If you like explosive fun basketball with ludicrous endings and all the drama then do yourself a favour and watch the best series in Europe right now, writes Emmet Ryan
Pinar Karsiyaka have been threatening this since laying the smackdown on Banvit in the decisive third game of their quarter final series. Anadolu Efes have responded in kind by becoming more offence focused. The result is an absolute monster of a series in Turkey leading to cheesy headlines like this. More importantly, you can view it legally in HD worldwide. Before tell you how to watch the games, here’s what you need to know if you are joining the party late.
Robert Lee Dixon
I repeat, Bobby Dixon
One more time BOBBY DIXON
A 32 year-old point guard who bounced around Europe for his pro career shouldn’t be a massive selling point but Bobby Dixon is the MVP of Swag and has been throughout these playoffs. Those pull-up jumpers are obviously coming. The defender knows, they just can’t do anything to stop him. Dixon’s confidence level is that of a self-proclaimed street-ball god only he’s got the stats to back it up in every way. Right now there isn’t a more exciting player in European basketball. Even if it’s just for one month of his life, that’s one hell of a job by delivering that.
The rest of the Krazy Karsiyaka Krew
DJ Strawberry, Kenny Gabriel, Jon Diebler, Juan Palacios, Soner Senturk, and well anyone else in a green and red jersey is all-in on the most insane small-ball approach in the game. The tempo Karsiyaka play at should gas them and in two of their wins over Fenerbahce in the last round it clearly did. On both occasions Karisyaka looked ready to collapse in overtime before winning in ludicrous circumstances. Note, ludicrous finishes are basically the norm with this team. All they do is give their fans heart conditions except for the decisive Game 4 against Fenerbahce which was an absolute rout. Through two games against Efes, they have played at the frenetic pace for the full 40 plus one overtime. This isn’t some gritty crew with heart, this team has been put on the planet to attack everything in sight and they can gun all night.
Oh and they are totally Moneyballing
Salary caps aren’t a thing in Europe. The rich win because they have way more money than the poor. Karsiyaka however are Cinderella with Gatling gun mowing down teams with budgets literally 10 times what they have. That roster put together by the front office could have been an island of misfit mascots. Instead it has proven to be the best value for money team on the continent.
Efes are gunning it too
Were it just a case of ‘Karsiyaka is your new favourite team’…well actually that could easily have been enough but big props to Efes. Duda Ivkovic clearly saw that Fenerbahce’s effort to beat the underdogs from the suburbs of Izmir by sticking to their normal script was a disaster. Efes have responded. If Karsiyaka are going to run all night then Efes will run just as hard. The result has been two teams playing pretty smart on D but having to deal with offences that are turned up to 11.
Dario is doing his thing
He’s the FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year, the George Glass of the Philadelphia 76ers, and quite frankly the main reason Efes are keeping it together. Dario Saric has turned from prospect into grown-ass man this season and he doesn’t just look like he belongs in these finals, he’s playing like only a fool wouldn’t assume he was in the MVP conversation before taking the court.
Cedi Osman will sell you shampoo
Cedi Osman is likely to go in the first round of the NBA Draft but far more importantly he is selling Head and Shoulders like nobody’s business. One day we may even find out why he and his buddies decided to play basketball in a drained swimming pool. He is also good at basketball and getting the minutes to make an impact but we’re still waiting in this series.
It’s already nuts
Game 1 was in the balance until the final 15 seconds of overtime and the preceding 44 minutes and 45 seconds were immense. Efes won that and looked to have reeled in Karsiyaka in Game 2. The visitors had been 10 up late in the third before Efes stormed back. Bobby Dixon made a pull-up three with 14 seconds left to tie the game, then he stole the inbounds pass because why not risk a foul? He’s Bobby Dixon, if he fouls it just means he’s getting the ball back to take another pull up three a few seconds later. Palacios got to the line and made 1 of 2 to tie the series at 1-1 before sending it to Karsiyaka on Sunday. Oh that’s most important part…
WELCOME TO THE SWEATBOX
Game 3 takes place on Sunday in an arena that is permanently on. If you can’t play that YouTube video, it is one of the loudest places on earth and it appears to have absolutely no air-con. Whatever you read about fans being a sixth man, in terms of margin of victory it actually seems to ring true with Karsiyaka. The big question hanging over the series wasn’t whether Karsiyaka could pull off a win in Istanbul, it was whether Efes could overcome losing a game at home and somehow winning on the road. The next two games are the biggest home stand in the history of Pinar Karsiyaka…no really they are, this club’s only previous time getting to the top of the mountain was in 1987 and it hasn’t really sniffed it again since. Everyone in that arena knows that. Bobby Dixon expects that every fan will do their duty and they never let down that headband.
Now that you need to watch…
Digiturk provides full coverage. You will want to go here and subscribe to Basketbol Paketi. Once that is done you are going to wonder why it isn’t working. There is basically a 24 hour delay between purchase and activation so BUY NOW to avoid disappointment. I get NO money from Digiturk, in fact I ranted at them wildly when I had that very issue with subscription. It’s €5 a month in Europe and I believe $5 in the US. So yes America, you get it cheaper. Working the desktop app without a functioning knowledge of Turkish is…challenging…but I’ve been watching in HD on my phone and screaming like a nutter in coffee shops and airports since. It’s ok, you will embrace it.
Just one huge point here. Digiturk have a bunch of apps, if you are outside of Turkey download Digiturk Play. Once all registered etc the games are on Lig 3 and if you have the basketball package you will only be able to access that channel once the broadcast starts. It’s worth ALL the hassle.