Unics vs Efes Preview

The preview, odds, and pick for the derby of Euroleague round 18 Unics vs. Efes.

When: Thursday, December 30, 2021, CET: 17:00

Where: Basket-Kholl Arena, Kazan, Russian

The Euroleague winner, Efes Pilsen, travels to Russia to meet with Unics Kazan in round 18 of the top European basketball competition. The champions aren’t playing well for the moment, being way below the projected position in the standings. Meanwhile, the Russians are in the playoff zone and intend to stay there until the end of the regular part of the campaign. This being a clash of two direct rivals for the top-eight place generates a lot of attention.

Unics vs Efes Preview

Preview

Unics

The team from Kazan had five wins in a row and was near clinching the sixth one against Barcelona on the road. Unics was up 10 or more points throughout most of the game, entering the final few minutes with plus 15, but they lost, 111-109. We aren’t pretty sure how and why Velimir Perasovic’s unit stopped in the crucial situations.

Barcelona scored 37 points in the last 12 minutes, while Unics delivered just 20. Lorenzo Brown had 27 points in this game, with seven boards and nine assists, being phenomenal on both ends of the floor. However, when needed the most, he didn’t show up. 

The former New York Knicks player, Mario Hezonja, scored 18 points, and John Brown added 21 buckets and Isaiah Canaan 20. Unics shot 44.8% for three, which is, in fact, their biggest strength.

Efes 

The champions have survived a thriller at home in the last game, defeating Red Star Belgrade in the last moments. The Euroleague MVP, Vasilije Micic, dropped two free throws in the final seconds of the event to lift his team to an 84-83 victory.

Efes struggled to provide consistency, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and they couldn’t control the glass properly, allowing the Serbian team too many second-chance points. 

Micic exploded in the second half, scoring all of his 21 points in those 20 minutes. Tibor Pleiss had 23 buckets and seven boards and was the one who held the Turkish team close to Red Star in the first half. Shane Larkin didn’t play as expected, finishing the event with only eight points and missing all four three-point attempts, but the American had nine assists. 

Unics vs. Efes Head to Head

The first match of the season ended with Efes’ close victory, 71-68. The Russians were leading throughout three and a half quarters, but couldn’t resist the hosts’ surge in the finish. 

Beaubois had 14 for the home side, Elijah Brown the same, while Pleis scored 12 points. Both Larkin and Micic were out in this one. Lorenzo Brown and Canaan had 16 for the guests, and Hezonja scored 13.

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Unics vs. Efes Prediction

Even though the Turks are the reigning champs, we aren’t sure about their victory. Furthermore, our choice here would be the hosts, who have played very good basketball lately. We are aware that the oddsmakers and analysts favor Efes, but we simply aren’t witnessing any consistency in their game, and their offense depends too much on Larkin and Micic. On the other side, Unics is very potent in attack, and we believe that this aspect of the match will create a difference in their favor.

Our verdict: Unics Kazan Win

Unics vs. Efes Odds

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