May 04, 2008 CET: 21:00

CSKA Moscow lifts Euroleague trophy again!

CSKA Moscow wrote another chapter in its illustrious Euroleague Basketball history by defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv 77-91 on Sunday night for the 2008 Euroleague title – its sixth continental championship crown and second in the past three years. CSKA's victory over Maccabi at the Community of Madrid Sports Palace in the Spanish capital moves the Russian powerhouse into second place on the all-time list behind only Real Madrid's eight crowns. Trajan Langdon was named Final Four MVP after posting 21 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and 7 rebounds to lead six CSKA scorers in double figures in victory. J.R. Holden added 14 points, Matjaz Smodis, David Andersen and freshly crowned Euroleague MVP Ramunas Siskauskas scored 13 points apiece and Theo Papaloukas added 12 to give the Russian champs another title to add to their trophies from 1961, 1963, 1969, 1971 and 2006. CSKA also defeated Maccabi in the 2006 final in Prague. Head coach Ettore Messina, who before the game announced that he had re-signed for another season in Moscow, won his fourth Euroleague title, moving into a tie for second place all-time with legends Pedro Ferrandiz, Alexander Gomelskiy and Bozidar Maljkovic, all of whom trail only Zeljko Obradovic of Panathinaikos. The game was a close affair for the first half, which ended with CSKA ahead only 41-42. CSKA started to pull away thanks to its defense in the third quarter and a 0-10 charge to start the fourth settled things early. Will Bynum paced Maccabi with 23 points, Esteban Batista added 14 and Terence Morris 13 in defeat.

Maccabi head coach Zvi Sherf opted to give Bynum his fourth start in 24 games to go against Holden as the game got underway. Nikola Vujcic was first to score on a five-meter jumper and then he fed Omri Casspi for a three-point play, good for a 5-0 Maccabi lead. CSKA missed several open shots in the opening minutes until Langdon sank a corner triple. He followed it with free throws to tie the game at 5-5. CSKA was its usual self on defense and while a left-handed layup by Andersen gave his team its first lead, 5-7. Casspi scored in the low post, but Siskauskas answered with a second-chance layup. Bynum provided a highlight with a power layup – and the free throw that came with it. Smodis tied the game with a free throw as CSKA became more aggressive at both ends now. Papaloukas checked into the game and then back-to-back three-pointers by Holden and Langdon gave CSKA a 10-16 edge. Morris answered from downtown before Andersen broke the 100-point barrier in his personal Final Four history with a turnaround jumper. Casspi continued his strong start for Maccabi with a driving basket, but he and Bynum missed free throws. Marcus Goree made both attempts for CSKA to make it 15-20. Batista came in and shined with a power layup and soon added free throws to get Maccabi within 19-21. Morris scored in penetration, but a free throw by Papaloukas gave CSKA a 21-22 edge after 10 thrilling minutes.

Batista got the crowd involved with a big put-back layup, but Andersen immediately answered with a six-meter jumper. Morris took over with a driving layup that put Maccabi back ahead, 25-24, early in the second quarter. Papaloukas buried one from downtown, but Batista stayed unstoppable with a reverse layup and a tip-in to restore a 29-27 Maccabi edge. Smodis shined with a three-point play as CSKA had managed to readjust its trademark man-to-man defense. Langdon sank his third triple in as many attempts, causing Maccabi to call timeout at 29-33. Bynum stepped up with an acrobatic basket, which Holden matched with a floating layup. CSKA tried to get Siskauskas involved in one-on-one situations against David Bluthenthal, but it was Langdon who sank yet another bomb from downtown for a 31-38 lead. Bynum made foul shots and added a wild driving layup to bring Maccabi back to life. CSKA called timeout to change its game plan, as Siskauskas was not finding space on offense and returned to the bench. Bluthenthal, now guarding Papaloukas, downed an open three-pointer to cap a 7-0 run and ties the game at 38-38, but Smodis’s free throws soon put CSKA back ahead. Papaloukas ran the length of the court for a layup and Maccabi called timeout to get ready for the final play. Bynum sank a three-pointer and got fouled, but missed the additional free throw and the score settled at 41-42 for a slim CSKA edge at halftime.

