2009 Final Four press review

May 11, 2009 by Euroleague.net Print
2009 Final Four press review
Marca (Spain)

"A homage to basketball. That is what the Euroleague final was. A thrilling game gone mad, with both teams having ups and downs, with an unstoppable team against a sunk one, who both changed roles after halftime to take hearts to their limit. That blessed atrocity crowned Panathinaikos as the King of Europe for the fifth time, its fourth with win-it-all coach Obradovic. It was a deserving win, but the game could have ended with CSKA succesfully defending its title. It would have been equally fair. The best two teams in the continent and best two coaches deserved it. If Solomon had been in Berlin, he would have broken the cup in two. The best Final Four ever had a proper outcome. The fact that the ending was totally unexpected contributed to this thrill. Nobody imagined that Panathinaikos would play close to perfection in the first half...At the same time, nobody expected that CSKA would come back from the dead and would get a chance to win it...When that last shot hit the rim, the milimeters that separate ecstasy from deception got smaller in the same way that Obradovic's legend keeps growing."

Ta Nea (Greece)

"o2 World hosted a sumptuous three-day basketball feast that will remain a part of history forever: the best Final Four held at the best arena, which obliges everybody to respect it and enjoy basketball."

Draft ExpressDraft Express.com (United States)

A wonderful Euroleague Final Four weekend came to a very fitting end as Panathinaikos managed to hold onto a slim two-point lead against CSKA Moscow. Ramunas Siskauskas had a chance to win the game at buzzer with a difficult pull-up 3-pointer, but saw his shot rim out. Panathinaikos wins their fifth Euroleague title, mainly on the heels of an unbelievable defensive display in the first half…. We couldn’t have possibly asked for a better Euroleague Final Four, as the city of Berlin delivered an incredibly well organized event ...that really highlighted the strengths of European basketball. MORE

NBA Draft.net (United States)

"Home court in Europe? Now that is more like it. Even at a neutral site where the number of fans from a particular side is limited, it is evident that the emotion brought by the fans directly transfers over to the court. When they start to sing, whistle, yell, jump, bang the drums, make obscene gestures – all out of real passion – everybody in the arena feels it, including the players. Real home court advantage is about loyalty, tradition and fans being there for their team, showing their emotions and truly caring for the outcome of the game. When it comes to home court advantage, devotion to the team will win every time." MORE

The Guardian (United Kingdom)

"In Berlin, the Euroleague Final Four demonstrated why – in good time – the giants of our continent feel optimistic that they can create a product that is every bit as appealing as the NBA. Panathinaikos's 73–71 triumph over CSKA Moscow to lift their fifth European title was every bit as thrilling as their semifinal victory, two nights earlier, against Greek rivals Olympiacos." MORE

Kathimerini (Greece)

"Skipper Dimitris Diamantidis lifted the cup after a tense final in front of 15,000 fans, 4,000 of whom were Greek. The atmosphere was superb as the players and coach Zeljko Obradovic celebrated the trophy like young children...In a very emotional moment at the end, Diamantidis called over unused substitute Frangiskos Alvertis so that they could lift the cup together in the last European competition of Alvertis, the only Panathinaikos player to have been a member of all five Euroleague-winning teams." MORE

Russia Today (Russia)

Panathinaikos have barely survived a valiant comeback by defending champions CSKA Moscow to win 73-71 and collect their fifth Euroleague title...The Greek side led by an astonishing 23 points with six minutes to go in the third quarter but Moscow came around to within one point twice in the final 26 seconds. During their drive CSKA held Panathinaikos to just eight points in the third quarter, which is Euroleague's Final Four record...Just like two years ago, a single basket separated the two at the end of the showdown in Berlin, meaning history has repeated itself." MORE

Blic (Serbia)

"Panathinaikos Athens have become European basketball champions, while their coach – Serbian prominent basketball expert Zeljko Obradovic – is the king of continental club basketball once again. After clinching the Euroleague title at the Final Four event in Berlin this weekend, Obradovic has not only won his seventh club champions trophy, but achieved the feat with four different teams." MORE

New York Times (United States)

"Drew Nicholas, who won the N.C.A.A. title with Maryland in 2002, became the fourth player to win both the N.C.A.A. and Euroleague title following Tyus Edney and Jiri Zidek (both U.C.L.A. 1995, Zalgiris 1999) and Tony Delk (Kentucky 1996, Panathinaikos 2007)." MORE

SLAM Magazine (United States)

"NBA fans have been treated to some thrilling playoff games recently and their European cousins were not to be outdone. After two very close semi-final contests on Friday, Sunday's Euroleague championship came down to the last shot in a packed O2 World arena in Berlin...Panathinaikos is your 2009 Euroleague champion, their coach, Zeljko Obradovic, is now a seven-time champ and Jasikevicius becomes the first player to win Euroleague titles with three different teams. Spanoulis earned the MVP trophy with 13 points for the victors. It didn't take the champs long to make good use of the stein-shaped championship trophies they were awarded, as the champagne started flowing." MORE

El Periodico (Spain)

