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EuroLeague Diaries: FC Barcelona, Efes have memorable rematch of the 2021 championship game

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

Round 13 of the EuroLeague concluded with the rematch of last season’s Final between FC Barcelona and Anadolu Efes. The Spanish club exacted a bit of revenge on Anadolu Efes for losing in the 2021 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game as it collected a 93-95 win.

Let’s dive in day 2 of EuroLeague’s Round 13:

FC Barcelona exacts revenge for last season’s championship game

FC Barcelona was able to get past Anadolu Efes in a close-fought battle that went to overtime. The duo of Nicolas Laprovittola and Rokas Jokubaitis handled the task of covering for Nick Calathes and Cory Higgins.

They combined for 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, six rebounds, 12 assists and three steals while committing only six turnovers. Both guards combined for a PIR of 28 on Friday night.

Jokubaitis had a huge three-point play with 47 seconds left in overtime to make it a four-point lead (94-90). In a great side story of the EuroLeague clash, Sertac Sanli faced his former team for the first time since he joined the Catalans and exploded for 24 points.

“I don’t know how I feel after this kind of game. It was really hard for me to play, but I need to be professional and I did my job. That’s all. I need to look at it this way. Like I said, I don’t know how I feel,” Sanli said on facing his former team.

I cannot describe my feelings. It’s hard to play these guys. I spent the last three years with them. Like I said, I cannot say anything after a game like this.”

“Those three-pointers were not important. We needed to play defense and we played defense, we hustled on the court. That’s how we won the game. It wasn’t my shots. Or someone else’s shots. It was hustle.”

Nate Wolters reaches 250 assists in EuroLeague

Nate Wolters had a perfect night in EuroLeague’s Round 13 clash between Crvena Zvezda and Zenit St. Petersburg. In addition to leading his team in scoring with 14 points on 6-for-10 in two-point and 2-for-3 free-throw shooting, Wolters surpassed the 250-assist mark in the Euroleague.

He managed to make it when he assisted Branko Lazic for a three-pointer with 27 seconds to go in the second quarter. After missing round 10 and round 11 games due to injury, Wolter cameback in the best way possible.

Zvezda managed to keep Zenit’s offense under wrap to claim an important victory. Wolter had a great performance vs. UNICS in the previous round; however, the Serbian team was not able to add to its winning column.

“[It was] a big one for us. We had a bad streak and a bad game at home last week, so we really needed it on the road. They are a very good team, so it’s a big one for us,” Wolters said after the game.

“We limited them to 58 points. If we want to win, in most games we must do that, playing defense. We made it a little bit difficult for them.”

Olympiacos’ Sasha Venzenkov returns to dominant performances vs UNICS

Olympiacos achieved its second round win in the EuroLeague thanks to Sasha Vezenkov, who returned to his start-of-the season form to lead the “Reds” over UNICS.

Sasha Vezenkov showed up when his team needed him the most. After scoring 11 points through the first three quarters, Vezenkov scored 11 more in the fourth quarter and overtime.

He finished making 3-of-3 two-point shots, and 3-of-7 triples. Vezenkov also pulled down seven rebounds and had five steals, along with three assists.

“It was a very tough game, with a lot of energy. UNICS is a talented team with a lot of great players. They play very tough, with high intensity, and it was very tough for us,” Vezenkov said.

“We controlled the game, I think, in the regular time, too. We made some mistakes, some turnovers, but we are very happy that we won in overtime.”

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