Follow all the latest news and updates for Saturday's games, the third-place game followed by the EuroLeague Championship Game, here with the Game Blog!
Game Blog: Back-to-back titles for Efes!
Efes runs out the clock
After Llull’s tip-in made it 57-58 with 44.2 seconds remaining, Real never got the ball back. First Micic took off some time by drawing a foul from Yabusele. Then Larkin got the ball and drove to the basket and was fouled with 17.4 seconds remaining. Real opted to play defense and not foul, but Efes milked the clock and got the ball to Larkin who hoisted a three-pointer from the corner with about 4 seconds left. Even though he missed, there were too many hands for any Real player to grab a clean rebound and the clock ran out on Real’s season. Efes is the first back-to-back champion since Olympiacos in 2012 and 2013.
The little things
Sergio Llull goes 1 for 2 from the line. Real gets the offensive rebound and Tavares is fouled with a chance to tie it. However, he goes 1 for 2! At the other end, a monster offensive rebound by Singleton leads to a tip-in by Pleiss. The details may decide the championship and in the second-to-least minute, more details worked out in Efes’s favor.
It all comes down to this!
After a triple by Deck, the score is tied at 53-53 with 2-plus minutes remaining. The while season, the 2022 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championship, will be decided here in the closing minutes. It’s all the drama we could have asked for!
Pleiss standing tall
Whenever the Real defense takes its eyes off Pleiss, the Efes guards make sure to find him. The Efes center took a pass from Micic to sink a go-ahead baseline jumper that made it 50-51 and then the same connection resulted in an alley-oop slam. Pleiss is someone to watch here down the stretch.
Efes has the lead in the stands
It wasn’t clear during the player introductions or even early in the game, but now that Efes has rallied to take the lead, the pockets of Efes fans around Stark Arena can be easily seen an heard. There was a roar on the go-ahead Micic three and Singleton’s steal and dunk brought them to their feet!
Pleiss, Micic rally Efes
Tibor Pleiss and Micic scored all the points for Efes in a 2-9 run to get within 2. Ataman sent Micic to the bench to rest with 1 minute left in the half. After some pushing between James Anderson and Poirier, which the referees reviewed on the monitor and awarded double technical fouls, Micic had an extended rest. Larkin had a chance to tie it, but missed 2 free throws and the third quarter finished 42-40 for Real.
Tavares ties offensive rebound record
There will be more on this later here on the EuroLeague’s official website, but with his 8th offensive rebound, Tavares has tied the record for offensive boards in the championship game during the Final Four era. He joins Ken Barlow of Maccabi Tel Aviv and Dragan Tarlac of Olympiacos Piraeus for the record. Barlow set the record against Milan in 1988 and Tarlac matched him against Barcelona in 1997.
Hanga gives Real biggest lead yet
Hanga buried a deep three that gave Real the game’s biggest lead so far, 40-31. Llull, who assisted on that triple, missed a leaner that could have made it a double-digit lead. That prompted a timeout in which Coach Ataman will try to recharge his trope with only 15 minutes left in the season.
To start the second half
Real sends out Abalde, Hanga, Causeur, Yabusele and Tavares. Efes counters with Larkin, Micic, Elijah Bryant, Singleton and Bryant Dunston.
First-half numbers that matter
Real Madrid has delivered 9 assists and committed just 1 turnover. Seven players from Madrid have dished at least 1 assist. Efes has just 2 assists and 4 turnovers. Real is getting plenty of contributions off the bench and Efes… not so much. Real’s reserves have scored 56% of their points and Efes’s just 14%. Between its turnovers and 8 offensive rebounds, Real has attempted 7 more shots than Efes, so even though both teams are shooting 50% on twos and Efes is shooting slightly better on threes and free throws, Real holds the lead.
Efes guards come through
Just like Real leaned on its strength in the frontcourt to jump in front, Efes has stayed close behind its prolific backcourt. Larkin has taken on multiple defenders and finished around others for two spectacular layups and Micic drained a three-pointer to get Efes within 2. A triple by Randolph gave Real a bit more breathing room at the break.
