2005-06Final FourFinal
April 30, 2006 CET: 20:30
Local time: 20:30 SAZKA ARENA

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
77.5 Points 84.6
32.8 Rebounds 34.4
9.4 O. Rebounds 7.8
23.4 D. Rebounds 26.6
14.0 Assists 15.5
13.8 Steals 12.1
2.3 Blocks 3.3
12.5 Turnovers 13.0
53.7 % 2PT 55.1 %
34.9 % 3PT 38.5 %
72.4 % FT 73.8 %
91.0 Index 97.9

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
12.9 / Langdon Points 15.0 / Parker
5.4 / Smodis Rebounds 7.0 / Parker
1.7 / Savrasenko OR 2.1 / Baston
3.7 / Smodis DR 6.4 / Parker
3.9 / Papaloukas Assists 4.0 / Vujcic
2.0 / Vanterpool Steals 2.0 / Solomon
0.9 / Savrasenko Blocks 1.3 / Baston
2.2 / Vanterpool Turnovers 2.9 / Solomon
65.0 % / Papaloukas 2PT 65.0 % / Baston
43.2 % / Panov 3PT 66.7 % / Baston
85.4 % / Langdon FT 87.8 % / Sharp
14.0 / Vanterpool Index 21.0 / Parker


Ave.   Ave.
1-0 Final Four 1-0
2-0 Playoffs 2-1
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
18-5 Overall 17-7


Crew Chief

The Take

History will be made on Sunday night when Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv faces CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague final in the spectacular Sazka Arena in Prague. Not only the winner will make it to the European basketball history books, it will also have a special page on it. If Maccabi wins the title on Sunday, it will join ASK Riga and Jugoplastika Split as the only teams to win three consecutive Euroleague titles. Maccabi coach Pini Gershon also has the chance to do the same, something than only the late Aleksandar Gomelsky has accomplished. Meanwhile, CSKA Moscow now has the chance to win its first Euroleague title since 1971, when once again the legendary Gomelsky coached the team to a 69-53 win against Ignis Varese behind 24 points from Sergei Belov. CSKA made it to its last Euroleague final in 1973, as even when the team has reached the Final Four six times since 1996, this is its first shot for the title in 33 years. Above all, it will be a showdown of styles. In few Euroleague finals have been more obvious that the team which controls the tempo and take the game to its territory will have bigger chances to win. CSKA is arguably the best defensive team in the competition, which a team-oriented concept in which nobody is more important than any other and everyone tries to help in every switch or in each pick-and-roll situation. Meanwhile, Maccabi has broken offensive records with its run-and-gun style which coach Pini Gershon, a fun-to-wacth basketball guru and one of the most charismatic characters in European basketball, installed since he arrived in the team. Coach Ettore Messina has taken three different teams to the Euroleague final - Virtus, Benetton and now CSKA - and his team will not focus on just one player, even when Maccabi features superstar Anthony Parker, who had all its 19 points in the pivotal first half of his team's semifinal against Tau Ceramica. Parker will have to face David Vanterpool, one of the best defensive players in the competition who has faced him at least twice each previous season since 2003. Vanterpool will try to put Parker in foul trouble in the other end, as he will play the point guard position with teammate J.R. Holden at the off-guard spot. Messina got the most out of Holden, who had 19 points against Winterthur FCB in the semifinal and is ready to face a top defensive player like Will Solomon - at least in the beginning of the game. Gershon will try to create mismatches by rotating Solomon, Parker, Derrick Sharp and Tal Burstein at all three perimeter spots. One of his main concerns will be slowing Theodoros Papaloukas, who lifted CSKA in the semifinals, scoring 8 points in a game-breaking 0-13 run which put his team ahead for good. His athleticism, speed and leadership will be a key factor in this game. Solomon already shutted down All-Euroleague nominee Pablo Prigioni and is ready to do the same with Papaloukas. Sharp is ready to give Maccabi a boost off the bench, too, as his perfomance improves in big games like this. One of the X-factors of the game could be Trajan Langdon, who had 12 points against Barcelona and will try to show his shooting skills against Tal Burstein, another man made for title games in which he always steps up. The battle in the paint will be interesting, as both Nikola Vujcic and Maceo Baston showed they are in top form right now. Baston shocked everyone with his outside shooting and finished the game with 20 points, while Vujcic had an all-around game of 16 points, 2 triples, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Meanwhile, CSKA count on Matjaz Smodis, a power forward with great shooting range, as well as with Aleksey Savrasenko and Tomas Van den Spiegel, two pure centers ready to set screens for everyone and who only score around the basket. Both can have troubles with Vujcic, who will try to take out his defender to create more space for everyone. Smodis will try to do so for CSKA, as he his one-on-one skills are between the very best in Europe, even when Baston already showed his defensive skills by having a career-best 6 blocks against Tau. Jamie Arnold could also damage CSKA in the low post, especialy if Vujcic is on court, but CSKA uses two-on-one traps often and knows how to solve these kind of situations. Maccabi, as usual, will have a majority of fans backing them in Sazka Arena and that could be a factor, but the main key will be the game tempo. Maccabi is 2-4 when being held under 80 points and 15-3 when scoring 80 or more. Meanwhile, if Maccabi is allowed to play on its usual, flashy way, with short possessions and superb ball circulation, the team will fly back to Tel Aviv with a historical third consecutive Euroleague trophy. European basketball cannot get better than this, so don't miss the chance to miss the Euroleague title game!
Saturday, April 29, 2006

