Real Madrid is Euroleague champion for record ninth time!
After a two-decade break, Real Madrid is once again the king of Europe! Madrid defeated Olympiacos Piraeus 78-59 the 2015 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Championship Game on Sunday night at Barclaycard Center in the Spanish capital to become continental champion for a record ninth time. It also marked a record 15th European title for the club. Madrid’s last Euroleague title came in 1995 when it defeated Olympiacos in Zaragoza, Spain. Captain Felipe Reyes received the Euroleague trophy from the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and raised it in celebration. Madrid took charge in the second quarter and led 35-28 at halftime. Olympiacos used a 0-12 third-quarter run to take a 40-41 lead, but Jaycee Carroll took over with 11 straight points and Los Blancos never looked back. Madrid outscored Olympiacos 38-18 over the final 14 minutes to claim the historic victory. Carroll led the winners with 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting. Final Four MVP Andres Nocioni contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds, Sergio Llull also scored 12 and Sergio Rodriguez added 11. Matt Lojeski paced the Olympiacos attack with 17 points, Georgios Printezis netted 11 and Kostas Sloukas and Othello Hunter had 10 each. Vassilis Spanoulis was held to just 3 points.
First quarter: Lojeski lifts Olympiacos
It took a minute before Llull dumped a pass inside to Reyes for the game’s first points. After forcing the Reds into a 24-second violation, Carroll’s layup made it 4-0. Spanoulis split free throws to get Olympiacos going. Rudy Fernandez ignited the crowd with a put-back slam, however Bryant Dunston responded with a three-point play. Then Lojeski’s floater tied the game at 6-6. Dunston rejected Reyes to start a break that Lojeski finished for Los Blancos’ first lead, but Llull hit back seconds later with a three-pointer. After Printezis scored on the blocks, Carroll and Lojeski traded threes, which put 12-13 on the scoreboard. After a TV timeout, Lojeski nailed a three from the corner, which gave him 10 points in just six minutes. Othello Hunter split free throws to put the Reds up 12-17. Nocioni rejected Hunter from behind on the break to get the Madrid fans singing. Llull’s second three-pointer narrowed the gap to 2, but Brent Petway left Olympiacos up 15-19.
Second quarter: Maciulis moves Madrid ahead
Oliver Lafeyette raced into the lane and dished to Hunter for a thunder dunk. Jonas Maciulis used a spin move on the baseline to score and Nocioni stripped Lafayette and scored. Lafayette made amends with a steal and drawing a foul while shooting a three-pointer, but only made 1 of the resulting 3 shots. Maciulis countered with a shot from behind the arc to even the score at 22-22. After a Spanoulis layup, Petway was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Nocioni, who made the resulting foul shots. Nocioni went up for block on Dunston but got the body as well and was called for a foul. Dunston split free throws to put the Reds back ahead 24-25. Spanoulis missed 3 free throws – he was awarded an extra for a line violation. Then Maciulis hit a three and Spanoulis shot an airball. Hunter split free throws and Nocioni made 2 for a 4-point Madrid edge. Rudy picked off a Vangelis Mantzaris pass and took it in for a layup and a 32-26 advantage. The tide started to turn after a Hunter put-back and an offensive foul on Reyes. But a K.C. Rivers three-pointer gave Madrid its largest lead of the half at the break, 35-28.
Third quarter: After Olympiacos rally, Carroll shines for Madrid
After an action-packed 100 seconds, Llull scored the first basket of the second half in transition. The Reds’ free throw woes continued as Mantzaris made just 1 of 2. Rudy’s triple gave Madrid its first double-digit lead at 40-29. Mantzaris led a fastbreak that Lojeski finished with a reverse layup and Printezis got deep in the lane for a layup, resulting in a 40-33 score and a Madrid timeout. Reyes took a seat with his fourth foul and the Reds continued to roll. Back-to-back threes by Sloukas and Lojeski were followed by a Printezis drive through Ayon that capped a 0-12 charge and gave Olympiacos its first lead of the second half, 40-41. Carroll ended the Madrid drought with a triple only to see Sloukas got for a layup-and-foul. Carroll stayed hot with a tough three over Hunter with the 24-second clock winding down for a 46-43 advantage. Carroll’s third straight three even impressed the king. He added a layup for his 10th and 11th points of the quarter and a 7-point lead. After a scramble for a loose ball, Rudy got a hold of it and threw ahead to a breaking Rodriguez for an easy layup. A pair of Sloukas free throws ended the quarter at 53-46.
Fourth quarter: Nocioni and Rodriguez seal the outcome
A Nocioni triple made it a 10-point game. Lojeski fed Hunter for a two-handed jam. Hunter then posterized Marcus Slaughter. Rodriguez drove for a layup to keep the momentum with Madrid. Slaughter scored in the paint and Lojeski’s basket was matched by Rivers. It was 62-55 after a Sloukas three. Nocioni brought the Madrid fans to their feet with a triple that restored a 10-point difference with 3:45 remaining. Llull added to the lead with 2 free throws. A magnificent Nocioni rejection of Sloukas and Ayon’s free throws inflated the margin to 14. Then Lafayette missed 2 free throws and Llull went into the paint for a layup in traffic that all but sealed the outcome at 71-55 with two minutes to go. Printezis went to work with a baseline floater and free throws, but Rodriguez made foul shots too. Madrid handled Olympiacos’s pressure and an Ayon offensive rebound gave his team more time. A high-arcing Rodriguez layup started the celebrations. Rodriguez added another triple as Madrid finished off a historic victory.
Sunday, May 17, 2015