CSKA tried to slow down the tempo after the break and a three-pointer by Holden gave his team a 41-45 edge. Holden struck again from downtown to make it a 7-point game. CSKA started to face severe foul trouble, however, as Goree and Smodis had committed 3 apiece. Bynum made free throws, but Andersen immediately answered with an easy basket. Maccabi started to have trouble rebounding at both ends, while CSKA tried to run its offense through Langdon without much success. CSKA excelled in defense though, making Maccabi miss one tough shot after another. Meanwhile, Andersen buried another turnaround jumper for a 43-52 CSKA margin. Bynum tried to ignite his team's comeback with free throws, but Langdon kept CSKA in control. Batista scored in penetration, but Andersen immediately answered from downtown. Batista did not miss from the foul line, however Tomas Van den Spiegel came in and got the CSKA fans involved with a two-handed dunk, causing Maccabi to use a timeout at 49-58. Bluthenthal nailed a fade-away jumper, but Alex Garcia missed an uncontested layup. Langdon kept pacing CSKA with free throws, but Morris got Maccabi within 52-60. Casspi committed an unsportsmanlike foul from Van den Spiegel and his free throw gave CSKA a 52-61 edge. More foul shots by Casspi and Siskauskas and a three-pointer by Bynum fixed the score at 57-63 after 30 minutes.

CSKA tried to put the game out of reach with a Siskauskas three and its typical hard defense, however while Maccabi struggled to score, it was up to the challenge on defense. Yotam Halperin made his first appearance of the second half, but it was to no avail. Smodis free throws gave CSKA its first double-digit lead and then the star forward drilled his first three-pointer of the Final Four after 10 misses, giving CSKA a 57-71 lead and prompting an urgent Maccabi timeout. But it was to no avail, as Smodis and CSKA continued to pull away. Bynum finally ended a four-and-a-half minute scoring drought with a layup, but CSKA had already scored 10 unanswered points in that stretch. A Garcia layup gave the Israeli fans hope and another acrobatic Bynum drive made it a 10-point game. Siskauskas free throws put CSKA up 63-75 with just over three minutes to go and then a Langdon follow-up signaled the start of the CSKA fans’ celebrations. Papaloukas got his points in as the final minutes played out and the outcome was clear.

CSKA Moscow champ - Final Four Madrid 2008 - EB07
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Javier Gancedo, Madrid
Attendance: 13480
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv21201620
CSKA Moscow22202128
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv21415777
CSKA Moscow22426391
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BYNUM, WILL 28:45 23 5/8 2/5 7/10   2 2 4 1 5     3 9 22
6 SHARP, DERRICK 14:04     0/3           1 1     4   -7
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 17:54 2 1/1     1 4 5 1   2     3 1 4
8 ELIYAHU, LIOR 7:56                   2     1   -3
9 MORRIS, TERENCE 27:53 13 3/4 2/4 1/2 1 6 7   1   1   4 2 16
10 BURSTEIN, TAL DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11 CASSPI, OMRI 12:05 9 3/6   3/5   1 1     1 1   3 4 6
12 GARCIA, ALEX 23:11 2 1/5 0/1     5 5 2 3 3     3 1 2
13 BLU, DAVID 29:29 5 1/2 1/3     1 1           3    
14 CUMMINGS, VONTEEGO 12:50   0/1                     3   -4
15 BATISTA, ESTEBAN 14:22 14 5/9   4/4 3 4 7 1 1 1 1 1 3 2 17
21 HALPERIN, YOTAM 11:31 9 2/3 0/2 5/5 1   1 1 1 1     1 3 10
Team           3 2 5   1           6
Totals 200:00 77 21/39 5/18 20/26 9 25 34 9 9 16 3 1 31 22 69
        53.8% 27.8% 76.9%
Head coach: SHERF, ZVI
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS 24:23 12 3/4 1/4 3/4   2 2 4   2     2 4 13
6 ZISIS, NIKOS 5:31     0/1                       -1
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 27:36 13 1/3 1/4 8/9 1 7 8 3 1 1   2 4 6 18
9 SISKAUSKAS, RAMUNAS 26:09 13 1/6 1/4 8/8 3 1 4 2 1 1   1 3 6 13
10 HOLDEN, JR 33:29 14 1/4 3/7 3/4 1   1 3 2 2     4 3 9
11 PASHUTIN, ZAKHAR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 ANDERSEN, DAVID 28:25 13 5/11 1/1   2 3 5 1 1 1     1 3 15
21 LANGDON, TRAJAN 35:16 21 2/2 4/5 5/6 2 5 7 1 2       3 7 33
22 GOREE, MARCUS 9:39 2     2/2   2 2       1   4   1
23 SHVED, ALEXEY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
24 VAN DEN SPIEGEL, TOMAS 3:01 3 1/1   1/2   1 1   1       1 2 5
31 KHRYAPA, VICTOR 6:31     0/1     1 1 1   1          
Team             3 3     1         2
Totals 200:00 91 14/31 11/27 30/35 9 25 34 15 8 9 1 3 22 31 108
        45.2% 40.7% 85.7%

