2004-05Final FourSEMIFINAL A
May 06, 2005 CET: 18:10
Local time: 19:10 OLYMPIYSKY ARENA
Anthony Parker - Maccabi Elite - FF Moscow 2005

An historic attempt to take two Euroleague titles in a row is still alive after defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv downed Panathinaikos 91-82 in the first semifinal of the Euroleague Final Four before 13,500 fans at Olympiyski Arena in Moscow on Friday. A masterful performance by Sarunas Jasikevicius, who finished with 13 points and 8 assists, was key for Maccabi. So was Derrick Sharp, who came off the bench for 20 points, his most ever in a Euroleague game. Maccabi had led by 12 points in the second quarter, but Panathianikos completed a comeback to take a brief 54-55 lead in the third quarter, before Euroleague MVP Anthony Parker scored his first basket on the way to 13 points. Maccabi was loyal to its usual basketball philosophy and put six players in double digits, with Tal Burstein and Maceo Baston adding 14 points each, while Nikola Vujcic had 11. Ibrahim Kutluay led Panathinaikos with 17 points. Dimitris Diamantidis and Vlado Scepanovic each had 16 while Fragiskos Alvertis added 10 for the Greens. Maccabi will face the winner of the second semifinal between CSKA Moscow and Tau Ceramica with the chance to become the first team to win consecutive Euroleague titles since Split scored a three-peat between 1989 and 1991. Meanwhile, Panathinaikos will fight for the third place in this year's Euroleague to cap a very succesful season. Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon enters its fourth consecutive final with the team. Sarunas Jasikevicius could be the first player to win three Euroleague titles in a row since 1991, his first having come with Barcelona in 2003 and his second last season with Maccabi.

Panathinaikos started the game ready to take the offensive challenge, with top bombers Scepanovic and Kutluay in the starting five. It took Maccabi seven seconds to score, as Jasikevicius found Baston for an alley-oop layup. Scepanovic got Panathinaikos started with a driving layup while Lakovic added free throws and gave the Greens a 3-4 edge still in the opening minute. Scepanovic added a five-meter jumper to cap a 0-6 Panathinaikos run, but Kutluay picked up his second foul. Vujcic found a three-point play in the paint for a 6-6 tie, as the Greens entered the foul bonus in less than 3 minutes. Burstein put Maccabi back ahead with a short jumper, and even though Kutluay immediately answered from downtown, Baston buried a five-meter shot which Vujcic followed with a put-back layup for a 12-9 Maccabi lead. An unstoppable Scepanovic made a three from the right wing, but Jasikevicius made free throws to keep Maccabi up, 14-12. Baston provided some showtime with a two-handed dunk while giving the Greens trouble when trying to score around the basket. Meanwhile, Burstein made a reverse layup for an 18-14 Maccabi margin. Alvertis came off the bench and immediately scored in the paint, while Parker found his first points in the free throw line, as he had struggled against Scepanovic's excellent defense. Lakovic tried to wake Panathinaikos up with a driving layup, but Maccabi was now unstoppable. Good ball circulation allowed Burstein to nail a corner three which gave the reigning champs a 25-18 lead after 10 minutes.

Kutluay opened fire in the second quarter with a big three, but that didn't change things. Baston fed Nestoras Kommatos for a layup while Sharp slashed for a three-point play and a 30-21 Maccabi lead. Diamantidis matched that at the other end, but Panathinaikos faced early foul trouble, with as many as five players already with 2 fouls apiece after 12 minutes. Diamantidis became the go-to guy for the Greens, as he scored from downtown to make it 31-27. Maccabi played now with both Sharp and Jasikevicius on court, and it worked brilliantly. Sharp followed a corner three with a tough layup, while 'Saras' fed Yaniv Green for an easy layup, enough to keep Maccabi in charge at 38-31. Panathinaikos coach Zeljko Obradovic called timeout and tried a small lineup with Diamantidis at the point to guard Sharp and Alvertis playing power forward. But Sharp was simply on fire. He followed free throws with another bomb from downtown, as Maccabi got its first double-digit lead, 43-33. The Greens struggled to score, while Burstein took over with a wild dunk in traffic which capped a 9-2 run. Scepanovic came to the rescue for Panathinaikos with a catch-and-shoot three, which Maccabi coach Pini Gershon answered with a quick timeout. Burstein found room for a six-meter jumper, but Alvertis fired in his trademark triple in the other end to make it a seven-point game, 47-40. Maccabi now had trouble against Panathinaikos's switching man-to-man defense. Even with that, Jasikevicius found a fast break layup to extend Maccabi's margin to 49-41 at halftime.

