On This Day, 2014: Maccabi is again champion of Europe

May 18, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print
On This Day, 2014: Maccabi is again champion of Europe

On this day in 2014, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv painted Milan yellow after it came from behind to defeat Real Madrid 98-86 in overtime at Mediolanum Forum for its sixth European championship.

The buildup

These two teams were serious contenders from the start of the season. Real had been to the Final Four in two of the previous three seasons and lost in the championship game in London the season before against Olympiacos Piraeus. Maccabi had chalked up four straight playoff appearances and reached the 2011 championship game in Barcelona before losing to Panathinaikos Athens. Real, which beat Maccabi twice in their Top 16 group, took care of Olympiacos in the playoffs and then FC Barcelona in the semifinal. Maccabi eliminated EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in the playoffs and then survived a thriller against CSKA Moscow in the semis to reach the championship game.

A classic clash

Thirty-four years after these same teams met in the 1980 championship game in West Berlin, in which Real won 89-85, they would meet again with the title on the line. The big men on each team had their say early, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis and Ioannis Bourousis standing out as the teams ended the first quarter with Real ahead 16-15. Real made its move in the second quarter with Sergio Rodriguez playing a key role in a 0-10 run that gave it a 26-15 advantage. David Blu heated up for Maccabi to trim the gap to 35-33 at the break. The intensity grew in the third quarter, which featured 10 lead changes and set up an exciting finish. Tyrese Rice stepped up late for Maccabi to put it in position to win, however, free throws by Rodriguez and Bourousis tied the game at 73-73 in the final minute and Rice missed at the buzzer to set up overtime. It was the first championship game to go to overtime since 1969! There was no stopping Rice in the extra session as Maccabi pulled away for an 86-98 victory.

The numbers

Rice, who scored 21 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, was named Final Four MVP. Ricky Hickman added 18 points, Devin Smith tallied 15 points and 7 rebounds in 40:40 of playing time, Blu finished with 14 points and Alex Tyus posted 12 points and 11 rebounds. Rodriguez paced Real with 21 points on 5-of-10 three-point shooting, Rudy Fernandez netted 15 points and 8 rebounds and Nikola Mirotic, Bourousis and Felipe Reyes added 12 points apiece. It was Maccabi's sixth continental championship and the first as head coach for David Blatt.

What happened next

Real rebounded from the disappointment of an overtime loss in the championship game with a spectacular 2014-15 season in which it won the EuroLeague on its home floor in the Spanish capital. It cemented its status as one of the great clubs of this era with another championship in 2018. Maccabi made the playoffs the following season under Coach Guy Goodes, but was swept by Fenerbahce and did not qualify for the playoffs again until this season.