not forget to add a demonstrative putback dunk late in the game to summarize the matters. 

"Yes, we have some problems protecting the rim. We had certain problems against Tavares in the first game. Today, it was Shengelia. Filip Petrusev is struggling against these types of tough physical players.

Perhaps the best defensive player was Pleiss in the painted area, despite his lack of pace. We expect Bryan Dunston to help us with rim protection, but he's having problems with rebounds as well. Perhaps more than the defense itself, we had certain issues with rebounds as we gave them 15 points out of second chances," said Ataman.

Protecting the restricted area became a problem of protecting the 3 point zone as many CSKA post-up actions finished with weakside three-pointers from Clyburn, Ukhov, and Voigtmann.

CSKA hit 12 threes (12/27, 44%) with a relatively balanced contribution: No player sending more than five attempts other than Voigtmann.

Currently, Efes sits on the top of the list of most 3-point attempts given (with 62 total, 31 per average) while their opponents are shooting with 38% behind the arc.

Despite all the adversities, Ataman showed his predator instincts once again by sending a surprising pressing duo of Dogus Balbay and Erten Gazi into the game for defensive pressure and the last minute push.

This late move triggered a promising rally to rewind the memories back to last season's semi-final game in the Final Four, where CSKA fell short of their own comeback run. A daunting rally from Efes turned a 9-point game into a two-point game, from 2:06 to 0:08 left in the clock, but not more. 

It is also important to note that Efes started last season with two straight losses and remained 1-4 after five games. Still, the departure of Sertac Sanli to Barcelona and the injury of Krunoslav Simon appear to be distorting factors against team balance in both ends.

Ataman might need to find some fine-tune measures to put the team back on the track to the last season's glory. 

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Stambulo Anadolu Efes
Maskvos CSKA
49%
32/65
Field goals
49%
29/59
31
Rebounds
36
16
Assists
21
5
Steals
5
84%
21/25
Free throws
81%
30/37
25
Fouls
25

Best players

Vasilije  Micic
32 PTS
11/18 FG
3/3 FT
Tornike  Shengelia
23 PTS
7/8 FG
7/8 FT
James  Anderson
7 REB
4 DREB
3 OREB
Johannes  Voigtmann
9 REB
7 DREB
2 OREB
Shane  Larkin
7 As
2 TO
32 MIN
Johannes  Voigtmann
7 As
4 TO
30 MIN
Vasilije  Micic
23 EFF
57% 2P%
64% 3P%
Tornike  Shengelia
29 EFF
100% 2P%
67% 3P%