May 30, 2021 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 LANXESS ARENA

Efes wins its first EuroLeague crown

Anadolu Efes Istanbul is the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion for the first time! Efes outlasted FC Barcelona 81-86 on Sunday night in the championship game of the 2021 Final Four at Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany. The victory made all the players on the team champions for the first time as well as Ergin Ataman, who became the first Turkish-born head coach to lift the trophy. Barcelona came back from an 11-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter and was within 1 with 3:25 remaining, but Vasilije Micic scored 7 points in the final 3 minutes to make sure Efes went home with the trophy. Micic finished with 25 points and 5 assists, while his backcourt mate Shane Larkin added 21 points. Sertac Sanli chipped in with 12 for the winners. Cory Higgins led Barcelona with 23 points and Kyle Kuric netted 18. Brandon Davies tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds and Nikola Mirotic added 11 and 9 for Barcelona, which came up short in its bid to win its third continental crown and first since 2010.

Barcelona opened the scoring on the game's first possession through a Victor Claver tip-in before Davies picked Krunoslav Simon's pocket and raced for a slam. Sanli scored twice inside to get Efes going. Sanli remained a weapon inside; his three-point play and a free throw on the next possession gave Efes a 6-8 lead. Davies went to work for Barcelona with a basket-plus-foul on the offensive glass, a score in the paint and drawing 2 fouls from Sanli. After Chris Singleton's free throws briefly gave Efes the lead, Davies put back his own miss and Higgins drilled a three-pointer. Kuric added a free throw and a layup to make it 20-13. After Micic free throws and a fastbreak bucket from Kuric, Barcelona led 22-15 after 10 minutes. A basket-plus-foul from Leandro Bolmaro in transition gave Barcelona a double-digit advantage. Adrien Moerman's tip started the Efes revival. Bolmaro committed an unsportsmanlike foul on Larkin after a steal and the resulting free throws and a Tibor Pleiss triple – Efes's first of the game – made it 25-22, prompting a Barcelona timeout. Simon capped a 0-9 run with a bank shot. Alex Abrines and Higgins gave Barcelona some breathing room with free throws only to see Larkin attack and get to the free-throw line, from where he made 6 shots in a 0-12 run that gave Efes a 29-36 lead. Bolmaro ended the Barcelona drought and Kuric drilled a three from the corner and made a pair of free throws. Rodrigue Beaubois split free throws with 1 second left in the second quarter to send the teams to the locker rooms at halftime with the score 36-39.

Micic scored on either side of an offensive foul called on Higgins as Efes jumped ahead 39-46. Mirotic got his first points of the game, but a four-point play by Micic made it 41-52. Kuric and Larkin traded threes. Higgins shined with a block, a layup and a pull-up three, but Micic was only getting stronger for Efes and Bryant Dunston and Beaubois added points for Efes from the line. Mirotic hit a three to bring Barcelona within 58-65 at the end of the third quarter. A jumper by Bolmaro early in the fourth quarter drew Barcelona within 3. Sanli countered with an alley-oop dunk courtesy of an assist from Larkin. Davies made a wide-open three and then fed Mirotic for a bucket that tied it at 69-69 with 5 minutes left, which caused Efes to call timeout. Micic responded with a three from the top of the key only to see Higgins answer with a three-point play. Larkin hit back with a basket-plus-foul, too. After Davies and Singleton traded baskets, Micic drove for a layup that made it 74-79 with less than 3 minutes remaining. Micic matched Higgins's free throws with a basket in penetration. Davies missed a three and Kuric missed on the break as Barcelona started to run out of time. Larkin added 2 free throws for a 7-point lead with 32.7 seconds to go and Barcelona missed its next 2 shots. Kuric gave Barcelona hope when he made 3 free throws with 12.1 seconds on the clock to make it 81-84, but Micic got to the line and iced the game with 7.3 seconds left.

