Credit: Reuters – Scanpix
Credit Reuters – Scanpix

After a tough week that Anadolu Efes Istanbul lost against three important rivals both in the Euroleague and the domestic scene, the stakes on the table rose abruptly for the home game against UNICS Kazan.

Player of the Game
Adrien  Moerman
Adrien Moerman
Points 10
Accuracy 3-5
Rebounds 9
Assists 1

Despite falling behind 25-33 towards the end of the first half, titleholders Efes managed to come back to get the first Euroleague win of the season.

"I think after the first five minutes, we improved our defense," Ergin Ataman said after the game. "Especially in the second half, with Erten Gazi, Rodrigue Beaubois, and Elijah Bryant playing in the lineup. We made a good defense to their guards, and it was the key tonight because actually, we are not playing our regular basketball."

Meanwhile, UNICS Kazan coach Velimir Perasovic also mentioned the shift of strategy of Efes to turn the game. 

"Efes deserves this win. I think it was a very open game. He had our opportunities but in the last quarter, Efes found a way to attack our switching defense and found the tough 3s, which led them the game to go Efes' side."

However, last years' most efficient EuroLeague offense still looks far away. For Ergin Ataman, this is due to injury problems, and everything will be fine whenever Vasilje Micic and Krunoslav Simon come back.

In the meantime, Elijah Bryant played an impactful debut for his new club with 14 important points (3/5 2 FG and 2/6 3 FG, 4 rebounds, and 3 turnovers)

"We are without Micic and Simon, and obviously, these are very important players. All our offensive systems fell," Ataman admitted. "We got a lot of contribution from Elijah Bryant in the second half, and then we found the way to win."

"I don't have a panic about the future because I'm sure that when our 3 guards join the team, we will continue to fight for our big goal," Efes' head coach added.

2-pointers this season

Points made: 17,2
Accuracy: 53,1%
Place in standings: 15
Record max: 21
Record min: 14
Most made 2FGs: Vasilije Micic

The big question is, when could Micic, Simon, and James Anderson return?  The last years' MVP did not play against Fenerbahce due to his injury, and it looks like Efes' longing will continue for a while.

Ataman made it very clear that Micic is not playing purely because of injury problems.

"James Anderson will not be able to play for two weeks, at least. As for Micic, there is a problem with his knee, and he's been trying himself in training for the last two days.

He could not endure more than 5 minutes in these trainings. His case is a little bit uncertain because normally, players get sidelined for 2 weeks for that type of injury. For Micic, it has been 6 days. He has a muscle tear. But we are trying to have him as soon as possible. There is a double game week waiting for us.

Krunoslav Simon's injury is taking a long time. It has been 7 weeks now. He tried himself against Real Madrid for the first Euroleague game, but he was not effective.

Therefore, he turned back to treatment. Tomorrow, he is going to start with runs; and contingent on his effort shown there, perhaps we might have a chance to have him in the squad next week. But again, his form is doubtful because he has not been playing with the basketball for 6 weeks," Ataman gave a detailed comment regarding his players' injuries.

Upon a question, Ergin Ataman reiterated his trust for the current squad but does not rule out a new addition as a big player. 

"Our first aim is to solve problems within our own squad. We are trying to bring all our players to a higher form level. We have all the players from last years' team except Sertac, and we also have our young player Yigitcan (Saybir).

I think some of our players are not on form right now, especially Bryant Dunston and Chris Singleton. If we still can not solve our problems, we can look for a good defender and aggressive rebounder type of player with athletic capacity and good quality. Only if we are convinced that it is worth adding a pinpoint player as we did in the Elijah Bryant case," Ataman concluded.

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Stambulo Anadolu Efes
Kazanės UNIKS
Field goals

Best players

Rodrigue  Beaubois
14 PTS
5/14 FG
2/2 FT
Isaiah  Canaan
16 PTS
5/8 FG
3/4 FT
Adrien  Moerman
Mario  Hezonja
Shane  Larkin
5 As
6 TO
26 MIN
Mario  Hezonja
5 As
3 TO
28 MIN
Adrien  Moerman
21 EFF
33% 2P%
100% 3P%
Lorenzo  Brown
23 EFF
63% 2P%
40% 3P%