2018-19Final FourSEMIFINAL A
May 17, 2019 CET: 18:00
Local time: 18:00 FERNANDO BUESA ARENA

Efes guards pave the way to championship game

Anadolu Efes Istanbul will play in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game for the first time after roaring past Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 73-92 in the first semifinal at the 2019 Final Four at Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Shane Larkin assaulted the record book with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Vasilije Micic scored a career-high 25 points to pace Efes. James Anderson added 10 points and Bryant Dunston posted 9 points and 10 rebounds for the winners, who tied a Final Four record with 14 three-pointers made and outrebounded Fenerbahce 25-43. Jan Vesely returned from injury to lead Fenerbahce with 14 points, Erick Green added 13 and Nikola Kalinic had 12 in defeat.

Fenerbahce started the game with Green, Ali Muhammed, Marko Guduric, Nicolo Melli and Ahmet Duverioglu. Efes lined up with Larkin, Micic, Krunoslav Simon, Adrien Moerman and Dunston. Fenerbahce got the start it wanted by creating a mismatch, which Muhammed took advantage of by blowing by Dunston for a layup. Dunston got Efes on the board on the ensuing possession. Efes found its groove on defense and Larkin took charge on offense with an assist to Moerman for a triple before scoring 5 points of his own for a 5-11 advantage. Fenerbahce went to the bench first with All-EuroLeague stars Vesely and Kostas Sloukas coming in for Duverioglu and Muhammed at the 5:47 mark. Shortly thereafter, Simon was whistled for his second foul and Rodrigue Beaubois came in and scored on his first touch to make it 10-15 midway through the quarter. Green and Guduric drew Fenerbahce back within 1. Following the TV timeout, Green scored again and Vesely scored from the line to cap a 7-0 run that put Fenerbahce ahead. Moerman pushed Efes in front only to see Sloukas end the quarter with a three-pointer for a 20-19 edge. Micic took control of the Efes attack and pushed his team ahead 22-29 with 7 straight points. Fenerbahce went to a smaller lineup with Nikola Kalinic at the "4" and three guards in Sloukas, Muhammed and Melih Mahmutoglu. Back-to-back threes by the Sloukas and Muhammed ate up much of the deficit. Micic took a rest and Larkin kept Efes in attack mode. Sloukas and Simon each found themselves in foul trouble with 3 each. Larkin sent Brock Motum for a layup and a 34-40 edge. Vesely made his presence felt with a pair of baskets, including a slam. Anderson thrilled the Efes faithful with a four-point play before Guduric free throws ended the half at 40-45.

Fenerbahce went with a big lineup that had Guduric at the "2" and Kalinic at the "3", however, there was no answer for Larkin, who stayed hot and pushed the Efes lead to 8 with his 4th three-pointer. Fenerbahce relied on its size to generate points inside, but Micic kept Efes in control. Every time Vesely scored inside, Efes answered through its guards. Then Dunston sank free throws on consecutive possessions to create the game's first double-digit lead, 55-66, with less than 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. After a timeout, Larkin converted with a remarkable dive to the basket to beat the shot-clock and complete a 0-9 run. Green ended the Fenerbahce drought with free throws that made it 57-68 through 30 minutes. Micic started the fourth with his third three-pointer and added a layup – with a block by Anderson in between – which prompted a timeout by Fenerbahce at 57-73. Green and Sloukas revived the Fenerbahce attack, but Efes remained hot on offense. Tarik Biberovic came in as Fenerbahce sought a spark. It was to no avail as Micic and Larkin extended the margin into the 20s with 3 and a half minutes to go. Fenerbahce called a timeout and fought till the end. Vesely dunked, Micic committed an off-ball unsportsmanlike foul on Vesely and the latter made his free throws. Guduric and Green also scored, but time ran out for Fenerbahce and Efes celebrated at the final buzzer.

Larkin's history-making night

Shane Larkin compiled the highest performance index rating in a Final Four in recorded history with 43. He bettered the previous mark by 6. Trajan Langdon had 37 for CSKA Moscow in the 2010 third place game, The best PIR in a semifinal before Larkin's explosion was Ekpe Udoh for Fenerbahce two seasons ago. Larkin also tied his own club record in PIR. He tied his career-high with 7 rebounds and was 1 off his season-high in assists. His 5 three-pointers were 1 less than the Final Four record. He joined CSKA's Nando De Colo (2016) as the only players to have 30 points in a semifinal since the turn of the century.

Telling stat

Efes dominated the glass, outrebounding Fenerbahce 25-43. Coach Ataman's charges grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and turned them into 12 points. Fenerbahce scored a single second-chance basket in the entire game. Nicolo Melli was Fenerbahce's top rebounder with 4; Efes had five players with at least 5: Bryant Dunston 10, Shane Larkin 7, Adrien Moerman, James Anderson and Vasilije Micic 5 each.

