Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal
Credit: BasketNews/Begum Unal

Anadolu Efes Istanbul defended their champion's title, becoming the third EuroLeague team to win the back-to-back titles.

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Seeing Efes play in the 2019-20 season, it's fair to assume that this run could have extended to a 3-peat. However, the 2019-20 season was canceled due to Covid, leaving Efes very disappointed.

Despite that, the Turkish powerhouse managed to bounce back, and Efes star guard Shane Larkin emphasized the most important factor behind this.

"We believed and that's the most important thing. We believed in becoming the champions tonight," Larkin said on winning back-to-back titles. "Obviously, that Covid year hurts. I think we deserved it, but now we won twice in a row."

But maybe there's still a chance of seeing this Efes team staying together and going for the 3-peat next season?

"I don't know, man," Larkin said. "Obviously, everyone has decisions to make. I think we have many guys who'll be free [agents]."

"At the end of the day, I don't think anyone is worried about it right now. Guys are not thinking about the future. Everyone's hugging everyone. That's the most important, we'll go to celebrate; we deserved it," added Efes star.

Anadolu Efes didn't play that well throughout the season, but as Larkin pointed out, the talks about poor form are part of the season.

"Obviously, [the lowest point was] at the beginning of the year. We started 0-4, something like that. Many people started questioning us. It's always the same thing every year," he said.

Larkin's backcourt partner Vasilije Micic received all the spotlight again after racking his back-to-back Final Four MVP trophy.

Asked whether Micic is ready for the NBA, Larkin was confident, stating that it's Micic's decision to make. 

"If Vasa wants to go to the NBA, he'll go to the NBA," Larkin noted. "As I said, people have to make decisions. I love playing with Vasa, he's been great. He's done so much over the last years, and if he wants to make that jump and take that chance of the NBA, he deserves it."

Larkin spent four seasons in the NBA, playing for the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and Boston Celtics. 

However, since 2018 he's been playing for Efes, and as Larkin says himself, he doesn't regret anything.

"I'm extremely happy with my career. I grew up in America, I didn't know much about European basketball, but being here, seeing the passion and everything. To do things I've been accomplished here… I wouldn't trade it for the world. Even if I could go back to the NBA and sign a max contract," Larkin concluded.

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Real Madrid
Anadolu Efes Istanbul
30%
20/67
Field goals
41%
23/56
40
Rebounds
44
14
Assists
7
6
Steals
5
6
Turnovers
12
54
Efficiency
70

Best players

Walter  Tavares
14 PTS
5/8 FG
4/6 FT
Vasilije  Micic
23 PTS
8/15 FG
3/4 FT
Walter  Tavares
11 REB
3 DREB
8 OREB
Elijah  Bryant
8 REB
5 DREB
3 OREB
Sergio  Llull
6 As
0 TO
22 MIN
Shane  Larkin
4 As
1 TO
37 MIN
Walter  Tavares
20 EFF
63% 2P%
- 3P%
Tibor  Pleiss
24 EFF
88% 2P%
50% 3P%