In a historic and adrenaline-fueled basketball spectacle held in the heart of the Spanish capital, Madrid, two formidable teams, Istanbul’s “Anadolu Efes” and Madrid’s “Real,” collaborated to create a basketball miracle that will be remembered for years to come. The extraordinary clash concluded with Chuso Mateo’s team emerging triumphant after an intense battle that extended into an unprecedented four overtimes.
Last Friday, the EuroLeague champions showcased their resilience and skill as they secured a hard-fought victory over Istanbul’s “Anadolu Efes” with a final score of 130-126. This marathon of a game marked a monumental moment in EuroLeague history, as it was the first instance where a match extended into four overtimes.
What made this showdown even more remarkable was its distinction as the highest-scoring game in EuroLeague history. The previous record, held by Athens’ “Panathinaikos” and Bologna’s “Skipper” teams, dated back to 2004 when they collectively scored 232 points.
At the forefront of the royal club’s triumph was the stellar performance of Džanan Musa. Even before the marathon of overtimes, Musa showcased his scoring prowess by accumulating 30 points. By the end of the extended battle, Musa had notched an incredible 40 points, along with 8 assists, 2 rebounds, and an impressive 45 efficiency points.
The “Real” team’s victory was further cemented by the exceptional contributions of three players who achieved double-doubles. Overtime hero Mario Hezonja displayed his prowess with 31 points and 12 rebounds, while Facundo Campazzo finished with 25 points and 11 assists, and Walter Tavares added 20 points and 12 rebounds to the scoreboard.
Shane Larkin, on the other hand, delivered a captivating performance for “Anadolu Efes,” spending over 53 minutes on the court and accumulating 32 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, and 33 efficiency points.
Darius Thomson played a crucial role for “Anadolu Efes,” contributing 21 points and securing 5 rebounds. The formidable center duo of Tibor Pleiss (11 rebounds) and Daniel Oturu (9 rebounds) added 14 points each to their team’s effort.
The game’s narrative unfolded dramatically in the overtimes, with Musa’s three-point shot tying the score in the dying moments of regulation. The first overtime witnessed a fierce battle, with Campazzo’s free throw putting “Real” ahead 91-89.
Mateo’s strategic decision to entrust the fate of the first overtime to his players paid off, with Fabien Causeur fouling Shane Larkin, who successfully converted both free throws to level the score. In the final attack of the overtime period, “Real” created an ideal three-pointer for Mario Hezonja, but the shot unfortunately missed its mark.
The subsequent overtimes saw a series of lead changes, with “Anadolu Efes” starting the second overtime strongly but eventually losing a 9-0 lead in the last minute and a half. Hezonja’s crucial plays and a buzzer-beating two-pointer capped off a stunning surge for “Real.”
As the intense battle spilled into the third overtime, individual brilliance from players like Larkin, Hezonja, Musa, and Oturu kept the scores level. The game’s dramatic twists continued until the fourth overtime, where Campazzo and Hezonja emerged as key players. The Croatian forward scored 8 crucial points, propelling “Real” to a 126-122 lead. Musa extended the lead, but an unfortunate flagrant foul after a two-pointer attempt added a dramatic twist.
In the final moments, Pleiss converted only one of the free throws, and a last-ditch three-pointer from Mike Daum missed its mark. Despite their valiant efforts, the Turks could not overcome the deficit in the remaining time.
In this marathon of a game, the royal club showcased exceptional resilience and skill as they miraculously defended their home fortress. The victory added another layer to their undefeated streak at home for the season, solidifying their status as a force to be reckoned with in the EuroLeague.