Important minutes for Real
Los Blancos’ entire lineup early in the second quarter consists of players off the bench: Llull, Causeur, Rudy Fernandez, Randolph and Poirier. If Real can withstand the pressure, it can finish the half with all of its starters fresh. Efes has played with at least two starters on the floor at all times so far.
Tavares sits with 2 fouls
Tavares fouled Shane Larkin on a layup, leading to a three-point play that brought Efes within 15-14 at the end of the quarter. Foul trouble was just what Efes was hoping for and now Real will hope that Vincent Poirier can match his prowess because the outside shots are not falling for Los Blancos, which is 0 for 8 from deep. Larkin and Micic have each made threes for Efes.
Efes needs an answer for Tavares
The Real Madrid All-EuroLeague center scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the first 7 and a half minutes alone! Five of those rebounds were on the offensive glass. Efes must find an answer for Tavares who is playing like a man possessed. To try and change things, Coach Ataman has sent Bryant Dunston and Chris Singleton in.
What we learned from the opening minutes
The nerves or the championship game showed as neither team made a basket in the first 2 minutes – the first points came from a single Micic free throw at 8:12. What we can see early is that Real is using Abalde as its primary playmaker and Hanga is in a secondary role. On defense, Yabusele has picked up Micic at halfcourt on a few possessions, too.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups
Real’s bigs are pumped
While most of the players on the two teams are taking it easy on the pre-game layup lines, several members of the Real Madrid frontcourt are hyped and showing it. Guerschon Yabusele, Vincent Poirier, Jeffery Taylor and Walter Tavares have all throws down some monster slams in the warmups. It’s Saturday night’s main event and these guys are feeling it!
Juan Nuñez to dress for Los Blancos
There has been much conversation around Belgrade about who would fill the roster spot of injured Real Madrid guard Nigel Williams-Goss for the championship game. Coach Pablo Laso decided on 17-year-old talent Juan Nuñez. The promising teenager has already appeared in 10 EuroLeague games this season, including once in the playoffs against Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv. He played a season-high 10 minutes against Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul in Round 18, scored a season-high 5 against ALBA Berlin in Round 13 and dished a season-high 3 assists against UNICS Kazan in Round 7.
Finalists are in the building!
While Barcelona and Olympiacos tussle in the Third-Place Game, the finalists are getting ready for Saturday night’s main event. Real Madrid was followed minutes later by Anadolu Efes Istanbul in arriving at Stark Arena late in the third quarter so their players can change, stretch and be ready to take the court for early shots as soon as the early game finishes.
Reds take advantage of Barca’s third-quarter woes
Real Madrid turned its semifinal against Barcelona around with a 2-17 run to finish the third quarter and that same quarter is proving to be a problem for Barcelona tonight. After surging to a 57-42 lead, the Reds finish the third on a 2-10 run in which Vezenkov scored 8.
Barca regains control
After Olympiacos completed its comeback and the lead changed hands several times, Barcelona finished the half strong with 8 unsawed points to lead 45-38 at the break. Nick Calathes fed Sertac Sanli for a triple and then Mirotic set up Alex Abrines for a three. Calathes banked in a shot to conclude the run.
Olympiacos closes the gap
Tyler Dorsey scored 6 first-quarter points and All-EuroLeague forward Sasha Vezenkov contributed 5 points and 3 rebounds as the Reds closed the gap. Hassan Martin’s tip-in that narrowly beat the first-quarter buzzer made it 20-18 after 10 minutes.
Mirotic takes charge early
Barcelona has jumped out to a 10-2 lead with EuroLeague MVP Nikola Mirotic running the show. The star power forward has scored twice and dished 2 assists in that charge. He also suffered an incidental elbow to his face from Olympiacos forward Kostas Papanikolaou, but he kept on shining.
Here are the starters...
Good afternoon, Turkish Airlines EuroLeague fans! The day has come to crown a EuroLeague champion! It will either be Anadolu Efes Istanbul repeating as champion or Real Madrid winning its 11th continental title in Belgrade, the place where it won its 10th in 2018. Stay tuned as we will be here with you until a new champ lifts the trophy. First, however, at 16:00 CET, FC Barcelona and Olympiacos Piraeus play for third place.