Davies in the double-double club

Barcelona big man Brandon Davies finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double in a EuroLeague Final Four game. The first came in the semifinals at the 2018 Final Four in Belgrade when he amassed 12 points and 11 rebounds for Zalgiris Kaunas in a loss against Fenerbahce Istanbul. In doing so, Davies became just the sixth player since the turn of the century to century to collect multiple double-doubles at the Final Four. The others are Gustavo Ayon with Real Madrid, Ekpe Udoh with Fenerbahce, Kornel David with Tau Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz, Mike Batiste with Panathinaikos Athens and Mirsad Turkcan with both Montepaschi Siena and CSKA Moscow.

Larkin's free-throw record

Shane Larkin set a EuroLeague record for the best free-throw shooting night in a championship game this century. The Efes guard was perfect in 12 trips to the foul line. The record had been shared by Milos Vujanic (Panathinaikos, 2007) and Tyrese Rice (2014 with Maccabi Tel Aviv)\, who were both 9 for 9 in championship games. Larkin tied Ramunas Siskauskas (Panathinaikos, 2007) and Manu Ginobili (Kinder Bologna, 2002) for the most free throws made in the championship game.

Stellar stats

The big difference in the numbers came in two-point shooting, with Efes making 56.4% of its shots inside the arc, while holding Barcelona to 46.0%. Efes improved to 24-0 on the season when scoring at least 80 points in a game.

First-time champs

Efes's EuroLeague triumph marks the first time since Zalgiris Kaunas won in 1999 that a team won the crown without any previous champions on its roster. All of Efes's players and Coach Ergin Ataman are first-time champs. For Ataman, the victory represents his fourth continental trophy. He previously won the Saporta Cup, the FIBA EuroChallenge and the 7DAYS EuroCup.

Anadolu Efes Istanbul Champ - Final Four Cologne 2021 - EB20
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Attendance: 0 (Tentative)
By Quarter1234
FC Barcelona22142223
Anadolu Efes Istanbul15242621
End of Quarter1234
FC Barcelona22365881
Anadolu Efes Istanbul15396586
FC Barcelona
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
0 DAVIES, BRANDON 24:52 17 6/12 1/4 2/5 6 5 11 2 1 2   1 5 7 18
8 HANGA, ADAM 0:07                              
9 BOLMARO, LEANDRO 25:18 7 3/5 0/2 1/1 3 2 5 3   2     4 2 7
10 SMITS, ROLANDS 9:27     0/1         1         3   -3
16 GASOL, PAU 13:07 1 0/1 0/1 1/2   3 3     1 1   1 1 1
18 ORIOLA, PIERRE DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 ABRINES, ALEX 10:00 2   0/1 2/2   4 4     1     3 1 2
22 HIGGINS, CORY 30:57 23 2/6 4/6 7/7   2 2 1 2 3 1   3 6 23
24 KURIC, KYLE 24:12 18 2/4 2/7 8/8   1 1 2 1 1     1 5 18
30 CLAVER, VICTOR 14:19 2 1/1     1   1           3    
33 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 30:17 11 3/7 1/5 2/4 5 4 9   1 3 1 1 3 2 7
99 CALATHES, NICK 17:24   0/1 0/3   2   2 1   1     4 1 -5
Team           2 2 4               4
Totals 200:00 81 17/37 8/30 23/29 19 23 42 10 5 14 3 2 30 25 72
        45.9% 26.7% 79.3%
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 36:37 21 3/5 1/4 12/12   2 2 3 2 3   1 1 10 28
1 BEAUBOIS, RODRIGUE 10:10 3   0/1 3/4 1   1     1     3 4 2
2 SINGLETON, CHRIS 19:25 4 1/1 0/1 2/2 1 2 3   1   1   2 1 7
4 BALBAY, DOGUS 0:12                         1   -1
15 SANLI, SERTAC 12:57 12 4/8 0/3 4/5 1 1 2       1 1 4 4 6
18 MOERMAN, ADRIEN 20:48 6 3/4   0/2 3 5 8 1       1 1 2 12
19 TUNCER, BUGRAHAN DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
21 PLEISS, TIBOR 7:56 5 1/2 1/2     3 3           2   4
22 MICIC, VASILIJE 34:54 25 6/10 2/4 7/8   3 3 5 3 5     4 8 28
23 ANDERSON, JAMES 9:53   0/1       2 2           2   -1
42 DUNSTON, BRYANT 18:37 6 2/4   2/2 1 2 3 1 1       3 1 7
44 SIMON, KRUNOSLAV 28:31 4 2/4 0/3     3 3 2 1 1     2   2
Team           1 2 3               3
Totals 200:00 86 22/39 4/18 30/35 8 25 33 12 8 10 2 3 25 30 97
        56.4% 22.2% 85.7%
Head coach: ATAMAN, ERGIN

