The 2022-23 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season is considered by many to be the best in competition history. It featured the closest regular season to date, three playoff series that went down to Game 5 and a championship game that came down to the final shot. Let's take a look back and check out 10 memorable moments from a one-of-a-kind campaign, in chronological order.
Ten memorable moments from the 2022-23 season
Regular Season, Round 21: Baskonia, Efes deliver instant classic
Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz outlasted Anadolu Efes Istanbul 114-111 in overtime in the second highest-scoring game in EuroLeague history. Darius Thompson set a Baskonia record by dishing 16 assists, which was also a EuroLeague season high. Baskonia matched a club record with 31 assists and Efes tied its all-time scoring record, too. Rokas Giedraitis pulled down 18 rebounds, twice as many rebounds as his previous best. Matt Costello led all scorers with 33 points. Shane Larkin paced Efes with 21 points against his former team.
Regular Season, Round 29: Vezenkov shows MVP credentials
Sasha Vezenkov dominated the regular season and among his highlights was a game-winner against Zalgiris Kaunas. He put the finishing touches on a 72-74 victory when he buried a contested baseline jumper with 6.7 seconds remaining that made Olympiacos Piraeus the first team to qualify for the playoffs. He finished the game with 25 points on 9-of-9 two-point shooting and 8 rebounds for a PIR of 32.
Regular Season, Round 33: Partizan clinches playoff spot
Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade returned to the EuroLeague for the first time in eight years and made sure it was noticed. First, the club broke attendance records at Stark Arena. Second, head coach Zeljko Obradovic made sure his team was competitive all season long. It clinched a playoff spot with an 84-88 road victory against AS Monaco, with hundreds of Partizan fans in the stands. Kevin Punter buried a critical shot to put Partizan in control, 80-84, with 16 seconds left. Zach LeDay and Aleksa Avramovic paced the winners with 22 points apiece. “It’s great to be a part of history," LeDay said after the game.
Regular Season, Round 33: Fenerbahce ends Efes's legacy
Efes starting the season looking to become the first team since Jugoplastika Split (1989-91) to claim three consecutive continental crowns. Coach Ergin Ataman's team never found its rhythm, but remained in the playoff race until Round 33, when a 103-86 road loss at archrival Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul eliminated it from postseason contention. Nigel Hayes-Davis had 16 points for Fenerbahce, which advanced to the playoffs and came within one win of the Final Four.
Playoffs, Game 3: Barca, first to the Final Four
It was another strong campaign for FC Barcelona, which reached the Final Four for the third consecutive season. It finished the regular season in second place with a 23-11 record and while all other Final Four opponents had to battle for five games in epic playoffs fashion, Barca swept its series against Zalgiris and even made it look easy. It gave Zalgiris no chance in Game 1 en route to a 91-69 win at Palau Blaugrana. Sertac Sanli led the way with 17 points. In Game 2, Rokas Jokubaitis and Jan Vesely's late heroics led Barca to an 89-81 triumph. Coach Sarunas Jasikevicius's team finished the job with a 66-77 road victory at Zalgirio Arena.
Playoffs, Game 3: Tavares rescues Real in critical moment
Los Blancos were truly on the ropes, down 0-2 in the playoffs against Partizan after back-to-back home losses and tailing 32-17 late in the first quarter of Game 3. Luckily for Real, Walter Tavares was back in action after missing Game 2 and had a performance for the ages. He finished the game with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks for a PIR of 41 in leading Real to an 80-82 road victory. It was a turning point for Tavares, who kept delivering until Real lifted the trophy.
Playoffs, Game 3: Sloukas's shot gives Reds series lead
Two shots changed this season's EuroLeague picture. One of them decided the EuroLeague winner. The other eventually sent Olympiacos to the Final Four. Fenerbahce had stolen the home-court advantage in its playoff series and Marko Guduric buried a mid-range jumper for a 71-69 Game 3 lead with 3.9 seconds left. After a timeout, Kostas Sloukas took the ball, guarded by DyShawn Pierre. He dribbled twice - once forward and once behind his back to force the switch. Even though Nigel Hayes-Davis contested the shot, Sloukas had the space he needed to bury the game-winning three-pointer from the top of the key right at the final buzzer, silencing Ulker Sports and Event Hall.
Playoffs, Game 5: Real's epic comeback
Real came into Game 5 of its playoff series against Partizan without Gabriel Deck, Vincent Poirier and Guerschon Yabusele. Partizan was without Aleksa Avramovic, but had its entire frontcourt available and capitalized on that to lead by as many as 18 early in the second half. It still led 60-75 late in the third quarter and that's when everything changed. Real closed that quarter with a 9-1 run to get within single digits. Sergio Rodriguez took full control of the game with 11 points in less than 5 minutes and Sergio Llull's three-pointer completed Real's comeback, 86-83. Three minutes later, Real had the game under control, 97-88, and both feet in the Final Four.
Playoffs, Game 5: Monaco makes history
Monaco advanced to the playoffs last season in its EuroLeague debut, but lost in five games against Olympiacos. This time, Monaco was in the same situation but with the home-court advantage and that helped Coach Sasa Obradovic's team to make history in 5 final magic minutes at Salle Gaston Medecin. Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv led 76-79 midway through the fourth quarter. That's when Monaco found a go-to guy in Jordan Loyd, who scored 8 points in a 10-0 run that put his team ahead for good, 86-79. Elie Okobo and Alpha Diallo made the difference in crunch time. Loyd and Mike James paced the winners with 21 points apiece. Monaco became the first Final Four newcomer since Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar qualified in 2016.
Llull finishes the season with iconic shot
It was a rollercoaster post-season for Real, which trailed at some point in the second half in all of its last seven games. The championship game was no different, as Olympiacos led 78-72 right before Rodriguez scored in penetration at the 2-minute mark. He then buried a three-pointer with 46.8 seconds remaining. Real was down 1 when it took the court after a timeout with 12.7 seconds left. Llull got the ball, called Tavares for a pick-and-roll, Olympiacos switched and Llull sank a jumper from the right elbow that put Real ahead, 78-79, with 3.2 seconds remaining. When Sloukas missed at the other end, Llull's big basket was already written in golden letters in EuroLeague history: Real had won its 11th title!