Nikos Hatzivrettas slashed for a layup to open the third quarter, but Jasikevicius dished his sixth assist to Baston, who turned a wild dunk into a three-point play to give Maccabi a 52-43 lead. Tsartsaris scored in the paint and by the time Diamantidis buried his second three-pointer, Maccabi knew it was in trouble. Hatzivrettas added free throws which brought the Greens back into the game, 52-50. Maccabi went scoreless for more than 4 minutes in which the current Euroleague holders missed 6 shots and committed 3 turnovers while entering the foul bonus, too. Hatzivrettas made the most out of it, drilling free throws to tie the game, 52-52. Sharp tried to change things with a layup on goaltending by Tsartsaris, but a red hot Hatzivrettas took over with a big three which gave the Greens their first lead since the early going, 54-55. Sharp stepped up with a mid-range jumper to put his team back in track, 58-55. Parker showed his MVP credentials in crunch time, following a big shot with a triple for a 61-55 Maccabi lead. Kutluay came off the bench after a Panathinaikos timeout and immediately nailed a three, but Maccabi had found its rhythm. Baston scored an acrobatic layup and Sharp - who else? - buried with fourth bomb from downtown to boost their team's margin to 66-58. Parker stayed on fire with a high-flying jumper, but a driving basket by Kutluay and a buzzer-beater tip-in by Tsartsaris brought Panathinaikos within 68-62 after 30 minutes, keeping the Greens' chances alive.

Panathinaikos forced a shot-clock violation on Maccabi to open the fourthe quarter. Kostas Tsartsaris followed that with a big block on Jasikevicius before Lakovic picked up his fourth foul. The Greens failed to score at the other end, however, and Maccabi found a go-to guy in Vujcic. He scored twice around the basket to boost his team's margin back to double digits, 72-62. Kutluay and Jasikevicius exchanged three-pointers, but Alvertis stepped up with a jumper which kept the Greens alive, 75-67. That's when Jasikevicius decided he had enough. He slashed for a tough layup and added free throws soon after that for a 12-point Maccabi margin, 79-67. Obradovic called timeout and put Scepanovic back on court looking for more fire power. Diamantidis tried to change things with a three-point play, but an unsportsmanlike foul on Alvertis allowed Maccabi to keep a safe lead. Kutluay nailed his fifth three of the game and added a free throw to bring Panathinaikos within single digits, 81-73, with 3:02 remaining. Baston grabbed an offensive rebound to score in the paint, but Diamantidis fed Alvertis for a basket-plus-foul which gave the Greens some hope at 83-76. Parker provided the highlight with a two-handed alley-oop dunk, while Jasikevicius sealed the outcome from the free throw line. A majority of Maccabi fans in the standings started to celebrate, knowning then that their team would be there to defend the Euroleague title in the Final.

Friday, May 6, 2005
Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net, Moscow
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Attendance: 13607
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv25241923
Panathinaikos Athens18232120
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv25496891
Panathinaikos Athens18416282
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 23:30 14 6/6   2/3 1 4 5 1 4 1 2   3 3 24
6 SHARP, DERRICK 25:15 20 4/5 3/5 3/4 1 2 3   1 2   1 2 2 17
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 29:00 11 4/5   3/3 3 2 5 2 1 2   1 2 2 15
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 37:00 13 3/6 1/1 4/6   5 5 3 1 2   1 1 6 19
9 SHELEF, GUR 1:15 2 1/1                         2
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 25:30 14 4/6 1/6 3/4   1 1 3   3     5 2 4
11 HALPERIN, YOTAM 0:15                              
12 DOTAN, ASSAF DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 33:15 13 2/6 1/3 6/7       8 1 3   1 2 6 15
20 KOMMATOS, NESTORAS 18:45 2 1/1     1 3 4   2   3   4 1 8
41 GREEN, YANIV 6:15 2 1/2       1 1   1 1     3   -1
Team                   7 1         6
Totals 200:00 91 26/38 6/15 21/27 6 18 24 17 18 15 5 4 22 22 109
        68.4% 40% 77.8%
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
Panathinaikos Athens
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 ALVERTIS, FRAGISKOS 22:00 10 3/5 1/4 1/1   1 1       1   3 1 5
5 KALAITZIS, GEORGIOS 7:00   0/1     1   1 1             1
6 PAPANIKOLAOU, DIMITRIOS DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7 LAKOVIC, JAKA 17:00 4 1/2 0/4 2/2   1 1 1 2       4 3 2
8 BATISTE, MIKE 26:00 2 1/2     2 4 6   2 4   1   2 6
9 FEMERLING, PATRICK 13:45 4 1/1   2/2 2   2 1 1 1 1   3 3 8
10 HATZIVRETTAS, NIKOS 15:00 9 1/1 1/3 4/4 1 1 2 2 1 3   1 1 2 9
12 TSARTSARIS, KOSTAS 18:00 4 2/2   0/2 1 2 3   1 1 1 2 4 1 1
13 DIAMANTIDIS, DIMITRIS 34:00 16 3/3 2/4 4/6 1 4 5 5 3 3 1 1 3 5 24
14 SCEPANOVIC, VLADO 26:15 16 4/7 2/4 2/2         1 1       3 14
19 KUTLUAY, IBRAHIM 21:00 17 2/6 4/8 1/2 3   3 1 1 3     4 2 8
35 BAXTER, LONNY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1 2 3   3 2         4
Totals 200:00 82 18/30 10/27 16/21 12 15 27 11 15 18 4 5 22 22 82
        60% 37% 76.2%
This game is not yet played

