The Anadolu Efes, bottom of the Euroleague last season, destroys the Fenerbahçe to give the great surprise of the Final Four
FINAL FOUR Fenerbahce 73 – Efes 92
To put an end to Zeljko Obradovic’s spell, something like that is needed, an exhibition of those that take time to forget. Shane Larkin, a little genius, left his mark on that track of Buesa Arena that he knows so well. A surprise to start, the almighty Fenerbahçe back home at the first change. Anadolu Efes will play the first final of their history.
When Larkin went to the bench, 30 points, seven assists and seven rebounds later, Obradovic had already sat down. It is strange to see the old surrendered guru, defeated by the evidence. His transatlantic had succumbed long before the arreones of the American, one of those rockers who found no crack in the NBA, although he tried hard. If the ex of the Nets, Knicks and Celtics was the flame, Micic was his perfect counterpoint, the temper to break the established order. In the last two years, with the new format of the Euroleague, the dominator of the regular season never triumphed. And so it will continue after the soundless stumble of Fenerbahçe in the Turkish derby.
It was an intense clash of styles, ways of understanding life and basketball. The daring of the newcomer, the meticulousness of the favorite. The Fenerbahçe like a cowboy trying to tame a wild colt, which in no one takes shape better than in Larkin, with his hair disheveled. Two Istanbul in the Buesa Arena, although the Efes fans were hardly noticed, cornered by the yellow.
It’s still amazing to see Obradovic shrieking on the bench, red with anger. As if still, and they are going 18 Final Four for him already, he would be surprised what happens on the court. But there is no worse rival for his academicism than the anarchic Efes, whose pulse did not tremble at the beginning. With that group of exteriors that does not make prisoners. Two triples from the former Baskonia established the script. The Fenerbahçe was going to have to fight against the revolution.
A three plus one from Anderson put the maximum seven seconds off the break (38-45).
Obradovic’s machinery did not find continuity. All the excellent work of the course has been marred by injuries. Without Datome or Lauvergne he arrived at the moment of truth, and with Vesely and Kalinic as doubts until the last minute (his inactivity was noted). His defense, which is the pillar from which they become powerful, was waters before the shooting fleet of the rival. First Larkin, with seven consecutive points, and then Micic, hit again to stretch the rope even more (49-57).
It was the individual versus the collective. Soon the impotence invaded the Fenerbahçe, that nothing could do before the control of Micic, before the sparks of Larkin, the same pair that zampó to Barcelona in quarters. They were an absolutely deadly duo (55 points of the couple with a few scandalous percentages). The alarms began to light the runner-up of Europe mediated the third act, when the frustration in defense was infected to the attack: the ring was already minuscule. At the beginning of the final, the blow (57-73): just when Larkin took a break, emerged Micic.
Few would have bet on the Efes, last season, as a finalist in the Euroleague. But that’s how the Final Four are, where talent is the only written rule.