May 08, 2005 CET: 17:40
Local time: 18:40 OLYMPIYSKY ARENA

Maccabi Tel Aviv has won it all again!

Maccabi became the first team to win consecutive Euroleague titles since 1991 by downing Tau Ceramica 90-78 in the Euroleague Final in front of a sellout crowd of 13,500 in the Olympiyski Arena, Moscow on Sunday night. Maccabi keeps the Euroleague title for the first time since Split won three in a row from 1989 to 1991. Sarunas Jasikevicius led the winners in yet another unforgottable perfomance: 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists, enough to be voted the MVP of the final. Maceo Baston added 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting, Nestoras Kommatos became a main factor with 13 points off the bench, Nikola Vujcic also had 13 and 7 assists while Anthony Parker added 12 for the back-to-back Euroleague champion. Luis Scola led Tau with 21 points and 9 rebounds, Jose Manuel Calderon added 16 while Arvydas Macijauskas and Travis Hansen each had 13. Maccabi had a strong first half in which Kommatos had all his 13 points to make his team led 50-39 with Baston and Jasikevicius also in double digits by that time. Scola, Calderon and Hansen led the comeback, helping Tau to cut its deficit to 62-60 late in the third. It all came down to the final 5 minutes in which Baston and above all Jasikevicius fueled a game-breaking 7-0 run in crunch time which sealed the outcome, sending no less than 7,000 yellow fans in the stand to celebrate their team's fourth top continental title! Maccabi lifted the Euroleague trophy in 1977 and 1981 before doing it again last season in Tel Aviv. The team also won a SuproLeague title in 2001, as well as reaching six other finals. Jasikevicius became the first player to win three consecutive Euroleague titles since five Split players did it between 1989 and 1991, while coach Pini Gershon won his third consecutive continental title with Maccabi.

Vujcic opened fire with a basket in the low post that Scola matched before Macijauskas slashed to score and add an additional free throw for a 2-5 Tau lead. Vujcic found Baston in the paint for an easy basket, as Maccabi's team defense looked for two-on-one situations all over the place. Jasikevicius drew a foul and made free throws to put Maccabi back in charge, 6-5. He added a steal on a double-team that led to Burstein nailing a big triple, as Tau had entered the foul bonus in less than 3 minutes. Maccabi used its passing game to find Jasikevicius wide open in the left wing, as he made one from downtown to force a Tau timeout at 12-5. Calderon had to go to the bench with 2 quick fouls, but Tau finally improved its defense. Travis Hansen drove for a power basket, but Vujcic answered with a dunk in traffic. Maccabi continued playing its usual transition game, and even when Scola scored twice in the paint, Parker took over with a fallaway jumper for a 16-11 Maccabi lead. Macijauskas was nowhere to be found so far, but Vujcic found Baston for a reverse layup that turned into a three-point play. Jasikevicius took his trademark short jumper in the paint and boosted Maccabi's lead to double digits, 21-11, after a 7-0 run. Kornel David tried to change things with a close basket, but Kommatos took over with a three-pointer, as Maccabi had the game right where it wanted it: 24-13 after 8 minutes. And when Baston flew for a big dunk, the lead was 26-15 as the quarter ended.

Tau opened the second with both Calderon and Pablo Prigioni on court, looking for a more controlled offense, as Baston had to go to the bench with 2 fouls. Kommatos replaced him and immediately found a put-back layup in the paint, while Parker fed Vujcic for a layup and a 14-point Maccabi lead, 30-16. Tau now had troubles to score without top bombers Macijauskas and Hansen on court, but Scola returned to the floor to improve the offense. Macijauskas had a steal that allowed Vidal to score, while Scola stepped up with a basket in the paint to make it 30-20. Kommatos stepped up big-time, however, with back-to-back triples, one from each corner, giving Maccabi its biggest lead so far, 36-20. Calderon tried to get Tau going with a power layup and Vidal added free throws, but Maccabi was unstoppable from downtown, as Burstein hit his team's sixth three in as many attempts. Maccabi was already in foul trouble, however, with Baston, Sharp, Jasikevicius and Parker each having 2 fouls and Burstein 3 after just 17 minutes. Macijauskas finally woke up with 4 free throws and Splitter added a put-back dunk to cut its deficit to single digits, 39-31, after a 0-7 run. Jasikevicius became Maccabi's go-to guy, as he nailed a three-pointer and fed Baston for a fastbreak layup, making it a 13-point game, 44-31. Calderon shot from downtown to keep Tau's hopes alive, but Baston answered with a crowd-pleasing dunk. Hansen nailed another three-pointer for Tau before Kommatos finished the half with free throws for a 50-39 Maccabi lead.

