May 01, 2004 CET: 20:40
Local time: 21:40 NOKIA ARENA

Maccabi Elite blasts Skipper for title at home!

It's time to paint the basketballs yellow instead of orange! The Euroleague has a new champion tonight after Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Skipper Bologna 118-74 in a record-breaking show never before seen in European basketball. Maccabi won with the most points by the biggest difference ever, going back almost 50 years since the start of European pro basketball. Maccabi's spectacular blowout punctuated a season that has lifted European basketball to new and greater heights. Before one of the most euphoric crowds in basketball history, Maccabi made a dream of the entire country of Israel come true without any bit of suspense. From the opening tap, Maccabi ruled its home floor at Nokia Arena, soaring to a 25-point halftime lead and never looking back. It marked the fourth time that Maccabi has lifted a cup as a continental champion. Though it had a home crowd of 10,458 was fully behind it, Maccabi took nothing for granted. Its 55 first-half points was a record in the Final Four era, and it's defense was just as impressive. By the middle of the third quarter, it was showtime, as the Final MVP, Anthony Parker, rocked the rim with reverse dunks and Sarunas Jasikevicius dropped triples. The party had long since begun in the stands, and the celebration will not stop anytime soon. Maccabi is champion of Europe, and there was no doubt about it!

It was a night of major numbers for Maccabi, who broke 10 separate records in the modern Final Four era. The protagonists were many. Parker was almost flawless, finishing with 21 points and missing only 2 shots from the field. David Bluthenthal came off the bench and boosted Maccabi with 20 points in just 16 minutes, including 4 three-pointers. Jasikevicius also hit 4 from downtown, while scoring 18 points in just 17 minutes. Tal Burstein had the game's only double-double, 17 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes, more playing time than anyone. Maccabi made an incredible 71% of its two-point shots (28 for 38) and 61% of its threes (14 for 23). Skipper could not keep up from the start, but had a good game out of Milos Vujanic, with 21 points. Gianluca Basile and Gianmarco Pozzecco added 10 points each for Skipper, which was playing in its first-ever final.

For the record, Matjaz Smodis opened the scoring with a layup on Skipper's first possession. But that was the last time Skipper would lead. Maccabi took its first lead with a triple by Sarunas Jasikevicius that brought down the house. Anthony Parker then blocked a fastbreak layup by Milos Vujanic, and at the other end, Jasikevicius drilled his second triple. Parker then made a three-point play, forcing Skipper coach Jasmin Repesa to called time ut after 3 minutes with the score 9-2. With the noise at deafening levels, Skipper went scoreless for nearly 4 minutes until Delfino knocked down 2 free throws. With Skipper already in the bonus, Jasikevicius knocked down two free throws and Maccabi's lead surged to 13-4 after a Parker breakaway layup. Skipper switched to a small lineup with Stefano Mancinelli at the power forward spot, but they still couldn't find success, missing 6 field goals in a row while committing 3 turnovers. Maccabi couldn't have played better, as Vujcic followed Bluthental's turnaround jumper with 2 more foul shots for a 19-5 lead. Basile stepped up for Skipper with a three-pionter, Skipper's first field goal since the first possession of the game. Yotam Halperin and Tal Burstein combined 4 points in the final 2 minutes, then a seven-meter three off an inbound pass by Bluthenthal gave Maccabi a 31-13 lead after 10 minutes.

Maccabi pushed its lead to 20 points on a long two-pointer by Vujcic on the first possession of the second quarter, but Skipper responded with a 2-8 run with baskets from Delfino, Vujanic and Mottola that made the score 35-21. That's as close as Skipper was going to get. Skipper's momentum was quickly halted by Bluthenthal, who scored 6 points on a 8-2 run. Skipper ran into trouble when Smodis picked up his third foul and would sit for the rest of the quarter. Gianluca Basile dropped in a jump shot, but Maccabi scored the next 4 points and Skipper still couldn't find its rhythm. Parker added salt to Skipper's wounds when he beat the shot clock with a five-meter jumper with less than five minutes to play in the half. On the next play Bluthenthan pushed Maccabi's edge back to 20 points, 43-23. Skipper couldn't find answers on offense without a low-post presence and its triples continued to miss. Skipper made only 2 of 11 from long range in the first half. Now, Skipper couldn't stop Maccabi from getting shots near the basket, as the lead hit 51-27 after a Gur Shelef lay-in with just over a minute remaining in the half. Gianmarco Pozzecco knocked down a three-pointer, but Maccabi grabbed its biggest lead, 55-30, after scoring the final 5 points. Maccabi set a new record of most points scored in the first half of a Euroleague final, as Philips Milano (1988) and Kinder Bologna (2001) shared the previous record at 52.

