- Direct Narration and statistics
The Buesa Arena attended one of the shortest games in the history of basketball. The competition between Baskonia and Efes lasted approximately five minutes. From then on, what was seen was a festival of the Turkish team (77-102), led by what may be the best player in Europe right now. With 24 points and eight assists, Shane Larkin abused his former team, a Baskonia broken into a thousand pieces, disastrous in attack, very soft in defense and lacking in spirit. The beating suffered this Friday, the third in just one month, leads the Barca team towards the well and leaves Velimir Perasovic very touching, whose continuity in the post depends on a fine thread that Josean Querejeta could cut at any moment.
There was plenty of evidence that something like this could happen. To begin with, Efes is currently the best team in Europe, a solo leader of the Euroleague and already with several exhibits on its service sheet: it won 16 for Real Madrid, 15 for the Red Star, 19 for Olympiacos and , just one week ago, for 29 at Bayern. Only one day before, Baskonia had fallen by 32 on the Olympiacos court and before by 30 against Maccabi at home. These two dynamics collided and what had to happen happened, that the Efes paraded through the Buesa Arena as if the Vitorian court was the patio of his house, finding hardly any opposition from his rival.
The worst thing for the Vitorians, precisely, was to verify that they were only able to compete for the first five minutes. From 10-9 it was changed to 10-19 thanks to Singleton and Pleiss and from then on the game became a slide for the whole of Istanbul. And that by then Larkin had not yet appeared in the game. And that neither Dunston nor Moerman, both injured, traveled to Vitoria. Little mattered, because their substitutes, Sanli and Peters, also put on their boots.
It is true that the injuries are greatly reducing Baskonia, however much it may not serve as an excuse to justify its worrying drift. Against Efes he competed once again without Granger and Garino, still without Sergi García (signed Thursday) and with Vildoza making an effort to play despite his shoulder injury. One would say that a skinny dog is all fleas. A more detailed analysis, however, allows us to conclude that only Shengelia and at times Stauskas and Diop are performing at the expected level in recent weeks.
None of them were able to stop a Larkin in a state of grace. When the American base entered the court, Baskonia had a small wound that he turned into a butcher shop. There is something hypnotic in his movements on the court, in that feeling that at any moment he can light the play of the game. In Buesa he did it constantly, well scoring, well attending. At the break, the advantage of his Efes already reached 20 points (35-55) and the match was virtually over.
Given what happened next, Baskonia would have signed off the duel after the first two quarters. Because the next two barely served for Perasovic's team to exhibit their miseries. There were some commendable attempts by Stauskas and Eric to lift the dead man from his coffin, but his effort was in vain. The Baskonia continued scoring with an insulting facility, reaching a maximum advantage of 31 points that ended up being 25, and with the two coaches putting their reserves on the track thinking about the future. An exciting future for Efes and dark for Baskonia.
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