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HomeSportsMVP didn't save Olympiacos! Real Madrid wins the 11th EuroLeague trophy...

MVP didn’t save Olympiacos! Real Madrid wins the 11th EuroLeague trophy in a crazy final

Date: October 1, 2023 Time: 18:11:55

In Lithuania, at the Zalgiris stadium in Kaunas, the 2022/2023 Euroleague season ended. In the final match of the Final Four, the Greek Olympiacos and the Spanish Real Madrid faced each other. And although the clubs from Russia did not participate in the tournament, there were many players familiar to our fans in the match, including among the winners. Los Blancos became the best team in Europe for the 11th time! Let’s tell how it was.

We go in order. Olympiacos became the winner of the EuroLeague regular season, winning 24 games out of 34 (70.6%). In addition, in these meetings, the team conceded only 2,578 points, the fewest in the tournament, which is not very typical for the club. To thank for the success on defense is Thomas Wakap, who leads the tournament in interception average (1.8), as well as paired with Kostas Sloukas in charge of ball movement (an average of 5.6 and 5.7). assists, respectively).

In attack, the Greeks, by the way, are also doing well. They have Bulgarian center Sasha Vezenkov, EuroLeague MVP this season, as well as their top scorer (17.2 points per game) and second best rebounder (6.8).

According to the results of the regular phase, Real Madrid added one less victory – 23 (67.6%). With this result, Creamy finished in third place. An away defeat against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the last game of the season did not allow the team to take second place, which had gone to their sworn rival Barcelona. Among the Spanish giants there was equality in terms of balance, as well as in personal encounters. Although Real Madrid still got home field advantage in the playoff series with Partizan (3-2).

Let’s move on to the Final Four. Olympiacos in the first game passed Monaco, the owner of Euro 2021. These teams also met in last year’s playoffs: it was the victory over Monaco in the series that allowed Olympiacos to return to the Final Four. True, there he immediately lost to the future champion – Anadolu Efes.

Now Monaco’s leader is Mike James, who played for CSKA Moscow from 2019 to 2021. In the regular season of the Euroleague, his team finished fourth with a record of 21-13, but James himself was included in the second five. symbolic of the tournament. The team managed to defeat Maccabi in the first round of the playoffs and reach the Final Four, but Olympiacos, in turn, defeated Fenerbahce (3-2), became stronger again.

The outcome of the match was actually decided in the third quarter, in which Geogrios Bartzokas’s charges, who were 12 points behind in the first half, led 27:2. The players calmed down, went on the defensive, and began to attack the ring with courage, effectively securing their way to the championship final.

Real Madrid – Olympiacos (79:78)

Photo: Tolga Adanali/Getty Images

In the second semifinal, the fans were waiting for “El Clásico” – “Real Madrid” against “Barcelona”. They met for the fifth time in the history of the tournament in the Final Four, and for the second time in a row, the victory went to the cream.

Last season they managed to defeat their opponent in the semifinals thanks to the efforts of Fabien Koser and Gershon Yabusele, who each scored 18 points. The latter, by the way, this year was forced to miss a match with Barça due to suspension. In a tiebreaker game against Partizan, he was involved in a mass brawl and was banned for five games after throwing himself on defender Dante Exam. As a result of the fight, he was diagnosed with a tendon tear in his toe.

But even in the absence of Yabusele, Real Madrid did a good job. Edi Tavares, who was the best defensive player in the EuroLeague three times, including this season, had a double-double of 20 points and 15 rebounds. Former UNICS player Mario Hezonha fell short of double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds. Well, Nikola Mirotic, through whom the entire Barça attack is built, scored just three points in 28 minutes, making nine mistakes in the game.

Barcelona did not stay for the Euroleague final and left Kaunas, this could end the stage of Sarunas Jasikevicius in the Catalan club. But more than 7,000 Greek fans turned out to see the result of the Final Four. For his team, this title could be the fourth in history: Olympiacos was proclaimed Euroleague champion in 1997, 2012 and 2013.

In Olympiacos’ starting five, Thomas Walkap, Isaiah Kanaan, Mustafa Fall, Sasha Vezenkov and Kostas Papanikolaou entered the match. Former CSKA Moscow player and naturalized Russian Joel Bolomboy remained on the bench. They were opposed from the first minutes by Canan Musa, Eli Ndiaye, Edi Tavares, Adam Khanga and another former VTB United League player, Nigel Williams-Goss, who joined Madrid from Lokomotiv-Kuban.

