Euroleague : Barcelona and Efes Istanbul set for ideal start

Louis de Kergorlay

Four teams were on deck this Wednesday night to start Euroleague quarter finals. Barca and Istanbul came strong to take an early lead in their respective series.

Efes Istanbul started the evening by coming on top of a strong Milan defensive side (48-64). Istanbul relied on both Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic (16 points each). French forward Adrien Moerman was also crucial in this game by snagging 7 rebounds. Milan was held to the fewest points ever by a playoff home team. On Olimpia Milano’s side, former Pelicans player Nicolo Melli was the only one to hold his own by posting up a double digit performance (10 points). He left the game due to a calf injury and joins Datome (knee), Mitoglou (doping), Kell (leg). Milan chances are growing scarce as the team lost court advantage Melli is incertain for game 2. Both teams will meet for game 2 on Thursday night (8:30 P.M CET).

“In these games, you just gotta do all the small things, dive for loose balls, get rebounds and really focus on the strengths of the other team”, mentioned Larkin. “We did a great job tonight on the defensive end. We gave up 48 points so we just gotta keep locking in on that side and I think we’ll be alright.”

“For us, it’s just 1-0”, added reigning season and Final Four MVP Micic. “The whole playoffs series will be very difficult. I guess people will enjoy it because it will be very tough. But just one game at a time.”

Barcelona overcomes clingy Bayern team

The other quarter finals game saw Barcelona victory over Bayern Munich (77-67). The regular season leaders stood up to their rank by making the difference in the 2nd quarter (23-11). They were led by Brandon Davies with 19 points while Dante Exum was huge with his 12 units off the bench. The German side had the game best scorer with Vladimir Lucic (20 points). Other spanish team, Real Madrid, will play again this Wednesday night against Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

“At the end of the day they deserved to win”, admitted Bayern coach Andrea Trinchieri.“To tell you the truth, I am very proud of my team, we came back, we fought and we had also a very bad injury, very severe, of Darrun Hilliard, that shows how physical was the game.”

Photo : Dante Exum (Euroleague)

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