Head Coaches

FC Barcelona

"I think we lost because of small details. We missed a lot of easy points, which can’t be explained very easily. I said to the players after the game that we’ve had a magnificent season in EuroLeague and we were very close. We fell short because maybe we made too many errors... A lot of times it didn’t look good for us in the final. We came back. When it’s a tie game with a couple of minutes left, a lot of things can influence the game. Once again, it was kind of open. And unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top.

"Nick Calathes is a warrior. He had no doubts … he would do whatever it took to be on the court. He was there. I don’t think he had a great night in terms of running the team, but let’s not forget about the kind of game he had in the semifinal. We need more people like Nick Calathes, with his type of sacrifice going into the final. It was basically the mentality of as long as he can walk he was going to be on the court and just try to give us as many minutes as he could. I know Nick very well. For me, it was not a surprise that he was on the court tonight."

Anadolu Efes Istanbul

"Two years, we talked that we could make it and we did. I’m proud of my players. We never gave up. We started the game with a lot of stress and made a lot of mistakes. Then we found our rhythm. I said in the press conference that Shane Larkin is one of the best players and this was his time with Micic. Congratulations to all my guys. We maybe missed Larkin in the semifinals, but today he won the game with Micic. Excellent, I’m proud of my players."

"I am very happy. I am very happy for my players, my club and also my country. Immediately after the game, our president, Mr. Erdogan called me and said congratulations to me, to all my players. He’s the president of the Turkish people, so that is very important for us. We know that all Turkish people were watching the game on TV tonight - on free TV. I am happy about all of this and this title because I believe we deserve it, my players believe they deserve it. We played against a big team. Barcelona finished the regular season in first place. Tonight they played great. But we won because we have been waiting for this since losing the championship game in 2019 to CSKA Moscow. And we made it.

"I saw my players, I saw their potential. We worked very seriously. It’s the system, maybe. We give them freedom, yes, but we play with a system. You cannot win the EuroLeague with streetball. We focused on our job. Every day we worked for this. We built this team three years ago. In the last three years, we were the most successful team in the EuroLeague. And that gives me this confidence. I never give up."


