Looking for all the world like Mr. Nice Guy, the tallest player on Efes turned into a killer in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game on Saturday.
Pleiss's killer instinct turned Efes around after halftime
Tibor Pleiss cycled through five different Turkish Airlines EuroLeague clubs, never more than two seasons in any of them, before landing with Anadolu Efes Istanbul in 2018.
Having stayed in Istanbul with Efes for four seasons since, he is now a two-time champion whose role in the newest title was huge.
After winning the EuroLeague last year in his hometown of Cologne with some key baskets in the championship game, on Saturday in Belgrade, his contribution was as big as they get as Efes slowly turned around the scoreboard to defeat Real Madrid 57-58 and claim back-to-back titles.
Pleiss scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, the early part of which he was all of Efes's offense, scoring the team's only 7 points for the first 7 minutes after halftime. That kept Efes close enough for Pleiss to come to the fore again in the fourth quarter, with 10 big points, none more important than the tip-in with 1:05 to play that proved the difference in the final score.
Pleiss also had team-highs of 7 points and 2 blocks to register a performance index rating of 24, the highest in the championship game.
Pleiss is all smiles off the court, even without winning titles, but he was ready to explain where his killer instinct came from in the second half on Saturday.
"Actually, I got it in the last few days. I had a lot of mosquitos in my room. I don't know where they came from. I think from the air conditioning. I'm just guessing. I killed about 25 of them," he joked. "I mean, I like animals, but the mosquitos, if they are flying around me, I don't like it so much. So if you see the walls in my hotel room, they're kind of bloody."
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