Head Coaches

Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
”We are all sorry and sad. Nobody wants to lose the final. I would like to congratulate the winners. They deserved the win. They are a very, very good team. They play great inside and outside. But I would also like to congratulate my players. They gave everything they had. The first half was pretty equal. We missed 4 free throws at the end of the first half and that was not good. But we didn't play very good in the third quarter and CSKA Moscow did a good show stopping our players. We didn't play the defense we wanted and didn't hit some shots we should have. And once you're down 8 or 9 points against CSKA Moscow, it's like 20 points to other teams.”

“I think the missed layup by Garcia hurt us. We could have pulled it to within 6 points. I think we were kind of broken mentally. I tried to take two timeouts pretty quick. But it was a great Final Four for us.”

“Looking the CSKA team we played last season in the Quarterfinals, we saw a team that plays the same game, but improved in every position. Instead of Torres, they have Siskauskas. Instead of Van den Spiegel, they had Goree. And they added Khryapa. And they still played the same game – very good defense and very organised offense.”

(About Messina’s contract extension) “For him and the club it's very good and an important decision. All the rumors that he would maybe leave the club can shake the basis of the club. But it's very good for CSKA and coach Messina. He is a very good coach.”

“No coach likes to lose the final game. It leaves a bitter feeling in your mouth. We're proud of everything we've done and the problems we’ve got passed.”
CSKA Moscow
"I'm so happy for all CSKA people, the fans and ourselves. It was a tough season, but I think we played a tough Final Four from a mental point of view. Tonight we faced a great Maccabi, but we had the character to never panic and to wait for our moment. I have no problem saying that for the first two quarters of the semifinal, I was completely out of the game because I was touched in an incredible way by the ceremony. To have lunch and breakfast around these fantastic people of the history celebration was, for me, like a dream. To win this with them here was even better."

”Obviously you understand that we are extremely happy – besides all the personal things and personal emotions. Going back to the game, I think we played a very good game. We stopped a very good offensive team. We made some good adjustments. We saw that they were trapping Smodis a lot and that started creating some space for our guards. We were controlling our nerves throughout the whole game. We were under control the whole time. Mentally, that was key. I really have to congratulate my players for the concentration they had in the preparations. They are very versatile. Coach Sherf kept switching his lineup - big and small. It was a continual challenge to match up with them while maintaining our team character.”

“The players did not know anything [about the contract extension]. I thought that if I tell them before that it would be a great motivation for Maccabi. It was a great honor that CSKA waited for me to make up my mind and discuss everything with my family. And it was a great honor to do it before the game. We decided to go on together. For me it was extremely important that the club decided this before this game. It would have been easy after an eventual win to say, 'OK, he's back because they won and because maybe CSKA is financially extremely powerful.' I am glad to have received their support in very difficult year for me and am glad that the management of CSKA proved to be extremely serious, extremely organized and extremely determined in trying to work things together. That's what I was looking for and having received the news before the game made it much more important for me.”

”I'm so proud that all four of my teams that won the titles played in entirely different ways. There was really nothing similar about them. The only thing in all four was that we played defense together and shared the ball without jealousy.”

