In the playoff, Barcelona beat Galatasaray 3-0. The Turkish enthusiasts could do nothing against a very superior Catalan team. The first two games were a walk for Barcelona, in the third Galatasaray fought but could not force more the situation.
CSKA Moscow do not lose their annual meeting with the final four, for it eliminated with great suffering Panathinaikos. The Russians began strong and took the first two matches, the next two in Greece were for Panathinaikos thus forcing the fifth match. But the Hellenistic forces came this far because they lost in the final match.
The Tel Aviv Maccabi was the only team that was able to win with factor court against and also eliminating the team that in case of winning would play the final four at home. The Maccabees won the first match and from here they controlled the elimination until the (1-3) final.
After the playoffs we reached the four final that this year is held in Milan. As last year we lived a Spanish duel REAL MADRID vs FC BARCELONA and on the other hand CSKA MOSCU vs MACCABI.
In the first semi-final CSKA Messina showed again that at important moments their competitiveness decreases a lot. And although the Russians dominated the match practically until the last minutes, Maccabi in a great end of the match could take the victory to a head or tails. Here Maccabi knew how to handle the pressure and with a final basket of Rice to get into the final against prognosis.
Breaking all odds, Tel Aviv’s Maccabi won the Euroleague after a magical weekend in Milan, beating two of the title favourites: CSKA Moscow in a semi-final in which they believed in their chances until the last second to make an incredible comeback from a match that seemed lost, and Real Madrid in a final in which the Macabeo side once again showed commendable faith and perseverance to come back from an adverse marker in regulation time and sweep away their rivals in extra time. For their part, the white team failed for the second consecutive year in their attempt to win their ninth European Cup. After a fantastic season in terms of play and results, in which they had displayed the best basketball on the continent and were clear favourites for the title, the white team failed in the key match against a rival that showed a greater fighting spirit and knew how to handle the cheerful and lethal game of attack and counterattack of Real Madrid with an effective defense. The months of favouritism and the beautiful game of the white team finally did not serve to achieve his dream of being crowned European champion again. Tyrese Rice (named Most Valuable Player of the Final Round), who was able to break the Madrid defence with constant penetrations and outside pitches and was decisive in extra time, scoring 14 points without fault. The other side of the coin was lived by Sergio Llull, one of the most reliable and regular white players throughout the season, who in the final remained unscored.
Despite Real Madrid’s debut with a Rudy Fernandez hat-trick, it soon became clear that David Blatt’s physical and tactical approach would prevail over the creativity and improvisation of Pablo Laso’s men. The Maccabi, hand in hand with an omnipresent Schortsanitis, the success of Devin Smith and with a pressure that obfuscated the attacking ideas of the white team, began to break the initial equality of the game towards the end of the first quarter (13-7, min. 8). Rudy Fernandez’s new triple and Madrid’s inner game (Reyes-Bourousis) stifled the white fire threat with a 9-0 partial (13-16, min. 10). A basket of Tyus closed a first quarter of great intensity and with a deceptively low score for the merits of both teams (15-16).
Real Madrid lived their best moments at the beginning of the second quarter, which seemed to recover the joyful and offensive game that had accompanied him throughout the season. A 10-0 partial, initiated and closed by Rudy Fernandez and Slaughter, threatened to break the match (15-26, min. 14). Maccabi’s replica attempt was first stifled by Carroll’s triple and two baskets followed by Reyes (22-33, m. 17), but the Israeli team showed its pride and fighting capacity to narrow the differences again at half-time (33-35).
A new triple of Rudy Fernandez opened a third quarter that was going to be terribly equal, in which both teams exchanged meager advantages on the scoreboard (41-40, min. 24; 41-42, min. 25; 46-45, min. 27). However, it was evident that Maccabi had a better match rhythm, while Real Madrid played with inspiration and without giving the sensation of exhausting all its possibilities, trusting everything in excess to the outside shot or to the fortunate assistance. The third quarter closed with a slight advantage of the Madrid team (53-55) thanks to a «2+1» penetration by a full-blooded Sergio Rodriguez, who seemed to be heading towards the MVP of the match. Although this period ended as it began, two aspects were beginning to greatly compromise Real Madrid’s favouritism in the final: the fact that they had not been able to detach themselves from their rivals (as had happened in almost all the third Madrid periods throughout the season) and the feeling that Maccabi had powerful arguments not only to counteract the white game, but even to win the match.
The general trend of equality continued as the last and decisive ten minutes of the match began. As if it were a boxing match, the exchange of baskets as the stopwatch progressed tested the physical and mental endurance of Real Madrid and Maccabi (55-58, min. 31; 60-58, min. 32; 60-61, min. 33; 63-61, min. 34; 63-64, min. 35). It seemed that the first team to manage to open a small gap in the scoreboard could take advantage of their opponent’s nerves to win. That team was Real Madrid, who after a penetration of Tremmell Darden achieved the maximum income in the decisive stretch of the match (63-67, min. 36). However, Maccabi reacted positively and turned the situation around with a 10-2 partial (73-69), with just one minute to play. Just when it seemed that the prize to a year of records and basketball show was irremissibly away from Real Madrid, four free throws by Sergio Rodriguez and Giannis Bourousis again took the equality to the scoreboard (73-73) with 21 seconds to play. Pablo Laso’s men played with a defense without faults, exposed to a final pitch of Maccabi without reaction capacity. This was also understood by the set macabeo, who exhausted possession until Tyrese Rice (who else?) wanted to emulate Saša Ðorđević and Corny Thompson and played the triple decisive, which did not enter, so the game ended in the first extra time in the history of the Euroleague finals.
When Real Madrid were expected to face plenty of extra time, after drawing a match that seemed to have lost, it happened just the opposite: two free kicks scored by Bourousis (76-77) would mean the last Madrid advantage in the match. An immeasurable Tyrese Rice would be in charge of giving the lace to Pablo Laso’s men in an extra time that had no other color than the yellow that populated the stands of the Mediolanum Forum. Sergio Rodriguez’s triple with one minute to go gave the white team their last hopes (88-82), but by then Maccabi was already launched towards victory, which Yogev Ohayon certified with a mate in the last second.