FC Barcelona
"We had a lead, but then had a couple turnovers in a row, one led to an unsportsmanlike foul, and that cut our lead and they definitely capitalized on that. We kind of got a little too sloppy. They played very well to start the second half and we had to make stops to get back in the game. We played together, played hard. We had a chance to win at the end, but it just didn't go our way. We have a great team, a great group of guys. For a lot of us this is our first Final Four, hopefully, we can continue on the same path and build on it."
FC Barcelona
"I think the second quarter was the key. We made a lot of fouls, they made free throws to come back to the game. In the third quarter, Larkin was in the game and after that Micic. I tried to help my team, tried to give my maximum. I helped the team in the Final Four, but it was not enough to win the championship. It is tough now, but I know we will have more opportunities. This is a good team, we have to get ready for the next EuroLeague and give our best."
FC Barcelona
"First, congratulations to Efes on winning the EuroLeague. It is an amazing thing for them, no doubt. For sure, we allowed them to get into the game with some free throws, that we are not supposed to do, especially in the second quarter, to Larkin and Micic. We had some tactical mistakes and have to learn from them. We have to keep improving as a team and we have to be proud of everyone here because we really had an amazing season, but unfortunately, it was not enough. We have to think about finishing this season because we really have to fight for the ACB title. So when the season is over, we will have time to think about this."
FC Barcelona
"I lived this season with the joy of being back to playing, with the joy of feeling physically better with each game, and being able to help this team complete what they already had, and still have a little more. It's a shame we did not win today because it is the most important title that we can win. It just could not happen today. Efes played well; we must congratulate them. Now we must focus on the Spanish League and finish the season on a high note. We did a better job of containing Micic and Larkin in the first half than we did in the second half. They were able to get into the lane and get good looks. They got in rhythm, I think, because they got a lot of foul calls and foul shots, especially Shane in the first half. But they stayed with it. They are very good players, very aggressive and they made it tough for us and they got the win because of it."
FC Barcelona
"We had great momentum going for us and in the championship game you can't let it slip. We had too many mental mistakes. They shot a lot of free throws on a lot of easy fouls. I know one thing: it's a tough pill to swallow, obviously, but in a championship game we've got to be better with the small details. We had [Larkin and Micic] contained in the first half, but they are who they are, so it's hard to contain them the whole game. We just didn't do a good enough job on them for the whole 40 minutes. We knew it was going to be a game of runs anyway, but in my opinion we shouldn't have let it get to that point. We weren't consistent enough for the full 40 minutes and ultimately that's why we lost the game."
FC Barcelona
"Definitely, little things make up the biggest differences, but hats off to Efes, congratulations. We have to learn from this and build on it. We have a special team here and have to make sure we make the most of opportunities like this down the road."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul

"It feels amazing. We have been through a lot as a team. We lost the championship game a few years ago and last season, before COVID, we had a chip on our shoulders to come out and prove to everybody that we were the best team, that we would come out and dominate, playing the best way we could. And then due to COVID, the season got canceled. And this year, a lot of things happened. A lot of players in our team got COVID, there have been a lot of injuries, we didn't have a full roster, empty gyms... There was a lot of adversities we had to face and halfway through the season, we had a losing record. But we stuck together, we fought and played some of our best basketball in the last half of the season, and now we are here as champions. And I couldn't be more happy and more proud of everybody in our locker room.

"We just had to be aggressive [in the second half]. At the end of the day, Vasa [Micic] is an unbelievable player and we know that if he doesn't have a great half, he is going to come out and be aggressive and fight his way into the game. I just tried to stay aggressive as well. It is not always going to be about shooting the ball well or getting the points yourself. You can get other guys involved, you can draw fouls, you can play with aggressiveness. I think that is what we did - we played our hearts out. We gave everything and thankfully and gracefully, we are the champions, and nobody can take that away from us."

Anadolu Efes Istanbul

"I really don’t care about personal awards. I am very happy for this because of the way I came to Efes, the way we stuck together the first year and after that everybody was asking about us. In the end, we showed to ourselves that we are good. Good enough to win this championship. And I am really proud for the history of this club."

"It is amazing. It is completely amazing. If we talk strategically, the most important thing was to play until the last second of the game. We knew what kind of team we were facing, they are by far the best defensive team this year, but offensively we have a very very talented team, and we knew the way we play it is not usual for them to face. We knew we have a lot of weapons, we know that we can always attack their weakest player, and we tried that today. The same thing was about aggressiveness, we really responded in a good way defensively, they did not score easy, their best players were so-so today because we did not let them play well. Altogether it was an amazing match.

