On this day last year, CSKA Moscow lifted its eighth EuroLeague trophy when it defeated Anadolu Efes Istanbul, 83-91, in the championship game at the Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.
Two heavyweight semifinals duels set the stage for the title game. On one side, one of the most classic duels in European basketball pitted CSKA Moscow against Real Madrid, whose Coach Pablo Laso returned to his native town to try to win the title. It was a close game and CSKA's dominance in the fourth quarter allowed the Muscovites to prevail 95-90 and advance to the final led by Nando De Colo and Sergio Rodriguez, who was playing against his former team, each with 23 points. The second semifinal was an all-Istanbul derby between Fenerbahce and Anadolu Efes. Efes advanced to its first final ever with a 73-92 win behind Shane Larkin, who dominated with 30 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.
The championship game
All bets were off in the championship game. After a close first few minutes, CSKA took a promising lead, but Efes showed once more that it had heart when it was most needed. Despite their inexperience at this level, Larkin and company managed to jump ahead with the first basket of the second half, 45-44. However, CSKA regained the lead and Efes would only get close again at 71-75 in minute 33. After that, CSKA boosted its advantage and didn't let go until the end. Cory Higgins and Will Clyburn led the champs with 20 points apiece and the latter was also named Final Four MVP.
Sir Hines wins his fourth
That night, Kyle Hines joined a select club of players with four EuroLeague titles. He had won his first two with Olympiacos Piraeus in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. After that, he joined CSKA and had to wait until 2016 to win his third. In Vitoria-Gasteiz, he was the CSKA captain and got to lift the trophy that made it his personal fourth. He is the only active player with four titles and is one of only 15 players to win four or more EuroLeague championships. The only players ahead of him in championship triumphs are Dino Meneghin with a record seven titles, Clifford Luyk with six and Aldo Ossola and Fragiskos Alvertis with five apiece.
What happened next
For the 2019-20 season, Anadolu Efes continued with its amazing run and dominated the regular season until it came to a halt due to COVID-19, while CSKA Moscow was fourth when the competition stopped after Round 28. Both teams had already qualified for the playoffs.