Maccabi opened the second half with a powerful basket by Baston, who blocked Mottola's shot in the other end. The Israeli champs carried on playing at full intensity in both sides of the floor and their biggest lead of the game at that point, 28 points, on a Burstein free throw one minute into the quarter. Vujanic made his first triple of the game, but Jasikevicius cancelled it with a three that boosted Maccabi's lead to 64-38. Parker followed with a highlight-worthy two-handed reverse slam plus foul over Delfino, sending the crowd into ecstacy. Skipper did not give up, however, and fired back with a 0-10 run in which Vujanic had 5 points and Mottola nailed a three-pointer which brought the Italians within 64-45. Jasikevicius cut off the Skipper rally with a pull-up jumper and Baston punctuated Maccabi's play with a reverse dunk that gave Maccabi a 71-48 lead. Vujanic scored his 20th point with a floating layup, but Parker answered with 5 points in a row to give Maccabi a 80-51 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The tide was coming in, against Skipper's favor, and Maccabi did not let up. The hosts' margin was pushed to 106-65 on another Bluthenthal shot and there was not hope for Skipper. Basile made a three, Jasikevicius matched that on the other end, as Maccabi's shooting clinic had begun. Jasikevicius, Burstein and Shelef powered the team, and Bluthental drilled his fourth three-pointer to extend its lead to 95-57 as Maccabi set a new record for most points in a final. There were tears if joy in the stands, while the whole country got ready for a long, long night of celebration. Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team that represents Israel best all around the world, more than a team to most of its citizens, has succeeded in his biggest goal of the season: become the new Euroleague champion on its own court at Nokia Arena!

Maccabi Champion 2004 - Maccabi Tel Aviv
Saturday, May 1, 2004
Attendance: 10000
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv31242538
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna13172123
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv315580118
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna13305174
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 BEN-CHIMOL, AVI 4:00 2 1/1 0/1         1             2
5 BASTON, MACEO 16:15 9 4/5   1/2 4 2 6 1 1 2 2   2 4 17
6 SHARP, DERRICK 12:15 9   3/4     1 1 3 1 1     3   9
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 24:30 9 2/5   5/6   1 1     2 3   3 3 7
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 29:00 21 5/7 1/1 8/8   4 4 3 2   1   1 6 34
9 SHELEF, GUR 15:30 2 1/1     1 3 4 7     1   2   12
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 36:00 17 5/7 1/3 4/6   10 10 6 1       4 4 28
11 HALPERIN, YOTAM 20:45 7 2/3 1/3     2 2 4 3 1     1 1 12
13 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 17:45 18 2/2 4/6 2/2   2 2 5   2     3 5 23
14 SUNDOV, BRUNO 6:30 4 2/2                     1   3
15 THOMAS, DEON 0:45                   1     2   -3
33 BLU, DAVID 16:45 20 4/5 4/5   1 2 3 1   2     3   17
Team           1 1 2   4           6
Totals 200:00 118 28/38 14/23 20/24 7 28 35 31 12 11 7 0 25 23 167
        73.7% 60.9% 83.3%
Head coach: GERSHON, PINI
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
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 MOTTOLA, HANNO 19:45 7 2/6 1/2     3 3 1   1   3 4 2  
5 BASILE, GIANLUCA 35:15 10 1/1 2/6 2/4 1 1 2   1 3     4 4 4
6 MANCINELLI, STEFANO 16:45 3 1/2 0/1 1/2 2 1 3 1   1     2 1 2
7 BELINELLI, MARCO 14:15 3 0/2 1/3                 1     -2
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 14:15 2 1/2 0/1         1 1 1     3 1 -1
12 POZZECCO, GIANMARCO 18:00 10 1/2 1/3 5/7       3   4     3 3 4
13 VUJANIC, MILOS 21:15 21 5/8 2/3 5/6   3 3 1       1 2 6 23
14 VAN DEN SPIEGEL, TOMAS 8:30 3 1/2   1/2   1 1         1 2 1  
15 LORBEK, ERAZEM 13:30 7 3/3   1/1 1 1 2             1 10
18 GUYTON, AJ 10:15   0/1 0/1   1   1               -1
19 PRATO, PATRICIO 0:45 2 1/1                         2
20 DELFINO, CARLOS 27:30 6 2/6 0/4 2/2 2 2 4 1 1 2   1 3 5 3
Team           3   3   8         1 12
Totals 200:00 74 18/36 7/24 17/24 10 12 22 8 11 12 0 7 23 25 56
        50% 29.2% 70.8%
Head coach: REPESA, JASMIN
This game has no play by play yet

