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Another big clash is coming up in Milan, Coach Messina: “We have to use every energy against Efes”


After a clash among league-leading teams, another one is coming up. Olimpia defeated Maccabi – who was in first place and coming off six straight wins – and now faces Anadolu Efes Istanbul, last season’s runner-up, another league-leading team, coming from three consecutive triumphs. It’s an extremely hard game, even if Coach Ettore Messina was able to keep all his players behind the 27 minutes that Vlado Micov played. Sergio Rodriguez had an amazing 11-assist outing in 26 minutes and Luis Scola scored 20 points in 23 minutes. Olimpia is riding an eight-game streak of shooting consistently over 40 percent from three and is still leading the league converting over 44 percent for the season. Olimpia is also third at defending the three-point shot. Efes is very efficient inside: Maccabi is the only team better in two-point shooting. After a terrific duel against Scottie Wilbekin, Olimpia’s perimeter players will have another tough night against Shane Larkin (19.3 points per game, 44.7 percent from three) and Vasilije Micic (18.1 points and 6.8 assists per game) who’s also leading the league in steals.

COACH ETTORE MESSINA – “We face a team who made the final last year, full of talent and with a great team organization. From our side, we need to gather all the possible energy we can gather, after a beautiful but very demanding night, and pay attention to the smallest details, in order to have the chance to try to win this game.”

EFES – After coming up just short of a stunning championship, Efes is back on top, in spite of losing power forward Adrien Moerman due to an injury. He was replaced by Chris Singleton (41.2 percent from three), coming from Barcelona. It’s a very tough team inside with Bryant Dunston (he missed the last two game swith a shoulder injury, he’s scoring 11.4 points per game and is blocking 1.6 shots per outing) and Tibor Pless (64.9% from two). Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic are the only teammates both among the top-10 scorers, but Efes has a defensive stopper in Dogus Balbay, the explosive Frenchman Rodrigue Beaubois, Olimpia’s former star Kruno Simon and the veteran James Anderson. From Moscow, Efes took Alec Peters, a stretch 4 who played with Sergio Rodriguez last season.

MISCELLANEA Sergio Rodriguez is two threes away of making 400 triples for his career, the seventh player to do in history. He’s also a 10-game streak with at least one steal and made at least one three in 14 of his last 15 games… Michael Roll has a streak of seven games with at least a three made going on… Luis Scola is three two-point basket away from catching Nikola Vujcic with 850 for his career and a seventh place All-Time.