Head Coaches

Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"It has been a tough and close game, like every game again Panathinaikos. They play well on offense and use many nice objects in defense. As was said earlier, they would have played with the pleasure to be underdog, so I think it wasn't easy to play as favourite. We played an average game, but our average is a good game. I have to thank our bench: Kommatos, Sharp and Green helped us big in winning this game. I am satisfied about our defense, we played it good the most of the time. After first few minutes, we found the way to play against them, using a type of zone against their four guards. And we won. Saras? Unfortunately, he was not in a good-shooting night, but he helped us in a lot of many ways to make it to the final. Yes, we won as a team. No matter who starts the game, no matter who is a big player. You can win only playing like a team. Thanks to our crowd too: we are used to playing in front of our people and they helped tonigh, too, in an arena in which they are far from the court. They are always with us."
Panathinaikos Athens
"First, congratulations to Maccabi for this win. As expected, it has been a difficult game and it became even very much difficult. I'm very proud of our season in the Euroleague, for how we played today against a big-quality team, which played well today, too. We tried everything to win tonight, but we made big mistakes at the end of the third quarter. In those last 3 minutes we had just 2 fouls committed, but we let them scoring nine easy points. You can't do it in game like this and, especially, you can't lose concentration against Maccabi."
"Did we guard well on Parker & Saras? We prepared the defensive game against all Maccabi's team, not only against two players, even though they're big players. In the first half, we made mistakes playing full-court pressure and we left them for open shots."
"Jaka Lakovic? He started committing three straight fouls and this has conditioned his game. But this is his first-ever Final Four and I'm sure it will not be the last. As I said yesterday, we are really happy to have joined this event with some unexperienced players. Maccabi has experience and I think they have shown it."


Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"They really focused on the inside, on the highscreen and roll and that opened it up for a lot of other guys. I don't care how many points I score as long as we win. Derrick (Sharp) can do it all, and he gave us a spark off the bench that was what we exactly really needed."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I never thought it was over. I only thought it was over against Zalgiris last season and I will never think it again. This team is never a one-man show because we have a lot of quality players. Take Derrick Sharp and Tal Burstin, they were amazing tonight. Or team is much more than two or three players. The atmosphere with so many Maccabi fans was great."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We came out ready in the beginning. We got a little cushion and that gave us some momentum, and from there we played from in front pretty well. They made a great effort to come back, but we were able to hold them off in the end."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"I think we had control of the gmae for the most part. We led almost from the beginning. I think Panathinaikos did a good job of taking the ball out of the hands of our big players. But we have good enough guys to make up the points and we made good decisions against them. When they trap Saras and Anthony, I'm not going to look for the extra pass if I am open. Also our, bit guys did a great job rebounding, which helped us keep it going."
"It wasn't our best game of the year. We can play better than this, but I guess because it was the first game, and we played this way in the semifinal last year. We need to do more. We haven't done anything yet. We have to come back better because both CSKA and Tau are great teams and we'll meet one of them in the Final."
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv
"We saw all that yellow coming out of tunnel and it was incredible. We have a comfort level seeing that yellow. We got down with the crowd throughout. Knowing that we had all this support there definitely made a difference."
Panathinaikos Athens
"Maccabi is an amazing offensive team. We hoped to make it to the finals, but us being here is a big success already. We stopped Maccabi for 3 quarters but against a team like they have right now it's just not enough."
Panathinaikos Athens
"We fought hard but they were simply better. Our game plan worked but we just couldn't stop them. It was a good experience for us and I'm sure we'll be back to another Final Four in the future."
Panathinaikos Athens
"Maccabi surely played a great game tonight. We had some problems with their defense, Maccabi made the shots as d they have a good team full of good players. The factor for the win were not the fans but Maccabi players, We are used to play in this kind of atmosphere. We tried hard to stay in the game but they always came up with the big shots, including a key triple by Parker."
Panathinaikos Athens
"Maccabi were better. In most of the game we played good defense but it just didn't help. Maccabi's fans didn't interrupt us, but of course they helped their team and I guess Maccabi felt like they are playing at home. Sharp came off the bench amazingly and hurt us alot. you can't stop everybody and he made the difference. Now I want Maccabi to win the finals and my friens Saras will look better."
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