The first semifinal started with a balance even though CSKA Moscow almost always had a slight lead. Defense was good on both teams’ stars and the score is low, so much that the first quarter ended with 20-17 lead for CSKA Moscow. In the second quarter, Olympiakos Piraeus has tried to take the lead but Spanoulis seemed incapable of scoring. The first half ended with a 36-35 lead for CSKA Moscow. The Russian team started better the second half reaching a 47-39 lead and Olympiakos Piraeus relied on young players such as Agravanis to score points and to come back so at the end of the third quarter the lead for CSKA Moscow was only 51- 47. In the fourth quarter it seemed that the Russian team could take control of the game at 63-53 but in the last minutes Spanoulis came into the game scoring 13 points with impossible baskets to give Olympiakos Piraeus a small lead on 69-66. In the final plays, free throws brought the score to 70-68 giving Olympiakos Piraeus another win.
In the second semifinal, Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul started well and the first quarter ended 21-20 for the Turkish team. In the second quarter the bench players changed everything for Real Madrid, starting from Nocioni with his 9-0 run. The second quarter became triumphant for the Spanish team, which finished the first half with a 55-35 lead. In the third quarter Real Madrid reached 64-37 before a little relaxation and the pride of Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul’s players reduced the gap to reach the end of the third quarter on 76-59 for Real Madrid. In the fourth quarter Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul still tried to come back but Real Madrid managed to keep at least part of its lead to finish the game with a 96-87 victory.
In the third place match, CSKA Moscow defeated Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 86-80. I didn’t watch it because I honestly consider it a pointless game.
The final starts with great intensity as it was expected but inevitably the score is initially low. It’s very balanced with many lead changes and slowly the players warm up. Thanks largely to the Matt Lojeski’s 10 points Olympiakos Piraeus takes its first real lead on 17-12 but a triple by Sergio Llull gets Real Madrid close again. The first quarter ends with Olympiakos Piraeus having a 19-15 lead.
At the beginning of the second quarter the intensity is even higher if possible and any defensive action is at the limit of the foul. Olympiakos Piraeus tries to maintain its lead but a triple by Jonas Maciulis gives Real Madrid the tie on 22-22 and after a few minutes the Lithuanian gives the Spanish team a 28-25 lead. The Greek team has a bad free throws percentage with 6/14 in the first half and Real Madrid takes advantage of that to go on 32-26. The first half ends with Real Madrid having its top lead 35-28.
In the third quarter Real Madrid seems to still have something extra and its lead increases to 40-29. Olympiakos Piraeus finally scores field goals after three minutes and starts closing the gap also causing the fourth foul by Felipe Reyes. The triples by Kostas Sloukas and Matt Lojeski and a 2-point scoring by Georgios Printezis give the Greek a new lead on 41-40. The game seems balanced again but Jaycee Carroll with three triples in a row drives Real Madrid’s new strike up to 49-43 and, after a free throw bt Printezis, with a 2-point scoring takes the lead to 51-44. Real Madrid ends the third quarter leading 53-46.
In the fourth quarter Olympiakos Piraeus tries to come back but Real Madrid baffles the attempt. The tension is incredible and the two teams score little, all to the Spanish team’s advantage. The Greek team is now struggling a lot remaining stuck to 55 points for some minutes and Real Madrid gradually increases its lead. Olympiakos Piraeus finally manages to score but now there are less than two minutes to go and even Spanoulis can’t change that. There’s only time for some arguments between some players before reaching the end with Real Madrid winning the game 78-59 winning the Euroleague 2014/2015.
Olympiakos Piraeus showed once again that it can never be considered defeat before any game. This time, however, it failed to complete the deed also because of Spanoulis failing to score decisive points and a team free throws percentage really bad with a final 12/26. For the Greek team it’s a disappointment but it has the means to try again.
For Real Madrid after the disappointments of recent years finally the great triumph came with Andres Nocioni voted the Final Four MVP. It was a fantastic Euroleague for the Spanish team and this time it completed a mission requested loudly by its fans, especially after the football team lost in the Champions League. Now that the team won, what’s the limit?