“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Confucius probably didn’t have modern day athletes in mind when he made his famous quote about bouncing back, but the best names in the leading sports know a thing or two about bouncing back from adversity.
This is why many basketball fans across Europe will be delighted to see Anadolu Efes Istanbul crowned as the EuroLeague Champions.
With no EuroLeague winners in 2020, we have to go back to 2019 for the last Championship game, and of course, the Turkish side fell at the final hurdle. On that occasion, CSKA Moscow celebrated, and the Turkish side knew they were in for a long summer of regret.
This summer, that story has changed completely, with Anadolu coming out on top and CSKA losing both games at the Final Four.
FC Barcelona 81 – 86 Anadolu Efes Istanbul
The quarters either side of the break were decisive, with Anadolu Efes winning both by a healthy margin. The middle section of the game would be enough to take the title.
The Catalan club started well, and were 22-15 ahead at the end of the first quarter. That was the starting point for the eventual winners.
The Turkish side were ahead at the break, leading by a score of 36-39 when the players were earning a well-deserved rest and coaches were passing on new instructions. The Catalan club held a lead deep into the second quarter, but a strong rally from the Istanbul side gave them a bit of breathing space at the break.
After the break, Anadolu extended their lead by a further four points, providing them with a seven-point lead. Into the last run, Barcelona chipped two points off that lead, but that wasn’t to be enough.
Vasilije Micic grabbed 25 points in the win while Shane Larkin offered 21 points. When you have a total of 56 points from two players, you have a massive platform for success. Cory Higgins offered 23 points for FC Barcelona, but there wasn’t the same strength in depth for the Catalonians, and in the end, Anadolu were worthy winners in Cologne.
AX Armani Exchange Milan 83-73 CSKA Moscow
Earlier on Sunday, the side from Milan ended their season on a high, overcoming CSKA Moscow with a bit to spare. This is the first time Milan have won at the Final Four since 1992, so it was long overdue.
Sergio Rdoriguez offered 14 points and 6 assists in the win, while Milan had five players in double figures. Toko Shengelia provided 18 points for the Russians who will feel the climax to the EuroLeague season has been underwhelming.
Of course, that is not the case for Anadolu Efes Istanbul, who we once again congratulate as the 2020/21 EuroLeague champions.
It is the end of the season for European basketball, and of course, European basketball betting fans. However, it won’t be long until the new season gets underway, a campaign all of us are looking forward to.