“I was nervous before the game like always. My concern was to make the team play relaxed. Well, not relaxed but not nervous. That was my main concern.”


Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
”I would have traded a good game for a win tonight. I wish I could not have played at all if that meant that Maccabi would win the Euroleague title. They played better than us in the second half, and you cannot allow CSKA to get the game rhythm if you want to beat them. That is the biggest key to the game. It is important for Maccabi to be back in the Euroleague final, and we definitely will return again in the near future.”
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"The second place isn't enough for any of us. It's no fun to lose in the finals. We knew CSKA is an excellent team. We lost some focus in the second half, and I think that everybody fought hard and did their job. We need to be happy that we finished second in the Euroleague despite all the problems we suffered during this tough season."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We'll never admit that they are better than us. They were better than us tonight. That's all. We killed ourselves tonight, made too many mistakes and did more mistakes than we usually do. We didn't want to finish our Euroleague season like that. They made a run in the third quarter and we missed some shots while allowing them some easy ones. We made too many turnovers in the second half, allowed them to have second chances and that's what won the game for them."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"The shots from outside didn't go in and I think we just played into their hands. We took the shots they wanted us to take, the put pressure on us and that was it. In the first half we were still in the game, but in the second they put more pressure and the long distance shots didn't go in. We played smarter in the first half. In the finals there's no space to fix your mistakes, and we'll try to find the path to win the title next year. If our long distance shots would have fall in things would have been different but that allowed them to thicken their inside defense and that made it more difficult to score."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"They played good tonight. We missed a lot of shots and they deserved to win. Of course we believed we could win this game. We had the faith, it just wasn't our night. We'll wake up tomorrow and and fight again for another win."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I knew they will try to be physical with me under the basket. They were better today. I'm sad but also proud of my friends. A lot of things didn't go in our way, especially in the second half. They hit some big shots and that made a difference. We tried and everybody gave the best they have. I don't know if it's my last Euroleague game with Maccabi. We'll have to see about that. We lost to a great team."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"It's heart-breaking to lose in the finals of the Euroleague. We've come such a long way to make it here. We had to get over injuries, home losses and almost everything in the book, but we made it here. We are very sad but also proud of what we have done this season. Our fans deserve a cup, and we apologize we couldn't provide it for them. CSKA deserve the cup and I want to congratulate them. We'll try to come back next year and win the cup in Berlin 2009."
CSKA Moscow
“I feel incredible. This is my second Euroleague title in three years and both times I came here in February. This is amazing. I was battling an ankle injury throughout the last month and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play until I got here five days ago and began to feel a little better. It hurts incredibly now, but that is not important. I was able to contribute today and that is what counts. We improved our defense and our intensity in the second half and we didn't let them to get too close to the basket, unlike in the first half. We insisted with more physical play in the second half and were more consistent throughout the game. That is what gave us the win. I will have to [take care of] my ankle tonight, because the celebration will be a long one.”
CSKA Moscow
“This is a very important moment for me and this is an unbelievable thing for me and my team. The Euroleague was our biggest target this season and everyone deserves congratulations, because this was a really hard season for us. We had many injuries this season, but everybody showed great character and we managed to win a second Euroleague title for CSKA. It’s all about experience. We used all the experience we gained through so many Final Fours. I am sure that Mr. Kushchenko and Mr. Vatutin will probably organize [a celebration].”
CSKA Moscow
“I feel great, really great! This is what it is all about, winning the Euroleague title. This one is for everybody that loves me: My family, my friends and of course for everybody at CSKA Moscow. It means a lot to me and now it is time to celebrate with everybody at CSKA!”

"I feel great, mate. This is what it's all about, getting a win in front of all these Maccabi fans for all the CSKA fans here, all the red army. We got in control and started working a bit more on offense, and our defense really started to tighten up and stopped them getting the shots they wanted. It was a great team effort. It's always been great core of guys. We have great group that works well together well and we all get along off the court, too, so it's no surprise that we won. We always had faith and it paid off."
CSKA Moscow
”I said that defense wins championships. We just fought so hard as a team today. I think we just all played so hard today and stayed together. In the third quarter we starting letting them get back in it, but we just played a great game. These guys out here gave all they had all year. And we got our reward tonight. We all put it together and I feel so happy for coach and his family. He believed in us all season. And that means a lot to us as a team, and I'm really happy we won. You can't ask for more. Coach is staying and we have a championship. How great is that?”
CSKA Moscow
“I have won awards, but this is a great feeling. Winning the Euroleague title means more than anything else in my sports life. We have all worked hard all season. The most important thing is that the team won, It wouldn’t matter if I scored 4 points or 20. Like I said, we have worked so hard all season long and to top it off with this win is unbelievable.”

