Real Madrid had won the last Euro-league title in 1995 against the same opponents; Olympiacos Piraeus in the Spanish city of Zaragoza. Two decades later, they repeated the feat and lifted the 2015 championship with powerful performances all through the season. That match culminated the great Final Four in which Olympiacos stunned CSKA Moscow on Friday’s first semifinal. Later, the same day, Real Madrid came through with a convincing semifinal win over Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul. Just before the championship game on Sunday, CSKA drew some solace in clinching the third spot, when they won against Fenerbahce, who had a great tournament as well. Every match in the Final Four at the Barclaycard Center in Madrid on May 15 and 17, 2015 was a treat for basketball fans in Europe and around the world. For Real Madrid, it was a record ninth time that they had the honor of being crowned as the continental champion. The victory also marked the 15th European title for Real – another record. The final was a closely-contest affair as Olympiacos led in the third quarter 41-40 but the final 14 minutes of the game changed everything with Real Madrid running away with 38-18 score that settled the victory in their favor. It was a coincident that King of Spain, Felipe VI handed the trophy to his namesake Felipe Reyes, captain of Real Madrid.
There were night long celebrations in Madrid with the local club winning the Turkish Airlines Euro-league championship. But the victory didn’t come on a platter as Olympiacos Piraeus shot to a narrow lead in the third quarter. Although Real began well, Spanoulis split free throws to set Olympiacos in charge. The first quarter went neck-to-neck with good performances from both sides but towards the end, Othello Hunter and Brent Petway ensured a 19-15 lead for Olympiacos. Spirited second quarter show from Real Madrid’s Jonas Maciulis ensured that the Madrid team got its largest lead as the quarter ended 35-28 in favor of Real. This halftime lead proved crucial for Real Madrid despite, Olympiacos turning in brave show in the third quarter. After Real shot to a 40-29 double-digit lead, Olympiacos carried on with great combinations from Mantzaris, Lojeski, Sloukas and Printezis as the Greek team took a 41-40 lead. This 12-0 run from Olympiacos was too scary for Real but Carroll ended the drought with a triple. Though Sloukas looked hot, Carroll continued with great play and with support from Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Rodriguez, Real Madrid ended third quarter at 53-46. The fourth quarter belonged to Real Madrid with Nocioni’s triple giving them a 10-point lead. Marcus Slaughter and Sergio Rodriguez kept the momentum going despite Sloukas Matt Lojeski and Othello Hunter charging up for Olympiacos. Real had lost its lead in later part but Nocioni brought the fans to their feet with a triple that restored a 10-point difference with hardly any time left. With Llull adding to the lead with 2 free throws. There was some pressure from Olympiacos in the final minute, when Printezis scored from a baseline floater but with a great lay-up from Rodriguez and a triple thereafter, Madrid ended the day with a historic 78-59 victory.
On May 15, CSKA Moscow had suffered a shock defeat against Olympiacos Pireus after showing great promise in a close semifinal. With 4 minutes left in that game, CSKA led by 9 points but Vassilis Spanoulis’ heroics changed all that with 11 fourth quarter points and reversed the match in favor of Olympiacos. It was one of the most stunning performances that led to Olympiacos to the final with a 70-68 win over CSKA. Spanoulis was the Final Four MVP in both 2012 and 2013, when he had led his team to the title by beating CSKA in 2012 title game at Istanbul and 2013 semifinal in London. The Russian Club had to remain content with the third place by beating Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 86-80. Both teams had lost in the semifinals two days ago but they played spirited basketball on Sunday and fought for the third place. CSKA were nicely placed at halftime at 48-24 but Fenerbahce came up with a superb second-half rally to cut down the deficit to just 6 points in the end. Nando De Colo led CSKA with 17 points; Demetris Nichols added 14 points and Aaron Jackson tallied 12 points and 6 assists. For Fenerbahce, Andrew Goudelock scored 24 points; Nemanja Bjelica had 18 with 10 rebounds and 3 steals.
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