CSKA captures the Euroleague Championship !!!
Similarly like in previous seasons, also this year Eurobasket has live
coverage from the most important European clubs event - Euroleague Final Four.
Final: Maccabi Tel-Aviv - CSKA Moscow 77-91 (21-22,20-20, 16-21, 20-28)
Half of the arena was yellow as the Maccabi supporters were definitely the
visible majority. CSKA support section was alot smaller, but they were joined by
Montepaschi and Tau fans, who also cheered for the Russian team. Most of
journalists predicted that CSKA would win the game as they more quality players
on the paper, and at the beginning of the season not many predicted Maccabi
making it to the Final Four. But after they changed the coach in the mid-season,
they improved dramatically and made it all way to the Euroleague final.
Both of these teams are considered the the finest professional franchises in
European basketball boosting annual budgets over $40 million dollars per season.
Maccabi Tel Aviv has won back to back Euroleague titles in the new millenium
and CSKA has appered in the last six final fours.
CSKA powered their way to the Euroleague championship with a 91-71 victory
and was lead by
Trajan Langdon (192-G-76, college:
points, who mas named MVP of the Final Four.
The Russian team was a lot more disciplined on offense and Maccabi falter
with a sluggish third quarter and individual play.
Nikola Vujcic (211-C-78, agency:
Interperformances) scored the first basket of the game. CSKA seemed to be a
little pressed by the loud support of Maccabi fans which inspired the Yellows to
a 5-0 lead.
Trajan Langdon scored five points in a row cutting Maccabi's lead and
David Andersen (212-C-80) followed with a two pointer taking the first lead
of the game for the Russian team.
Both teams got their rhythm while exchanging many baskets and CSKA opened up
a small lead, but could not increase as both teams traded baskets like a good
Maccabi had a chance to knot the score but missed four consecutive free
throws in a row. The first quarter ended with CSKA leading 22-21.
The second quarter started with a perfect play from both teams and the lead
changed every few seconds.
Finally Maccabi made two turnovers and CSKA thanks to
Matjaz Smodis (205-F-79) and his great inside game managed to get four point
Maccabi took the time out but it did not help because they ended up loosing
three out of the next four posessions and CSKA was more disciplined increasing
the lead to seven points (38-31).
Bynum (180-G-83, agency:
took charge and scored two consecutive baskets cutting the CSKA lead to just
Maccabi took another time out then
David Bluthenthal (201-F-80, college:
three pointer tied the game. CSKA took a one point advantage to the halftime
CSKA Moscow started the third quarter very focused and after two three
pointers in a row, they increased the lead to seven points.
Holden (185-G-76, college:
David Andersen was playing some good basketball during this time period.
Will Bynum on the other hand missed a couple of drives in a row and Maccabi
suffered from too much one on one play and lost their composure.
Maccabi could not penatrate the strong defense of CSKA and the the Russian
got the ball to their inside players increasing the lead to 9 points.
Three minutes before the end of the quarter Maccabi asked for the timeout but
It did not help a lot and CSKA kept similar lead till the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter started with CSKA playing very smart and controlled game. Maccabi's approach did not change too much and we could see the end coming soon.
CSKA had a small fan contingent but was very loud considering their size
compared to the Yellows and their fanatical supporters.
The Russian fans went crazy after
Matjaz Smodis hit a three pointer giving CSKA fourteen point (71-57) lead.
Maccabi took another timeout with the saame result.
The Russian team still controlled the game and was very successful defending
the one-on-one play by the Israeli team.
Maccabi woke up exactly in the center of the forth quarter, when they scored
their first two baskets in this period.
CSKA took time out seeing the Yellows getting their rhythm. Maccabi was
determined to change the result, but CSKA played very smart game and controlled
the tempo of the contest.
Two and a half minutes before the end of the game Maccabi took its last time
out since they had nothing to lose as the game was really over at this point.
At this time the security personnel already arrived on the court in a large
number just to make sure they would have full control of the fans.
The final minutes belonged to Greek
Theodoros Papaloukas (200-G-77, agency:
Interperformances) and his Russian team. They had too mucch class to allow
the victory slip out of their hands.
The Montepaschi fans who stayed to watch the final game after their team won
3rd place, started cheering in support of CSKA team, upcoming Euroleague
It took CSKA 35 years to win the Euroleague title since it lifter the trophy
in 1971, but won it twice in 2006 and now in 2008. It makes the Russian team the
second most winning team in Euroleague history.
Messina becomes the second most winning coach in Euroleague history with 4
titles, just behind
Obradovic with 6 titles.
Eurobasket.com All-Euroleague Awards 2007-08
All-league 1st Team 2007-08
Nikola Pekovic (210-C-86) of Partizan Igokea Beograd (SRB) was voted
Euroleague Player of the Year by Eurobasket correspondents. It was a very
close vote with
Jeremiah Massey (202-F-82) of Aris Thessaloniki (GRE).
Massey had slightly better stats. He had only 0.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg and 1.4
index rate per game more than Pekovic but he played 3 games less than
Pekovic because of Euroleague quarter finals. Massey spent 33 minutes per
game on the court while Pekovic had 27 mpg. Guard of the Year goes to
Will Solomon. He had strong competition coming from Papaloukas, McIntyre
and Diamantidis. But he posted better final stats. But there was no doubt
who gets the award of the best defensive player. It goes to
Terence Morris of Maccabi Elite who was top blocker and grabbed most of
the rebounds. We had some problems with selecting top 5 import players.
Tau's Tiago Splitter should make that list. But he has also Spanish
passport, so is already counted as domestic player.
Notice: The awards are done before Final Four, so they are nto effected by
the last 4 games and they give more credit to overall- season, not just
The final votes were combined by Dragan Jankovski of Eurobasket
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