EuroLeague Final 1987: Milan overcome Maccabi’s inner power

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 1987 Decade 80 EuroLeague Maccabi Tel Aviv Olimpia Milán

In this season it is the last one that is played with format of direct end, next year the format will be released still today in force, of the final four. In the two previous phases everything went with a certain normality and the first swords of Europe did not miss the league. Zadar and French Orthez are the new tenants

Olimpia Milan beat Murray BC in the first round and Aris Salonica in the second round.
Maccabi beat Pully Basket in the first round and Torpan Pojat in the second round.
Orthez beat Partizani in the first round and Bayer Leverkusen in the second round.
Zadar beat Bertrange in the first round and Levski in the second round.
Zalgiris Kaunas defeated Steaua Bucharest in the first round and Galatasaray in the second round.
Real Madrid beat Manchester United in the first round and Brno in the second round.

In the regular league, Milan and Maccabi set the pace from the start. Closely followed by the revelation of the year, Orthez. After Zadar and a Zalgiris without Sabonis, Real Madrid finished last classified in a very grey season.

1. OLIMPIA MILAN   (7-3)
2. MACCABI   (7-3)
3. ORTHEZ   (6-4)
4. ZADAR   (4-6)
5. ZALGIRIS   (3-7)
6. REAL MADRID   (3-7)

The Tracer of Milan made good the predictions that gave her as favorite to the title and, after a match equaled presided by the hardness, the pushes and the bad manners, she won the European Cup. The Italian side – who had qualified for the final group after an incredible 31 points from Nikos Gallis’ Aris – won their second European title, 21 years after their last continental success (when the team was called Simmenthal). In the run-up to the match, there was an atmosphere of optimism among the 4,000 sickened typhosi milanistas at the Lausanne skating rink. His team was a clear favourite and they knew it, but the Maccabees were ready to sell their defeat.

The match began with both teams defending individually, with some very hard matches that sparked (especially that of Dino Meneghin with Kevin Magee). The equality was the predominant tonic, and of this form neither Tracer nor Maccabi managed to leave in the marker during all the first half, with advantages of one and other that did not surpass the four points (2-6 in favor of the Maccabi; 31-27 in favor of the Tracer, min. 16). At half-time, the Israelis had a slender lead (33-36), with more mistakes than successes on the part of both sides. Only Jamchy excelled in the outside shot in the first half. The Maccabi, despite his advantage on the scoreboard, began to show what would be one of the keys to their final defeat: the error in free throws (12 throws wasted throughout the game).

The second half continued along the same paths: while the Tracer depended on its inner game, Maccabi got almost all his points through shots more or less away from the hoop. The Italians managed to get ahead midway through the second half (52-50) thanks to a series of 4/4 Barlow, and then reached their maximum advantage of the entire game (58-52, min. 31), although a Johnson who multiplied in defense and attack prevented the Tracer to take off definitively. Three minutes from the end, a chilling triple Premier allowed the Tracer to gain an advantage of five points (66-61) that at this stage of the match seemed almost final. Although Dino Meneghin resented a muscle contracture in his left leg, the brave Italian center, after a massage on the track, decided to continue in the match until the end to try to achieve his sixth European Cup.

In the midst of a great equality, the match enters its decisive phase and events happen very quickly: for lack of 1’35», with 69-67 in favor of the Tracer, D’Antoni commits his fifth personal foul and must leave the track (although with a considerable «rebound», hitting everything and everyone on his way to the bench). With 1’12» left, two free throws from McAdoo open a small gap in the scoreboard (71-67). With 52» to go, Magee closes the gap from the personnel line (71-69). With 28» left, Premier tries to penetrate the basket, Magee puts her hand in, the ball is loose between several players and the referees decree a jump between Meneghin and Magee. The Tracer recovers the ball and McAdoo assists Meneghin for an easy tray, although the Italian center is over-confident – or perhaps due to pain in his injured left leg – and the ball, after a complete turn to the hoop, comes out. There are 16 seconds left before the end and the Milan fans, who were already celebrating the victory, are speechless when they see how the last possession of the match corresponds to Maccabi. Lippin is in charge of organizing a last attack to draw or even win the match, but the macabeo base, incomprehensibly, lets time go by without looking for an inside pass to Johnson or Magee to secure the basket or the personal foul, and instead leaves all the responsibility to Jamchy who, from beyond eight meters and with two defenders over him, throws a desperate shot that doesn’t even touch the hoop. In this way, 21 years later, La Tracer conquered the highest continental trophy among the delirium of its fans, who invaded the pitch to celebrate the victory.

*D`antoni – 7p, 6r, 4br.
*Premier – 23p, 6r, 2br.
*Barlow – 18p, 5r, 2t.
*McAdoo – 21p, 9r, 3a.
*Meneghin – 2p, 7r, 1br.
Bargna – 0p.
Boselli – 0p, 1r.
Pittis – 0p, 2r.
Gallinari – 0p.
Maccabi Electra
*Lippin – 1p, 3br, 1r.
*Jamchy – 15p, 1r, 1br.
*Lassof – 4p, 3r.
*Magee – 16p, 7r, 3br.
*Johnson – 24p, 12r, 2t.
Berkowitz – 9p, 4r, 1a.
Cornelius – 0p, 1r.
Aroesti – 0p.