“My teammates did a great job setting screens and getting me the ball. And I hit three pretty tough shots. This victory is definitely among the top two in my career. The victory two years ago was just as big. Every time you win a championship, it just gets better. You always want to play a really good game and give yourself a chance to win.”

“Looking from the outside you don't really realize how difficult it's been the past year [for coach Messina]. On the court and in the locker room, we just stayed together. And he pushed us. There were times when we did not play good basketball. But I think we played one of the better games of the year. And the coach always had the confidence in us and the team appreciates that confidence.”

“We didn't play defensively very good in the first half. They scored a lot of points and we knew we would have to slow them down. In the second half, we did a good job keeping them out of the lane and challenged them to hit some outside shots. Luckily they didn't hit those big shots like the did against Siena and we kept up our defensive intensity.”
CSKA Moscow
“This is better than anything I have ever dreamed of. I'm at a loss for words right now. This is unbelievable.”

"Honestly, I thought it was Maccabi's turn this time, just because of the numbers. I was more afraid of this game than the one two years ago. In that game two years ago, they were the team to beat. This year, everybody was saying 'CSKA is going to win it, CSKA is going to win it'. And it was tremendous pressure, especially in the playoffs and the last two games here. I think this team has shown once more that it is built to win. It has character. Even on bad days for a player, other people step up and get the job done. I've got three kids, three boys, and this is my third title - one for each. The sweetest dreams came true for me today."

"It has a special meaning to be champion with 50 years of Euroleague being remembered and with the champs of all-time watching makes it even better, as well as beating Maccabi in the final, and that rivalry being a classic. Even if you were writing a film, you could not make a better script. This has gone beyond perfect,"
CSKA Moscow
”This is my first Euroleague title and I hope it is the first one of many, many more to come! I have played in the Euroleague for many years already, so now it is great feeling to win the championship with CSKA. This is my for my family, friends and also for everybody in Moscow and Russia."
CSKA Moscow
”I feel great! Winning the Euroleague is a great feeling and I am really excited about it. This is one of the greatest feelings in my life. We had a difficult opponent but managed to play hard defense and win the Euroleague title. Now it is time to celebrate, drink and enjoy!”

“The first half was really balanced and we struggled a little bit against their pick-and-rolls. They had some easy layups and we played bad defense in general. In the second half, we played much better defense and coach helped us to do better against their pick and rolls. First of all, this title is for CSKA, the club that does everything for us. CSKA is a big team and deserves to have one more Euroleague title after six consecutive seasons in the Final Four. Of course, I would also like to say that this title is for coach Messina's brother, who passed away two months ago. I speak for him and I know how he feels, because I dedicated the EuroBasket 2005 title to my brother, who had passed away before. I want to thank all the fans that came here to Madrid and of course I want to share this with my family, my girlfriend and all my friends.”
CSKA Moscow
”We did it. We had such a long hard season with injuries and everything else. But now the time came and won got the championship. Now there will be pressure for next season. But we just are going to have fun with this one.”

“This has been a great season for me. In less than 24 hours, I was chosen as Euroleague MVP and won the Euroleague title. Being already on the All-Euroleague team was amazing. This win is great for me and for the team. It’s great to win the Euroleague, but there is a little thing… We haven’t finished the season yet. Maybe we’ll have a couple of days off celebrating and then we’ll start thinking about the Russian League playoffs. We knew that Maccabi had very good guards to penetrate and execute well the pick-and-roll. First we tried to stop their pick-and-roll plays. We didn’t do that well in the first half, but improved in the second half. We went step by step, took the lead and stayed strong to win.”
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