Efes's impressive numbers

Efes had the highest PIR (113) and collected the most rebounds (43) of any team at the Final Four in five years. The rebounding total was also the second-most for Efes this season. The team tied a Final Four record with 14 three-pointers, which had previously been done three times.

Game-deciding run

Fenerbahce had kept it close for two and a half quarters. When Jan Vesely drew his team within 55-59 with three and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, the though of a game finishing near a 20-point margin would have been absurd. However, James Anderson connected on a triple and then Bryant Dunston scored from the foul line on back-to-back possessions for Efes's first double-digit advantage. Fenerbahce called timeout, however Shane Larkin penetrated and dove past Vesely for a remarkable basket to beat the shot-clock and complete a 0-9 run for a 55-68 advantage. Efes remained in control the rest of the way.

What's next?

Efes will play the winner of the second semifinal in Sunday night's championship game. Efes was swept by both teams in the regular season. Fenerbahce will play earlier Sunday in the third place game.

Touch of class

Even though Shane Larkin had taken apart their team, when he left the game finally with Anadolu Efes Istanbul having sealed the deal already, up 71-89 with 1:22 left to play, the Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul fans saw through their bitter disappointment to show a lot of class. As Larkin left the floor, many of them joined in the applause as true basketball fans who knew they had witnessed something special. For sure, the many Vitoria-Gasteiz fans in the audience were ready to applaud their former player, but when Fenerbahce fans got on their feet to join in praising Larkin, it was a sign of the true sportsmanship that characterizes the Final Four.

Shane Larkin - Anadolu Efes Istanbul - Final Four Vitoria-Gasteiz 2019 - EB18
Friday, May 17, 2019
Attendance: 13470 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul20201716
Anadolu Efes Istanbul19262324
End of Quarter1234
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul20405773
Anadolu Efes Istanbul19456892
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
1 GREEN, ERICK 20:53 13 4/6 1/3 2/2       1         2 1 9
4 MELLI, NICOLO 30:18 9 3/6 1/2   1 3 4 2 1   1   3 3 13
5 HERSEK, BARIS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10 MAHMUTOGLU, MELIH 11:33 5 1/1 1/3     3 3 1         2 1 6
12 KALINIC, NIKOLA 23:53 12 2/6 1/1 5/6 2 1 3 2         1 4 15
13 BIBEROVIC, TARIK 1:56     0/1                       -1
16 SLOUKAS, KOSTAS 21:28 8 1/6 2/5   1 2 3 2 1 2     4 1 1
23 GUDURIC, MARKO 29:05 8 2/4 0/3 4/4   2 2 6 1       4 4 12
24 VESELY, JAN 30:39 14 6/7   2/4   2 2 2         4 3 14
32 GULER, SINAN 0:36                              
35 MUHAMMED, ALI 25:26 4 2/5 0/3   1 1 2 3 2 3   1 3 1 -1
44 DUVERIOGLU, AHMET 4:13   0/1       2 2 1     1   1   2
Team           1 3 4               4
Totals 200:00 73 21/42 6/21 13/16 6 19 25 20 5 5 2 1 24 18 74
        50% 28.6% 81.3%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 LARKIN, SHANE 30:50 30 4/5 5/9 7/8 2 5 7 7 2 2     2 7 43
1 BEAUBOIS, RODRIGUE 11:28 2 1/1 0/4     2 2 2   1     1    
4 BALBAY, DOGUS 6:58                         2   -2
12 MOTUM, BROCK 13:51 9 1/2 2/2 1/2 1 3 4     1     1 2 11
15 SANLI, SERTAC DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 MOERMAN, ADRIEN 26:09 7 2/6 1/3     5 5 2 1 1     1 1 8
19 TUNCER, BUGRAHAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 10:01   0/1     1 1 2 1       1   2 3
22 MICIC, VASILIJE 33:10 25 7/9 3/6 2/3 2 3 5 1 1 3     3 7 27
23 ANDERSON, JAMES 26:34 10 0/1 3/6 1/1 1 4 5           2 1 10
42 DUNSTON, BRYANT 29:54 9 2/5 0/1 5/6 3 7 10   1   1 1 3 4 16
44 SIMON, KRUNOSLAV 11:05     0/1     1 1     1     3   -4
Team           2   2     1         1
Totals 200:00 92 17/30 14/32 16/20 12 31 43 13 5 10 1 2 18 24 113
        56.7% 43.8% 80%
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN

Head Coaches

Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
“I want to congratulate Efes for the excellent game they played tonight and going to the final game. I tried to understand everything that happened with my team today. It’s not easy to understand. And I am sorry for my players. The first impression is that it is very easy to recognize that our defense was not up to play at the level that Efes played. The main problem was our one-on-one defense. They scored very easy today. They scored 92 points and only had 13 assists. So that is a lot of one-on-one. Efes have quality, players that are able to play one-on-one. I want to thank our people who came here. It was incredible support. I am really, really sorry for my players. I think we played really, really good basketball all season and this picture of how we played hurt me a lot." 
Anadolu Efes Istanbul

"All game we played our regular basketball that we played during the season. So what is this? Aggressive defense. We tried to prepare some trapping defense against [Ali Muhammed] because he is a very important player for Fenerbahce’s offense with his shooting. We had some problems in the beginning with defending Erick Green and Marko Guduric. But that is not a surprise for us, especially Erick Green. But we stopped well Sloukas and [Muhammed] and Vesely and we started to play our running game, our transition basketball with Micic and Larkin. We moved the ball, we shared the ball and we found the open shot.