Hansen tried to bring Tau back to life with a mid-range jumper early in the third and Calderon added a big three to bring Tau within 52-44. Tau missed a chance to cut its deficit once Hansen and Scola turned the ball over in a two-on-one fastbreak opportunity. Meanwhile, Burstein beat the shot clock with a four-meter jumper for a 54-44 Maccabi lead. Scola made a jump hook in the paint, but Jasikevicius fed Vujcic for a power basket answer. Tau struggled to score for 2 minutes until Macijauskas made a free throw. Parker, who had struggled to score, found a layup in penetration that Calderon matched at the other end, while Hansen added a big three to make it a seven-point game, 59-52. Jasikevicius came to the rescue with 3 free throws, but Maccabi still had severe foul trouble. Burstein was resting with 4 fouls while Jasikevicius, Kommatos and Baston had 3 apiece, enough for Maccabi to call timeout. Hansen came up with a big three-pointer and Macijauskas added free throws to get Tau within striking distance, 62-59. Maccabi failed to get open looks now, while Splitter capped a 0-8 run with a free throw which brought Tau even closer, 62-60. Maccabi went scoreless for almost 3 minutes until Jasikevicius - who else? - kept his team alive with a big three to let Maccabi keep a 65-62 edge after 30 minutes.

Jasikevicius stayed on fire early in the fourth with a floating jumper which hit nothing but net, as Maccabi improved its defense with all its starters but Parker on the floor. Scola provided one of the highlights of the day with a wild unk in traffic, but the connection between Vujcic and Baston worked again for a 69-64 Maccabi edge. Vujcic scored around the basket, but Calderon used his jumping skills for a strong layup. Jasikevicius carried on reading the game well, finding an inspired Vujcic as often as possible. He drew a foul and made 1 of 2 free throws, but once again Jasikevicius took over with a close basket which forced a Tau timeout, 74-66, with 6 minutes to go. Parker returned to the floor and immediately made free throws to boost Maccabi's lead to double digits, 76-66, as Burstein was fouled out. Jasikevicius left no doubt about who would the MVP of the final, keeping full control of the game and making his team play with long possessions to avoid troubles already in the final 3 minutes. He slashed to keep Baston for a wild alleyoop dunk which capped a 7-0 run and sealed the outcome, 78-66, as Tau needed a miracle comeback now. Macijauskas tried to ignit one with 3 of 4 free throws, but 'Saras' and Parker were fully in charge, not allowing Maccabi to take any quick shot and tried to drew any many fouls as possible along the way. A close basket by Vujcic and free throws by Parker sealed the win. The Olympiysky Arena was covered in yellow, as Maccabi was once again the Euroleague winner!

