A title recreation abuzz with storylines
As one of the necessary basketball video games on this planet each season, the Turkish Airways EuroLeague Championship Sport at all times has a whole lot of storylines buzzing round it, and the 2021 version on Sunday evening isn’t any exception.
Whether or not FC Barcelona or Anadolu Efes Istanbul lifts the trophy at LANXESS Enviornment, the champion can have a listing of attention-grabbing information and potential milestones.
Within the class of exceptional information, there may be the unprecedented dominance of two players throughout 11 video games between these two groups during the last three seasons, together with a five-game playoff to achieve the 2019 Remaining 4.
Efes has received seven of these 11 video games, and in every of these seven victories, both Shane Larkin or Vasilije Micic performed properly sufficient to win the MVP honor for having had the very best efficiency index ranking of all EuroLeague players in both the identical week or the identical spherical.
Larkin has been significantly good in opposition to Barcelona, incomes three such weekly MVP honors within the 2018-19 season. One in all them, in Spherical 25 of the common season, assured Efes home-court benefit over Barca of their playoff sequence. He then was MVP within the final two playoff video games that Efes received to advance.
Micic claimed his first MVP honor vs. Barca in Sport 1 of that 2019 playoff sequence and one other within the final recreation they performed this season, in Spherical 24, when Efes received in Barcelona.
Turning to the pinnacle coaches, Ergin Ataman of Efes can change into the primary Turkish-born coach to win the EuroLeague. Bogdan Tanjevic lifted the trophy with Bosna Sarajevo in 1979 and gained Turkish citizenship in a while his profession, however was born in Montenegro. One in all Tanjevic’s players, when Bosna received in 1979, was Stevislav Pesic, who went on to elevate the EuroLeague title as Barcelona’s head coach in 2003.
So far, Pesic is one in all simply three individuals to win the EuroLeague as each a player and coach. The others are Lolo Sainz (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968 Actual Madrid; 1978, 1980 Actual Madrid) and Armenak Alachachan (1961, 1963 CSKA Moscow; 1969 CSKA Moscow). On Sunday, Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, who received 4 EuroLeague titles as a player – together with his first with Pesic in 2003 – can change into the following man on that record.
Barcelona swingman and semifinals hero Cory Higgins can change into simply the fourth player to win consecutive EuroLeague titles with completely different groups, following Jasikevicius (Barcelona 2003, Maccabi 2004), Dejan Bodiroga (Panathinaikos 2002, Barcelona 2003) and Ramunas Siskauskas (Panathinaikos 2007, CSKA 2008).
His teammate Nick Calathes is trying to change into a repeat EuroLeague champion with one of many longest gaps between titles. Calathes has waited a full decade to get one other shot on the EuroLeague title he received with Panathinaikos in 2011. Simply three players in historical past have waited that lengthy – or longer –to win once more: Dino Meneghin (Varese 1976, Milan 1987), Nikita Kurbanov (CSKA 2006, 2016) and David Blu (Maccabi 2004, 2014).
If Efes have been to win tonight, nevertheless, not solely the membership and Coach Ataman, however each single player would change into a first-time champion. The final time that occurred was in 1999 when Zalgiris Kaunas, coached Jonas Kazlauskas and the entire players lifted the trophy collectively for the primary time.
Coach Ataman has an opportunity to win his fourth completely different European competitors trophy, which solely two different coaches have managed to do earlier than. Ataman has already received the Saporta Cup with Montepaschi Siena in 2002, the FIBA EuroChallenge with Besiktas Istanbul in 2012, and the 7DAYS EuroCup with Galatasaray Istanbul in 2015. Solely Dusan Ivkovic (EuroLeague, EuroCup, Saporta, Korac) and Aito Garcia Reneses (EuroCup, Saporta, Korac, EuroChallenge) have 4 completely different European competitors trophies now.
Barcelona massive man Pau Gasol is again within the Remaining 4 for the primary time in 21 years. At age 40, he’s the oldest player to take part in a Remaining 4, breaking the report set by Derrick Sharp, which is outdated workforce, Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv, joked about on Twitter, asking Sharp to come back out of retirement. Gasol also can change into simply the second player in historical past to win the EuroLeague, NBA, EuroBasket and World Cup titles. Solely Toni Kukoc managed to win all of them, with Chicago, Jugoplastika Break up and the previous Yugoslavia nationwide workforce, respectively.
Gasol also can change into the primary Spanish player to win the NBA and EuroLeague titles. If Efes wins, nevertheless, Rodrigue Beaubois would get that honor, being the primary Frenchmen to elevate the NBA and EuroLeague trophies.
Quite a bit can occur on Sunday and historical past might be rewritten. Do not miss the 2021 Turkish Airways EuroLeague Championship Sport!