No matter the sport, you cannot beat the drama and intensity that comes with a winner in the last minute. There are some last minute wins that are more important and more exciting than others though and the crowd in Istanbul were treated to a massive one on Tuesday night.
Anadolu Efes Istanbul 75 – Real Madrid 72
For all of the great basketball that had been played over the course of the game, the buzzer beating three point shot from Matt Janning was the only thing that separated the two teams. Janning had a tremendous second half and he was a major factor in the fact that the Anadolu season has been extended. Okay, it may have only been extended for two days depending on how Thursday night pans out, but this was the outcome that the home fans were desperate to see. You never want to see opposition players celebrate on your home turf, or court as the case may be, and this final throw of the dice ensured that the Madrid celebrations would have to be put on ice.
Janning delivered 3 points in the third quarter and he started the fourth quarter in dramatic fashion, grabbing 3 points that placed Anadolu ahead by 59-46. Of course, you can never rule out Madrid, not when they players like Sergio Rodriguez, the current MVP in the Euroleague, and the Spanish side blasted back with 8 points in a row. It was a tight game and with just 7.5 seconds left on the clock, Jaycee Carroll grabbed a three to tie the game at 72-72.
Janning had a career high type of evening
You can’t do a lot in just under 8 seconds but there is no denying that you can win or lose a game of basketball. In the end Janning grabbed a career high of 21 points in the game, with the final shot of the night being the one that people will remember for quite a while.
Nenad Krstic provided 17 points for the winners and Dario Saric provided a massive 15 rebounds for the home team. Rodriguez offered 17 points for the winners while Sergio Llull offered 15 points and 5 assists, while Rudy Fernandez scored 12 points.
The loss was far from a disaster for Real Madrid who know that they have two more chances to make it through to the Final Four, which they are hosting this year. However, they could have had the series done and dusted, and they were pretty close to doing so. Some teams may take confidence in this and will set out to tie up the series on Thursday night, but there may be some doubts creeping into the minds of the Spanish side.
Real Madrid are still big favourites to clinch the series and there is a strong chance that they will do so on Thursday but even if they do, they can’t take the memory of Tuesday night away from the Fenerbahce fans. There is still all to play for in this series with Real Madrid currently leading 2-1.