Fate was cruel to him again Barça. He hit him again with the door in his face, when he had to touch the glory with the tips of his fingers. After an exciting season, both in sensations and results, the team of Jasikevicius he stayed on the threshold of the Euroleague final, with a runner-up that leaves a bitter taste. After the eighth final in its history, the Barça squad remains with two conquests: that of Sant Jordi, in 2003 and that of Paris in 2010. The third European title will have to wait. The Ephesus he is the new champion of the Euroleague (81-86).
A powerful team, surely the most solid and exciting project mounted in Europe in the last three years, closed the way to the Catalans in the Cologne final. The stars of Anadolu efes dazzle, especially Larkin (21 points) and Micic (25 points) scratched high. They form a duo that has subdued their rivals on all fields of the continent, leading a group that plays by heart. In the Barça a huge appeared Higgins (2. 3), Davies put all his energy (17 points and 11 rebounds) and Kuric untied his wrist (18), but Mirotic offered his most discreet image (11 points, 4 out of 12 in shots) and Calathes, that he surely forced to play with an injured ankle, he could barely contribute.
Set the pace
Leave your life in defense was the watchword of the Barça and in that bet the players were emptied from the beginning. Especially, Brandon davies. He overflowed with energy for all his cigars in seven overwhelming minutes, until he committed his second foul. He multiplied in attack and defense and when he went to the bench, with 10 points and 5 rebounds, he had drawn a very favorable panorama for the Catalans (20-13). The unexpected bet of Claver in the headline it was also important in the staging. The problem is that few kept up the pace imposed by both. And the one that the star of the team, Niko Mirotic he didn’t get to appear until the final stretch.
That is why it was a blessing for Barça the freshness and impudence of Bolmaro, that grew during the game and gave many good minutes for Calathes, the character of Davies and also the determination of Higgins, the players who led Barça to stay on their feet until the last seconds, although almost at all times in tow, a step behind.
The rotations also lowered the physical deployment and intensity ofl Barça, which still stretched the dynamics at the beginning of the second quarter (25-15, m. 11), turned unexpectedly in favor of the Turkish team. To take the initiative, the cadre of Jasikevicius It happened to unfold very thickly on the field. He began to give up rebounds and to give personal and free throws with which Efes managed not only to return to the game, but also to shoot up the scoreboard.
The game entered into a disappointing dynamic for the Catalans, who spent more than four minutes without scoring. The partial against was overwhelming: 4-21, with unexpected appearances like those of Pleiss, and only the appearance of Kuric left an open stage at halftime (36-39).
The sensations, however, did not get better when they came back from the changing rooms on the Barcelona side. And instead, in the Efes they began to appear Larkin and also Micic with authentic MVP actions, with which the differences began to widen dangerously (44-55). While the Turkish team began to find the hoop with ease, Barça did not find anyone, until Higgins decided to take responsibility and give an extra breath of life to his team for the last period and Mirotic He decided to wake up from his lethargy (58-65).
In that phase Barça lived excellent minutes from the intensity of Bolmaro, Davies and Higgins, who managed to restore balance to the scoreboard in the last minutes (69-69, m. 35). But in this balanced scenario, the stars made a difference. Larkin and Micic they seized the ball and chained several highly worthwhile attacks. Barça still stretched the outcome thanks to Kuric (81-84, m. 39): But that was not enough to prevent the Ephesus seal the first Euroleague in its history.
FC Barcelona, 81 – Anadolu Ephesus, 86
FC Barcelona: Calathes (-), Higgins (23), Claver (2), Mirotic (11), Davies (17) -starting five- Hanga (-), Bolmaro (7), Smits (-), Gasol (1), Abrines ( 2), Kuric (18).
8 of 30 triples (Higgins, 4), 42 rebounds, 19 offensive (Davies, 11 years old), 10 assists (Bolmaro, 3)
Ephesus: Larkin (21), Micic (25), Simon (4), Singleton (4), Sanli (12) -starting five- Beaubois (3), Balbay (-), Moerman (6), Pleis (5), Anderson (-), Dunston (6).
4 of 18 triples (Micic, 2), 33 rebounds, 8 offensive (Moerman, 8). 12 assists (Micic, 5)
Partial: 22-15; 14-24; 22-26; 23-21
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.