The Turkish TBL finals series got underway on Tuesday with Anadolu Efes Istanbul playing host to Pinar Karsiyaka Izmir. Efes managed to emerge with a 95-92 win, but needed overtime to pass a tricky Karsiyaka team that proved why it was able to stun Fenerbahce in the semi-final. The Izmir club is certainly the underdog here, with just one previous league title to its name, while Anadolu Efes is Turkey’s winningest club with 13 championships.
Karsiyaka shocked Anadolu’s Abdi Ipekci Arena in the first quarter with a blistering display that saw them stream 28 points through the nets while keeping Efes at 19 points. In the second half the Istanbul giant (chasing its first title since 2009) cut into the deficit with its own hot streak, nailing 29 points to 22 to make the score 48-50 through the long break. Efes continued to control the momentum in the third stanza and thanks to an 18-14 run managed to hold a 66-64 lead through thirty minutes. In the fourth act Karsiyaka responded and in the closing seconds locked the scoreboard as regulation time ended. The overtime period saw the Efes faithful spur their team on to a 14-11 game winning run. By that point, the visitors were bleeding personal fouls and would finish the game with 28 in all.
Thomas Huertal will be a key player for Anadolu Efes Istanbul in this finals series and he was hot tonight, scoring 25 points. Huertal was followed by Nenad Krstic with 17 points (and 7 rebounds), and Stephane Lasme with 10 points. Dario Saric had the only double-double of the contest with 15 points and 14 boards.
Bobby Dixon kept Karsiyaka ticking through the buckets with a game high 26 points, while he had a solid all round game with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Jon Diebler notched 19 points in the losing effort, while D.J. Strawberry hit 16 points and Kenny Gabriel 10 points.