Anadolu Efes came from behind to beat Barcelona 86-81 in the final of the 2021 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The title is Europe’s premier club basketball tournament.
The Istanbul-based club became the second Turkish team to win the trophy after Fenerbahce won the EuroLeague title in 2017.
For Anadolu’s coach Ergin Ataman it was the fourth different continental title of his career. Ataman has previously won the Saporta Cup with Montepaschi Siena in 2002, the EuroChallenge with Beşiktaş Istanbul in 2012, and the 7DAYS EuroCup with Galatasaray Istanbul in 2015.
Former winners Barcelona made a better start to the game on Sunday, 30 May, taking an early lead of 25-15, the Spanish side successfully subduing Anadolu’s star players Micic and Larkin in the first quarter.
Anadolu Efes stepped up in the second quarter, overcoming a 10-point deficit and edging ahead 39-36 at the end of the first half.
The pulsating game, played at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany, continued into the second half.
Anadolu Efes looked to be cruising in control, building up an 11-point lead during the third quarter, and went into the final period 65-58 ahead.
The Spanish side responded strongly to overcome the 7-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but Anadolu Efes held their nerve and the game ended with a 86-81 victory to the Turkish side.
EuroLeague MVP (Most Valuable Player) Vasilije Micic was Anadolu Efes’ top scorer on 25 points. The Serbian guard is set to join NBA franchise Oklahoma City Thunder next season.
Shane Larkin scored 21 points for Anadolu Efes, with a perfect 12 out of 12 free throws in the game Sertaç Şanlı contributed a further 12 points..
Highlights of EuroLeague final 2021: Anadolu Efes vs Barcelona
Cory Higgins was the highest scorer for Barcelona on 23 points, Kyle Kuric finished on 18 points, and Brandon Davies had 17 points
Earlier on Sunday, Armani Milan beat CSKA Moscow 83-73 in the third-place match.
Main image, top, champions Anadolu Efes with the EuroLeague trophy after winning the Final Four, Cologne, Germany, 30 May 2021. Photo © Euroleague Basketball (EB)