The first quarter of the game was for Olympiacos. Isaiah Kanaan made two consecutive three-pointers, to which Real Madrid responded with several shots from Williams-Goss. But midway through the segment, Vezenkov finally started scoring points for him. And, no matter how hard Tavares tried, the advantage of Bartzokas’s team began to grow. The triple Pap smear made it into double digits, but then Olympiacos’ position was rocked by a series of errors. Well, creamy, thanks to accurate hits by Fernández and Hezona, they still managed to recover a few points – according to the results of the first ten minutes, the rojiblancos took the lead with a score of 24:17.

In the second segment, Real Madrid continued to push. Vezenkov himself was completely “crushed” – he made several unnecessary losses and could not hit the ring in any way. So, halfway through the segment, the Royal Club equalized and then went ahead. After that, a slight advantage passed from one team to another, but the Spanish team dominated the rebounds: at the end of the second half, Real had 20 rebounds (against 13 for the opponent), including nine on someone else’s shield. The 2019 EuroLeague champion with CSKA, Sergio Rodríguez, deftly organized the game and dished out assists, while Hezonha scored points and almost reached Vezenkov. Towards the end of the quarter, the Creamys took a +5 lead, but Sasha’s two points and Shaquille McKissick’s long-range shot helped Olympiacos level. The teams entered the big break with a score of 45:45.

Real Madrid – Olympiacos (79:78)

Photo: David Grau/Getty Images

The third desyatiminutka began with the exchange of three-pointers. At Real Madrid, Musa scored his second long-range hit, and at Olympiacos, Kanaan secured his fourth. Soon Aizea also converted his fifth “three” – at the time he had 15 points on 83% from behind the arc. At the same time, Vezenkov’s shots from behind the arc did not fly: in the middle of the third segment, the Bulgarian missed five times from distance, for which Kanaan quickly caught up with him in terms of points. A slight lead with Olympiacos was maintained, but thanks to the effort of Williams-Goss, Real Madrid managed to equalize once again at the end of the segment. True, after that, the Greek team quickly discovered two two-point shots and made up “+4” – 63:59 before the decisive ten-minute period.

At the beginning of the last quarter, Olympiacos continued to increase their advantage: they scored five points in a row, breaking the 25-point mark, and also hit a spectacular three-pointer from the logo. “Real” did not give up: there were two consecutive long shots made by Fabien Coser. But two minutes later, Vezenkov, who was previously 0/5, struck from behind the arc for the second time in the fourth. The degree of contention has heated up: arguing with the judges, the Spanish coach Chus Mateo has won a coach. Olympiacos then led +6, with just over three minutes to go before the final siren sounded. But the Real Madrid players continued without giving up. They went on a 7-2 run: Rodríguez scored the first five points, and captain Sergio Llull made the decisive shot three seconds from the end of the game. The last possession went to Olympiacos, but Kostas Sloukas missed the shot to win. The result: 79:78, the minimum victory and the championship for Real Madrid!

Euroleague. The end

May 21, 2023, Sunday. 20:00 Moscow time


Piraeus, Greece

real Madrid

Madrid Spain

Olympiacos: Negro, Bolomboy, Vezenkov, Kanaan, Larentsakis, Luntsis, Makkissik, Papanicolaou, Peters, Slookas, Walkup, Fall

Real Madrid: Abalde, Coser, Llule, Musa, Ndiaye, Rodríguez, Randolph, Tavares, Williams-Goss, Fernández, Hanga, Hezonha

The most productive player of the game was Sasha Vezenkov – he has 29 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Isea Kanaan scored 21 points. Sergio Rodríguez led Real Madrid with 15 points and nine assists.

The Final Four MVP award went to Edie Tavares, who had a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds in the final game.

For the 11th time in history, Real Madrid became the EuroLeague champion, but Olympiacos was literally one shot away. Poor me! Now in Europe – a new champion. And in the match for third place, Monaco, by the way, beat Barcelona. This season is coming to an end, the teams are going to a well-deserved rest. The next championship begins only in the fall, on October 6.

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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