Maccabi Elite - FF Moscow 2005
Sunday, May 8, 2005
Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net, Moscow
Attendance: 13607
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv26241525
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz15242316
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv26506590
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz15396278
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 FANAN, REGEV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 BASTON, MACEO 28:45 18 8/12   2/4 4 3 7   3 1 1   4 4 22
6 SHARP, DERRICK 22:15     0/2           1 2     2   -5
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 28:45 13 6/9   1/3 2 2 4 7 2 4   1 3 6 19
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 31:00 12 3/12   6/6   3 3 6 1 5   1 3 6 10
9 SHELEF, GUR 1:15                         1   -1
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 25:30 8 1/2 2/3     2 2 2 2       5 1 8
11 HALPERIN, YOTAM 4:30 2 1/1           1         1   2
12 DOTAN, ASSAF 0:15 2 1/1                         2
13 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 36:15 22 4/8 3/4 5/5   6 6 5 2 3     4 3 26
20 KOMMATOS, NESTORAS 21:15 13 1/1 3/4 2/2 1 2 3   2 1   1 5 2 12
41 GREEN, YANIV 0:15                         1   -1
Team           2   2   7 1         8
Totals 200:00 90 25/46 8/13 16/20 9 18 27 21 20 17 1 3 29 22 102
        54.3% 61.5% 80%
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
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 SCOLA, LUIS 37:15 21 8/11 0/2 5/8 5 4 9 4 1 4 1   4 6 26
5 PRIGIONI, PABLO 8:45               1   1          
6 HANSEN, TRAVIS 28:00 13 2/3 3/6   1 2 3 1 2 2     4 1 10
7 MACIJAUSKAS, ARVYDAS 31:00 13 1/2 0/3 11/13   2 2 1 2 5   1 2 9 13
8 CALDERON, JOSE 32:45 16 3/5 3/7 1/2 2 2 4   2 1     3 2 13
9 VIDAL, SERGI 19:00 5 1/3 0/3 3/4 1 1 2 1 3 2     1 5 7
13 CONLEY, ROBERT DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 DAVID, KORNEL 18:00 4 1/4   2/2   2 2           1 3 5
21 SPLITTER, TIAGO 24:45 6 2/4   2/4 1 3 4   1 3 2   4 3 5
22 GABINI, ROBERTO 0:15                         2   -2
51 BETTS, ANDY 0:15                         1   -1
Team           2 4 6   6 2         10
Totals 200:00 78 18/32 6/21 24/33 12 20 32 8 17 20 3 1 22 29 86
        56.3% 28.6% 72.7%
This game has no play by play yet

Head Coaches

Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"This is history? So I am part of history. Not only me. All these kids who have been working all season, every day, twice a day, along with my assistants, and they all deserve it. Listen, we had experience, first of all, after being in the same situation last year. Part of the game was tough, the third quarter. It was not a great game, but you have to know how to win a final. That's not tactics. Instead, that's fight and something you bring more from the heart and the legs. You have to push, and that's what did in the second half. We were tired, playing under pressure, the score was close to tied, but we did it finally."
"What can I tell you? Four titles, five finals, four cups. I'm happy. On Friday and today, we didn't play great basketball, but the Final Four is another story and we know how to do it. This is my way. Tonight, we took an advantage of their inexperience but we have a lot of respect for them, because of their big talent. I hope next year they could do the same we did tonight. My future? I don't think to my past or my future right now. I just want to get drunk and I hope I can walk back to my hotel. I didn't discover anything new in basketball. Players went with my system. I don't think it fits all players, but mine have found the way, the way to play nice basketball and win. Before the Top 16, many people said we were just offense. From the second round, we played good offense and good defense too."
"CSKA's season? It's not easy to face a Final Four when CSKA dominated all season long. But losing just one game put pressure not only on us, but on them too. I wanted to be the coach who would have beaten CSKA with CSKA unbeaten. But beating Tau is harder than facing CSKA, because we stood as favorite. Against CSKA, we would have been underdog and it's better to play as underdog. We won in Tel Aviv and here too, my players know how to face pressure and they showed it. You don't need only players who can score or shoot, you need personalities. And we had great personalities, a great team, a great group. I saw it when we reacted to the Tau rally."
"I didn't do anything. My team did it. They went out great, but in 6 or 7 possessions we couldn't pass the halfcourt. In those moments you have to play simple. Simple. There I put the four men away from Parker, with no picks, no motion, nothing. Maybe this trick won the game, because of forcing the players to go to my way. That's the deal. Yesterday, nobody was happy in the lockers. And I told them: I'm happy because you are not happy. That's the way to take the championship."
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"I don't believe there is much to congratulate us about tonight. We have to congratulate Maccabi. They played better than us. They played much more calm. We began the game too nervous. We came back and got in a rhythm, but in key moments, the thing was that they had more experience at those times, and it showed. I don't like having to say it, but this final will have to serve as experience for my players, so that next time they play one they can win it."


Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We never had full control. Tau was such an excellent basketball team. They kept coming at us. A couple of times we thought we had control, but as soon as we thought that, they hit a couple threes to get back in it. They're an excellent team and deserve congratulations for an excellent season. But listen, yellow is still in fashion in European basketball."
"Kommatos really hurt them tonight. It's much different when you play with a 10-point lead and when you play even. He came, it was bam, bam, bam, and we were up 10. It was tough for him early in the season, but I think Pini did a great job by continuing to believe in him."
"Let me tell you something: Maccabi is Good."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"Last year in Tel Aviv was a very big, special event. But it was also unbelievable here. We came here with a lot of expectations, but we were not the favourites. CSKA was the favourite team. They played amazing the whole year. But this is unbelievable."
"I knew a lot of people were coming, but I wasn't expecting so many fans to come. We want to thank them and appreciate them. This win was for them."
"We knew Tau was a good team. They were here because they deserve it. I really give them a lot of respect."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"It is a different feeling than we had last season, since it was in Tel Aviv with the whole arena backing us, while this time it was in Moscow and we made history. Every year is a challenge and this time we made it. Tau is a great team, they have great players and great shooters. We had to work hard to stop Macijauskas, he is one of the best shooters I have ever seen. I tried to work defensively on him and try to make him take bad shots. I am really happy, this was our goal from the very beginning. Saras is a winner, he is always ready for big games and tries to do everything that is in his hands to win it. He has done it year after year, he has proven in everywhere, not only in the Euroleague but also with his national teams. He is a winner and I hope he stays in Maccabi Tel Aviv next season."
"It's just a dream man. We had great team play, Saras played big, Nestoras Kommatos came out and played big. And I'm just happy. I give all the glory and praise to god. I just want to say thanks to this organization, and to these fans who come out and support us all year. It's wonderful. The Final Four wasn't as easy as last year, and all through the season, we had a lot of injury problems we had to fight through. We did that, and mentally we tried to get better. We've won 10 in a row since losing to Barcelona in our original group. It was a great run and I'm just real happy. Our main objective is just to win. People criticize our defense so much, but I think we do all right. We do what we can, and what we do best. We try to take teams out of what they do best. And then, offensively, you going to have to score with us. It's a great system, with a great coach and a great organization and I'm just real happy to do it again."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"The atmosphere in the game was great. It looked like the whole Nokia Arena was here. It was really nice, and made all players feel ready for the game and to take the title back to Tel Aviv. It was a surprise to see so many people, and I am so happy we made it. I am glad to be a member of Maccabi and part of Euroleague history. This team is unbelievable, we have great players and a great coach. Of course, Saras is an important part of Maccabi. Whatever he does next season, I wish him the best. He is the biggest leader in Europe and also a team player."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I feel great. It was very tough today, from the beginning, but this is European Basketball. It's tough for us all the time. Everybody thinks that it's easy, but it's not. We are the champions, and we'll celebrate all night with the players and fans."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We're so excited. We made history. We all worked hard all year to get to this point and we're happy because we were able to pull out the win tonight. We made the game interesting, I guess. The game went back and forth a bit and we probably made our fans a little nervous, but we didn't want have another 34-point win. We wanted to make a game of it. But we pulled it out and I am just happy to be a part of it."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"For me, what I say is that I was the top scorer in Greece, but I came here and I know my role. If I score 20 or zero it's the same. I want to help the team in any way. I am very happy. For these guys it's the second time, for me the first, and I am very happy. We'll go for three next year."
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"I really want to thank our fans who came all the way here. They were huge and we feel bad by not having been able to give them a new title. It was hard and we lost. It's a bit early now to try thinking about getting to the next Final Four in Prague. We need to sit down and overcome this defeat. we still have the Spanish League to play and we cannot think about other things now."
Tau Ceramica Vitoria-Gasteiz
"What can you say? We lost the Final against a great team. We lost too many balls and allowed them easy shots as well as free throws. However, it was our first Final Four title game and I think we did great. However I still don't know why we lost. The team feels bad now of course, we lost the Final. It was an important appointment but this is basketball, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Everybody said CSKA and Maccabi would be in the Final but we broke those predictions. To lose a Final you have to play it. I prefer this than winning the game for the third place, for sure."