"These three seasons that we played, at least for me, I understood very quickly what kind of a coach I have on the team. That he likes to give freedom to players who handle the ball and if you have your own awareness of the mistakes, you can have a really good relationship with him. I think it is the same with Shane. So if you start bad, or you don't have a good rhythm, you can come back in the rhythm in the second half or in the last 2 minutes because he believes in you. This is what happened today. I know I didn't play so well in the first half, but we were there, we were focused and at the end we grabbed the ball and played how we wanted."

Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"Amazing. Amazing. It's tough to realize that we did it, but every time I look at this trophy, it's official. We are all so proud, so happy. It's been three long years, but we believed in ourselves and finally, we did it. Since the first year, we knew that we had something special. People doubted us: it's normal, it's ok. But we knew that we had something special. It's well-deserved. Congratulations to Barcelona. They fought, they played a very good game. But it's for us. We are so proud, so happy. We did it. I'm blessed."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It is amazing. All these years of hard work, sacrificing. All these guys on our team sacrificed a lot to fit into the team's mold. It means something. I am really proud of everybody, it is really incredible. Some guys stepped up big time during the clutch moments, hitting key free throws, getting key stops. That is what we needed. It was really scrappy. We had a little cushion but knew they were going to fight. They are a great team but we maintained our composure. In other situations, in the beginning of the season and maybe in the Real series, we collapsed, but we learned from that, gained that experience and now, when things are going wrong, we can kind of maintain our composure, so I am really proud of everybody. I love this team that we have. I have been here for six years now and we had been trying, trying and trying. This time, it finally worked out, so I am really happy. I am so blessed to be a part of this team."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It is an amazing feeling, of course. This is a great team. We have played great in the last three years, so I think it is well-deserved. Of course, it was a tough game. We played against a top team, but I think that if you look at the whole picture in the last three years, we deserved to win. We were playing hard from the first moment. We were playing hard, too, but we have two 'extra' players. Vasilije Micic and Shane Larkin are hard to guard, especially in these games. They are playing at their maximum level so for sure, our team game and these two players pushed us to the victory. We were down by 10, but kept playing. Two days ago we were up by 10 and almost lost the game. We were aware all the team that it was not a big difference and that we could still win it. We were going play by play and in the end, we won."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It's crazy. From my first year coming here to Europe, now this is my sixth or seventh year coming back, I'm just blessed to be here, especially with everything that happened in the world. We knew we had a good team. We just had to put it together, and in the end, we stood tall and we won the championship. For me personally, everywhere I went I won a [national] championship, but this is just the icing on the cake. This is what I've been missing and I'm just happy that Efes believed in me and we were able to put this team together. Thank you! We always felt like we were the most solid team in Europe. We started out slow last year and this year, but when we all got healthy and started playing together, we got rhythm and you could see collectively how much we liked playing with each other. We had two great guards who led us the whole season and everyone else just had to do what we could. I can't say it enough: thank you!"
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It is an amazing feeling, just knowing how much hard work we put in in the last three years out of dedication, bonding and the experiences, the ups and downs that we had for three years, to come out on top is just an unbelievable feeling. [Playing together for three years] definitely played a part because we know each other back and forth. Our chemistry was great on and off the court. We never had any issues and had each other's backs for three years. I think it played a big part in our victory."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"If I sleep tonight I am going to sleep with a trophy. It is amazing. I am holding the trophy but I still cannot believe it. We deserved it. We are the well-deserved champions. I had my contributions, but everybody did. We are a good team, and we got to celebrate tonight."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"It feels great. We waited for this for three years. During the season we had some ups and downs, but in the end, we will remember this for this title. This is for the Efes organization. You cannot imagine how happy I am. The time I spent on the court I was gonna give my best, it's the Final Four. That is my mindset when I go on the court, that is my personality and the coach knows me. I was happy to get some offensive rebounds and play good defense. We stayed strong mentally like we did in the semifinal."
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
"I have no words for this. I was waiting for those moments - already in the first game. I tried to stay ready. And then I had my moments today."
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