”In the half time, the reporter asked if we can continue to play this kind of basketball in the second half, and I said yes. This is our basketball. This is modern basketball. This is like NBA basketball. All season we had success playing this basketball. And now here we played the same thing. In the second half, especially our two guards controlled the offense. Defensively Bryant Dunston played a great game, Adrien was great on the rebounds. And we won. One more game and we take the cup.

"There is no comment [about Shane Larkin]. Spectacular. But this is not a surprise. He has played this way the last two, three months. He is not only shooting but he passes and plays defense. He played for the team.”


Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"Defense. We were horrible. I don't know if there is a worse word for it. We were horrible on defense... Of course, this is a big disappointment. We had a great season and we finished first. And coming here, I don't know if we thought it was easy, but big disappointment."
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"I don't know. We allowed them too many offensive rebounds. They started hitting shots after that. They played more confident. It's a big shame. Okay, there are some objective reasons, there were some injury problems, but it's a big shame. We were first place in the EuroLeague [regular season] for a reason and we didn't show any of that tonight. We let them do whatever they want. They out-toughed us. They out-everythinged us tonight. I think they wanted it more than us. I don't know why. For me, this is a catastrophe. It's okay to lose, but to lose like this is a big shame."
Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul
"It was our worst game of the season. We had I believe an incredible season, we played a tough playoff series and then we came here and we played this game. They deserve it, to be in the final. We don't. I believe in the third quarter they made a break and we couldn't come back."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It was an amazing game. Guys stepped up really big. Everybody did what they are supposed to do today. We picked up on defense in the second half. To beat any team in the Final Four is something we didn’t expect. We know we are a dangerous team, we play together, everybody is working together, I think a lot of times we had three or four guys trying to get the same rebound, so that was a key for us. I just try to tell everybody we didn’t win anything yet. We are celebrating, of course, but the goal here is to win the trophy. We have some more work to do."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"We are excited, we almost can’t believe it. We knew we could beat this team, but we kind of destroyed them. It is an amazing feeling. We got to make sure to enjoy it tonight, then quickly turn around for Sunday. The key was that we played our type of basketball. We determined the tempo, we decided the way this game was going to be played and we also were focused defensively."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It was not easy at all. Fenerbahce’s desire and character do not allow you to relax even a tiny bit. And that is where I think we were the best tonight, with our focus and concentration. When we expected them to respond, we as a team responded even stronger. Everyone is probably talking about us scoring 92 points, but our defense was also really good. I think that is a good indicator because at this level you cannot win anything without a good defense. At the same time, I think we showed that confidence that we have and that we talked about. This is not by accident. We play up-tempo, we have a lot of talent, everyone has a role and everyone knows well what to do. These are some of the dearest points I scored and minutes I played. Last year I lost the semifinals, but also learned a lot from it. But that is sport, if you work hard you get a chance to show up another time in another moment. But we should not stop here. We can celebrate a bit, but be ready for the championship game."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"This was a little unexpected. From the start, we believed we are better and that we have good chances to beat them if we play a good game. First of all, I think we won this game on defense. We limited all their weapons, while Shane and Vasilije pulled us on offense. When you have two players playing in that rhythm, it is hard to play against us. Both of them create for themselves and for the others and then there is danger from everywhere. We play easy, we enjoy our game, and that’s the key. That is what got us here. Now we have one more game and I hope we will play the same way, so even if we lose we will know we gave our best."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul

"It feels amazing, man. It's been a long season. We worked really hard as a team. For me, to be able to do something like this in my second season in Europe, it's amazing. Hopefully now we can continue to make some history for our franchise and win the championship.

"Whatever it takes in this type of game. You know there's only two games left to get a trophy, so whatever you have to do out there: rebounds, assists, dive for loose balls. It comes down to the little things, and I just tried to do everything I could tonight.

"We're hungry man. Not a lot of people expected us to be here when the season started, and we're hungry to prove people wrong."

"It feels amazing, man. It's been a long season. We worked really hard as a team. For me, to be able to do something like this in my second season in Europe, it's amazing. Hopefully now we can continue to make some history for our franchise and win the championship. Whatever it takes in this type of game. You know there's only two games left to get a trophy, so whatever you have to do out there: rebounds, assists, dive for loose balls. It comes down to the little things and I just tried to do everything I could tonight. We're hungry, man. Not a lot of people expected us to be here when the season started, and we're hungry to prove people wrong."

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