"Panathinaikos's win forces everyone to stand up as a matter of respect when mentioning Obradovic. Nobody personalizes success more than the Cacak-born coach, age 49. Nobody has won more Euroleague titles as a coach and probably nobody will, because the Serbian boss opened a big gap between himself and the rest of the mortals...Panathinaikos has reached a new European hierarchy with Obradovic. Before he arrived, Panathinaikos was just another elite team, with one title won in 1996. Now, his team is at the top. With four titles won since 2000, he is the king of his decade." MORE

El Mundo (Spain)

"5.8 seconds. The Euroleague title fits there. Ten regular season games, six more in Top 16, as many as five Quarterfinal Playoff showdowns, a semifinal, 39 minutes and 54.2 seconds of the final. None of that was definitive. A year, life, history went down to 5.8 seconds. Jasikevicius had just missed a free throw that the scoreboard read 73-71. CSKA had called timeout to inbound from midcourt. Langdon tried to get the ball as first option, or just to allow Siskauskas to get it. Siskauskas grabbed the ball with enough time to execute Panathinaikos, already sick with arrogance and indolence in the last 13 minutes, with the chance to make his team win back-to-back titles. Siskauskas, a hero against Barcelona on Friday, moved to his left looking for a penetration. His physical skills were not enough and he was well-guarded. The Lithuanian player changed his direction and looked for a three-pointer. With the game on the line, the thriller was about to be over. The ball run aground the front of the rim, allowing Panathinaikos to extend its unstoppable trip." MORE

Otto Pagine (Italy)

The Euroleague was dyed white and green, the color of Panathinaikos' Greek clover. The Greeks, having won the title in 2007, returned to the highest peak in Europe, overtaking CSKA Moscow in a thrilling final. Perhaps a better outcome could not be possible for this Final Four, played in Berlin. The two strongest teams, with the best coaches and players and a thousand resources. On one hand, Panathinaikos with a great leader on the bench - Obradovic - and skilled troops with infinite supply. On the other hand, Ettore Messina, the other king and his pretorian guard: Siskaukas, Smodis, Langdon. For the fourth time in as many finals, Messina has had to bow to Obradovic, who won his seventh Euroleague title. CSKA recovered with great defense in the second half and had a shot to win the game, missed by Siskauskas.

La Gazzetta Dello SportLa Gazzetta Dello Sport (Italy)

"This is the way that the Euroleague can challenge the NBA. Great coaches, super teams, this is Europe. A wonderful Final Four confirmed that: 1) Coaches count. The semifinals confirmed that Messina and Obradovic are doing well and made the difference on the court. 2) The great resources and unique game that coach Obradovic offers is born of the fact that he has been coaching Panathinaikos for 10 years. 3) Whoever thinks that it is easy to win with so many stars must also be able to bring back a great Jasikevicius despite a disappointing 2008, but in the ways and schemes on his coach. 4) the money spent by clubs raised the competition level even when the best-paid player - Josh Childress - did not make the difference for Olympiacos. 5) Americans are struggling to shine, as only one - Terrell McIntyre - made it to the All-Euroleague teams. 6) The rise of Pekovic and Bourousis, young 210-centimeter centers, has shown that our basketball continues to produce players as long as that they remain in Europe to grow a little. 7) Even when Siena has beaten three of the four teams in this Final Four, the Italian championship does not prepare a team for the Euroleague because it is underpowered. 8) A capable, serious organization as the Euroleague, a great arena and strong European teams can offer, even if only for two nights, a basketball show at least equal to the NBA." MORE

TuttoSport (Italy)

"Siskauskas missed a three-point shot at the buzzer that would have sealed a record-breaking comeback. Ettore Messina used the time machine to go back 10 years also in Germany, when Virtus tried to rally from a 20-point deficit in the 1999 final against Zalgiris. In Berlin, with CSKA coming back against a stronger, deeper Panathinaikos compared to Zalgiris, rallied from -23 to get within one with a three-pointer by Siskauskas with 25 seconds to go. It is that Siskauskas missed, the ice-cold, great Lithuanian forward, that left CSKA with a very bitter taste in its mouth. Has Siskauskas downed the go-ahead triple, CSKA would have completed the greatest comeback in European basketball history. CSKA was saved by the bell, the buzzer at the end of a second quarter in which Panathinaikos played perfect. (...) That mistake by Siskauskas and two free throws previously missed by Khryapa allowed Panathinaikos to win the title led by Jasikevicius - first to reach the top of Europe with three different teams - and coach Zelimir Obradovic - his seventh title, third against Messina." MORE

Il Messaggero (Italy)

"The last show, the desperation one but also the one that can lead you to victory, danced around the rim. Siskauskas was close to complete his team's comeback and give the city of Berlin CSKA's success as a present - what would have been a fifth Euroleague title for Ettore Messina. The cup travelled to Athens, as Panathinaikos was first irresistible and then was about to lose against the Russian team. Zelimir Obradovic, the coach, or better the general that leads Panathinaikos, clinched his seventh Euroleague title, an outstanding record in a coaching career that started at EuroBasket 1991 in Rome. He was a player that one night decided to go to the other side, coach and win. His triumph against Messina was historical, as both coaches are the best in Europe. (...) Obradovic won, but Messina was able to revive a team that seemed far away from the very beautiful o2 World in Berlin, in a Final Four with more than 13,000 fans in the stands."