Quotes Head Coaches


CSKA Moscow
"Good afternoon everyone. First of all I’d like to thank the Maccabi team for the congratulations. I know it’s been kind of tough for CSKA because the last three Final Fours didn’t go as well as this one so far. As far as tomorrow’s game I know everybody will come prepared to play basketball. Maccabi will have the experience and suport of the fans on their side. But we will have the desire to be a champ on ours, so I think it’s going to be a very tough game. A very interesting matchup because Maccabi is a little more offensive-minded while we focus more on defense. We’ll see what happens. The final against Maccabi with Fortutido in Tel Aviv, no one can forget. I'll use that as a positive experience to help prepare for tomorrow because it'll be similar in the number of Maccabi fans here."
Maccabi Elite
"Good afternoon everybody. First of all I’d like to congratulate CSKA for the win yesterday. We watched the game, the first half at least, and we know they are a very tough teams. They have a lot of good players and of course a great coach. We expect a tough game tomorrow and like coach Gershon said, we hope to play at least as good as yesterday because that way we know we may win. We're trying to win our third title in a row to reward our fans, we're not thinking about whether our coach will be retiring."

In one of the most exciting title games ever, CSKA Moscow won the Euroleague crown for the first time in 35 years and ended Maccabi Tel Aviv's two-year reign as champions with a 73-69 victory over in the continental title game on Sunday at sold-out Sazka Arena in Prague. Theodoros Papaloukas scored 18 points and dished 7 assists to lead the winners and earn MVP honors. CSKA, playing in its fourth consecutive Final Four, but only its first championship game since 1973, denied Maccabi a chance to become just the third team in Euroleague history to win three straight titles, a feat that still belongs only to ASK Riga and Split. The victory adds a fifth continental trophy to CSKA's collection, matching Varese and Maccabi for second place on the all-time list of winners. CSKA broke the game with a 0-13 run to get a 35-30 lead at halftime. Even when Maccabi rallied and got a 56-58 edge with 8 minutes to go, Trajan Langdon and Matjaz Smodis scored from downtown in a 10-1 run which put CSKA in charge for good. Maccabi never surrender and rallied within 71-69, but Langdon made free throws to seal the CSKA win. David Vanterpool added 16 points, Matjaz Smodis had 12, Trajan Langdon 11 and Aleksey Savrasenko 10 for CSKA. Will Solomon led Maccabi with 20 points, Jamie Arnold had 14 and Anthony Parker 10 in defeat. CSKA coach won his third Euroleague title and improved its overall record against Maccabi to 9-0.

Maccabi controlled the opening tip and needed just 13 seconds to score on free throws by Maceo Baston. Both teams started the game with man-to-man defense with different pairings, as David Vanterpool, as expected, was on Parker, but he played against Tal Burstein at the other end. CSKA tried to slow the game down, but suffered from poor shot selection in the early going, as Maccabi was all over the place on defense. Baston had a huge block on Vanterpool, which allowed Will Solomon to fire in a triple from the top of the key. Solomon then stole the ball from J.R. Holden and darted to the hoop for a bucket to make it 0-7 and force CSKA coach Ettore Messina into an early timeout. After the rest, CSKA forced Maccabi into a 24-second violation, and then went downcourt and got on the board on a Matjaz Smodis three-pointer – his team's first points after nearly four minutes. Vanterpool followed with a long jumper to get CSKA going, but he picked up his second foul on the next play and was replaced by Theodoros Papaloukas. Maccabi went to a match-up zone defense, but Aleksey Savrasenko intimidated inside, following a strong block on Nikola Vujcic with a fast break dunk over Baston to tie the game at 7. CSKA had already entered the foul bonus and Burstein made the most of it with free throws, which Jamie Arnold followed with a second-chance basket for a 7-11 Maccabi lead. Savrasenko scored in the paint and Trajan Langdon canned a triple from the right wing to give CSKA its first lead, 12-11. Solomon answered from downtown before Holden finished a fast break with a mid-range jumper, good to tie things at 14. Burstein drove to the hoop for two, which Papaloukas matched at the other end. Free throws by substitute Jamie Arnold and a driving basket by Holden fixed the score at 18-18 after 10 minutes.

