“Damn Politics”. Efes is the Euroleague champion again! But thanks to Russian clubs
Ergin Ataman’s team is the best in Europe. They did not expect?
The Euroleague season has come to an end – the winner of the Final Four has been determined at the Stark Arena in Belgrade. Turkish Anadolu Efes became the champion for the second time in a row, beating Real Madrid. And this is a real sensation. After all, just a couple of months ago, few could have imagined that Ergin Ataman’s wards would remain on the throne of the kings of Europe.
This year, Efes reached the final with grief in half: they were brought to the final stage by Vasily Mitsich, who scored an incredible long-range hit not in the last second of the match with Olympiacos (77:74). The Serbian defender, by the way, scored 23 points in the game with Real Madrid, and at the end of it he was recognized as the MVP of the Final Four.
Through the efforts of Mitsich, Larkin and the Efes company, they managed to become the champion of the Euroleague for the second time in a row. In last year’s Final Four, the Turkish club passed CSKA (89:86), and then Barcelona (86:81). Olympiacos last won the title twice in a row in 2012 and 2013.
Vasily Mitsich dragged – the main star of “Efes”
Photo: Rodolfo Molina/Getty Images
However, this time the victory in the Euroleague is more likely a failure of Real Madrid than the merit of Efes itself. Madrid imposed a fight under the basket and won a rebound on someone else’s shield, but this was not enough. Tavares even scored a double-double (14 points + 11 rebounds), but played only 21 minutes due to a bust of fouls. Sergio Llull scored only 9 points, Rudy Fernandez – 2, and the French trio of Poirier, Coser and Yabusele – 11 for three. In the third quarter, the creamers led with a +9 advantage, and then reduced the whole game to throwing hasty three-pointers, missing 13 of 15.
At the same time, the Spaniards had a chance to turn the tide of the meeting in the last seconds. 17 seconds before the final siren, “Efes” launched the final attack, having 14 seconds to possess. And the wards of Pablo Laso did not dare to break the rules. As a result, the opponent managed to keep the ball, attack the ring, and also compete with Real Madrid for the rebound. And then the final siren sounded, which became a verdict for the Madrid club. Anadolu won with a score of 58:57 – this is the most ineffective final in history.
“I guess I will think that we lost the match at the last moment. Should have fouled or should not – rebound was not received. We could take this rebound and make the last shot, but we did not manage to take a clean rebound, ”the Real Madrid coach said about this.
Real Madrid failed to take full advantage of their size advantage
Photo: Pau Barrena/Getty Images
Efes was more than ready for such pressure. The Turks fought for every point, selflessly defended themselves and opened up Tibor Pleiss, who scored in the end. But frankly, few people expected the championship of the Istanbul club this season.
According to the results of the regular season, the club took only sixth place, ahead of Monaco by one victory and Bayern Munich by two. And if the Russian teams had not been suspended from the competition, the team of Ergin Ataman would most likely have been left without the Final Four.
“It’s an unsportsmanlike decision.” Russian clubs removed from the Euroleague!
But the disqualification of the Russians only played into the hands of the Turkish team – having lost four out of six matches, Anadolu voted to annul the results of the meetings with CSKA, Zenit and UNICS. And the voice of the Muscovites (yes, the army team also took part in the issue of their removal as the founders of the turinra), by the way, became decisive in this matter. The leadership of the army team also spoke in favor of resetting the matches played, when six teams voted “for” and the same number “against”. So Efes should say a big thank you to the red and blue. And the head coach of the Turkish team Ergin Ataman spoke about this after the victory.
“I’m really sorry. I live in Turkey with Turkish people and we are all upset about what happened in this century, in 2022 in Ukraine. I am very sorry for my friends who work in Russian clubs, no one is talking about this now. I feel bad about my three colleagues. It’s all fucking politics. I hope that humanity will overcome this situation, as we defeated the coronavirus. I am optimistic that we will also be able to solve this problem,” Ataman said.
But that’s how the Final Four turned out. The team from which this was least expected became the winner of the Euroleague, defending the champion title. European basketball goes on a break, “Efes” remains the strongest team in the championship. Will Micic leave for the NBA? Or maybe Ataman will go there? We’ll find out this summer.