Head Coaches

Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I cannot make much comment on the game other than you just have to check our shooting percentages. This is a game of players, and they did an excellent job. I kept the Shabbatz and skipper the practice. Fortunatelt, the coaches changed all plays and the players duid everything wrong (laughs). They made the job after a long, tough season with many wins at the buzzer. It was an easy win today. We deserved the championship."
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
"It's difficult to say what happened, you all saw the game. After the first quarter, the game was over. In this atmosphere, it was very hard for my teams to play. I am also disappointed because I broke two records with Skipper, my team lost by 44 points and we had never got 114 points in only 40 minutes. We opened the game very badly even as I put my most experienced players in the starting five. But this atmosphere and the quality of the rival were too much for us to overcome. Congratulations to Maccabi, the team, the club, the fans and the organization of the Final Four.We had prepared the game really well and I wanted to stop their transition and fastbreak. However, they played great pick and roll and all their players did it well. I don't want to underestimate their matchup zone defense but I think it was not the key. We can lose a game, of course, but not in this way."


Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I am so happy, man and to do like this in front of our fans who have been supporting us all year. We had our ups and downs. I want to give them a lot of credit. They were wonderful. This victory is painted yellow, for them. The MVP, I don't deserve it. We had so many guys play so hard, it's a team effort. I am just so happy right now, I don't know what to say. Skipper is a great team. We jumped on them from the beginning and I think they were a young team without experience in this kind of situation, certainly in this atmosphere. I thought the keys came at the end of the first and second quarters when we hit the last shots and that kept the lead in the 20-point range. From there on, it was just great, great fun being a part of all this."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We played such a great game! I respect Skipper and the capabilities they have as a team, they have shown what they can do all season long. This is an amazing feeling, team effort was the key, this team has worked a lot for thios, starting with my teammates and coaches and ending with a great organization like Maccabi is. When you put a lor together, it is pretty fair to say we are the Euroleague Champions."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"It's an amazing feeling. A great, great moment. Really unbelievable. The atmosphere was incredible. Everyone on the team gave 200 percent. I didnt expect anything like this. I was afraid of this game, but from the start we got going strong and never stopped. It's a night I'll never forget."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"If this is not a perfect game I don't know what is. A friend of mine called me before the game and told me that we'd win by more than 20 points and the fourth quarter would be garbage time. I told him that there was no way it was going to happen this way. i guess I was wrong. If it was up to me I'd keep this entire roster for the next season as well, but obviously it's up for the management. When I first stepped into the office of Shimon Mizrahi I promised him that I'd bring him a European Championship. So far I won two, and I sure hope this is not the last one. We jumped on them early and shot great from the first minute. We knew that Skipper is an excellent team, with excellent players and an excellent coach so we never let up. They were capable of coming back at every time but everything clicked for us because we just kept going at them. The difference between this time and the last time we played them was that there was a Euroleague trophy at stake this time so it was a totally different game for us. This atmophere is what we're used to so we could use it to our advantage"
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We were on them from the jump and just didn't let go. From the opening tip, our defense was the key. We were up by more than 20 at halftime and we felt like we just couldn't miss. To be ahead by 20 points at home with the support that we had we knew we couldn't let up, that it was ours. I think that we got the gitters out in our game against CSKA so we were just ready to play tonight. You could have brought the Lakers or the Spurs in here tonight and we still would have wupped them."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"This is a dream come true. I can't say it any other way, a dream come true. To have a special game like this on the most important day of the year, you cannot ask for anything better."
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
"We didn't play bad. I wish we played bad. We just didn't play at all. It was worse than having a bad game. There was only one team on the court tonight. We're proud to have arrived at this point, but it's frustrating to lose in this way. We knew they'd play well and we knew we had to stop them from doing certain things, but they never missed their shots early on. They got their confidence, their public never let up and it was over."
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
"They scored about 20 points in the first five minutes and we had a chance to come back but we were selfish. All of us. We played bad on offense. We made them look like a good defensive team with out selfishness."
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
"There was no team tonight. They played the perfect game. They were unbeatable tonight. The pressure actually worked in their favor. It's not true what people said before the game that we had no pressure on us. The idea that we had nothing to lose just isn't true. We lost the game tonight because all the pressure that they had on them turned out to actually be pushing them forward together. They played for each other, they played for their public, that's the pressure they had on them. I think you have to see the cup as half full in this case. We arrived here. That's an accomplishment, but it was just a hard night."
Skipper Fortitudo Bologna
"There were two totally different teams out there tonight. One team played together. One team was just individuals. We didn't play together at all. Do I feel embarassed? Yeah, I feel embarassed for my team, myself, my family. I don't like to lay down and that's what we did tonight. They hit us early, and we never reacted. At hafltime, coach said he wanted guys on the floor who would compete and make it a game. They were full of guys ready to compete, but we never ever started to play."