There are buzzer shots to win a game. And there are buzzer shots to becoming a legend. Facing the long segments of Sasha Vezenkov, Vasilije Micic entered with a bang in the second category, at home, in Serbia (77-74, final score). “I missed shots but I stayed calm, positive,” savored the hero of the evening, glued to 4/15 before the last moments. “The coach gave me the last possession. Honestly, the moment was so long that I didn’t even know who was in front of me. Despite all my failures, I continued to believe that the last shoot was going to come in. I’m glad that could be the case. »
A murderous arrow, devastating, for the thousands of furious Greeks, having given the Belgrade enclosure the air of a red volcano of Piraeus. But a legitimate sanction for Olympiakos who terribly lacked oxygen as money-time approached, combining small arm shots and stray bullets, while opposite, Anadolu Efes Istanbul chained their best systems: in other words give the ball either to Shane Larkin (21 points at 6/18 and 7 assists), or to Vasilije Micic (15 points at 5/16, 6 rebounds and 9 assists).
Quickly fall off, the X-factor Bryant
However, it would be simplistic to sum up the reigning European champion to his tactical simplicity and his two artificers. After a sluggish first period (42-43), where the domination of Moustapha Fall low post in the first quarter (7 points at 100%… as in the end) weighed heavily at the start of the debates, the Anadolu Efes seriously accelerated on returning from the locker room, finding other resources than soon infernal duo. His traditional three-point address (13/27 in the 30th minute), of course, but also an Elijah Bryant (16 points at 6/8 and 6 rebounds), reigning NBA champion, who rose to the required level of the sacrosanct mass of European basketball. “A lot of players can bring us a real plus and it was Elijah tonight,” confirms Shane Larkin. “For his first Final Four, he played with a lot of confidence and we needed that. “His duet with Bryant Dunston (12 points at 100% and 2 assists) even allowed the Istanbulites to push the Reds to the edge of the precipice in the heart of the third act (59-48, 27th), before Olympiakos returned somehow, despite his offensive wanderings, driven by the fervor of a Stark Arena won over to his cause.
Except popular support has never actually won basketball games. On the other hand, great players, yes. There was a feeling of passing the baton between the magic fingers of Vasilije Micic. Olympiakos had won five semi-finals in a row in the EuroLeague, the benchmark in the field until then. From ancient history, the fault of this formidable group of attackers who will play their third Sunday in a row on Saturday. With, within it, a duo Rodrigue Beaubois – Adrien Moerman at the gates of an unprecedented double for the French.