Papaloukas opened the second period with an outstanding reverse layup as CSKA's defense began looking for two-on-one traps as often as possible. Parker stepped up with a fade-away jumper for his first points of the game and Baston beat the shot block with a long jumper, which put Maccabi back in front, 20-22. Vanterpool canned a five-meter jumper and at the other end Tomas Van Den Spiegel swatted Baston's effort, sending the ball out of bounds. Parker finished another long possession with a corner triple, only for Langdon to match it at the other end for a 25-25 tie after 14 minutes. Maccabi called timeout to set its offense with CSKA starting to collect steals all over and not allowing any easy shots. Papaloukas flew downcourt after a steal, drew a foul and made the free throw for another lead change. CSKA switched to zone defense and immediately collected a steal, which allowed Savrasenko to score on the other end. CSKA frustrated Maccabi with its outstanding zone defense, while Smodis grabbed an offensive rebound over Parker and scored for a 30-25 margin. Savrasenko added to the CSKA lead inside and then a Papaloukas three capped a 13-0 run and gave CSKA a double-figure lead for the first time. Derrick Sharp ended the Maccabi cold spell with a triple and after a missed Holden three, Burstein drove and scored over Savrasenko to send the teams into the locker rooms at halftime with CSKA leading 35-30. CSKA had already forced 9 turnovers and limited Maccabi to 10-for-28 shooting.

Maccabi threw the ball away on the opening possession of the second half and CSKA too advantage when Vanterpool fired in a jumper. Parker slipped and lost the ball on the next trip and Vanterpool went for three – via a basket and foul. An angry Pini Gershon pulled Vujcic in favor of Arnold, whose inside presence helped Baston get to the line for one point. But it was Vanterpool with the hot hand and his three made it 42-31. Arnold responded with a hook shoot, but Vanterpool couldn't be stopped. A pair of free throws gave him all of CSKA's 9 points in the period in less than three minutes. Messina decided to rest Vanterpool and called upon Papaloukas. Without Vanterpool, CSKA went without a basket on four straight trips down the court, while Maccabi fought back via a Burstein triple. But on the ensuing possession, Burstein was called for a charge – his third foul. However reserve Kirk Penney picked up where Burstein left off with a three to make it 44-39. Penney then committed a turnover, which allowed Papaloukas to race downcourt for a layup. CSKA returned to long possessions as it sought open shots, but Maccabi had improved its defense. Arnold had a three-pointer bounce in to the delight of the yellow fans in the stands , as Maccabi clawed its way to 46-42. Messina quickly called timeout to avoid further problems. Vujcic closed the gap to two from the line and after Savrasenko missed two free throws, Vujcic went inside to tie the score. Savrasenko scored inside and Vanterpool, back on court with three fouls, made a free throw to give CSKA some breathing room at 49-46. Both defenses became even more physical, but Parker buried a long jumper to make it a 49-48 at the end of an exciting third quarter.

With the Euroleague title just 10 minutes away for being decided, intensity rose to the roof at Sazka Arena. Vanterpool fed Smodis for a triple from the top of the key and then found Papaloukas for another bomb from downtown, good for a 55-48 CSKA margin. Solomon tried to change things with a quick layup, as both teams exchanged turnovers for three straight possessions. The CSKA defense collapsed on Solomon, who found Parker for a corner three to bring Maccabi within 55-53. Solomon then capped a 8-0 run by stealing the ball from Vanterpool and drilling a long jumper, which tied the game again with under seven minutes to go. Papaloukas hit a free throw, but a red-hot Solomon buried a three to give Maccabi its first lead of the half, 56-58. CSKA regained the lead on a Langdon triple and after Solomon missed, Smodis buried another one from downtown to give CSKA a four-point lead, 62-58. Baston made 1 of 2 free throws, but Vanterpool beat the shot clock at the end of a long CSKA sequence, forcing Maccabi to call timeout to regroup with time running out. Holden collected a key steal, allowing CSKA to enter the final two minutes with a five-point lead. Parker missed a three-pointer and Vujcic lost the ball, as every Maccabi fan in the arena began to fear that the dynasty was coming to an end. Papaloukas drew a foul, made free throws and gave CSKA a 66-59 lead with 1:04 to go. Arnold hit foul shots with 48.7 seconds remaining, as free throws carousel was about to start. Solomon's circus shot made it 68-63 with 33 tics on the clock, but Maccabi, forced to foul, lost Burstein to his fifth foul as Smodis made one and gave CSKA a 6-point lead with 28 seconds remaining. Maccabi was not done, however, as Solomon hit a triple, and even though Holden scored a layup with 15.8 seconds to go, Arnold buried a three which gave his team some hope, 71-69, with 5.8 seconds to go. But Solomon's last-ditch effort to steal the in-bounds pass resulted in a foul on Langdon, who made both free throws to seal the win and help CSKA to become the new Euroleague champion.

CSKA Moscow was 2006 champ in Prague!
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Javier Gancedo, Euroleague.net
Attendance: 16805
By Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow18171424
Maccabi Elite18121821
End of Quarter1234
CSKA Moscow18354973
Maccabi Elite18304869
CSKA Moscow
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 PAPALOUKAS, THEODOROS 30:00 18 3/4 2/4 6/8 1 2 3 7 2 2     1 6 28
5 KURBANOV, NIKITA DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6 PANOV, SERGEY 8:45     0/2     2 2           2   -2
7 ZAVORUEV, VASILY DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8 SMODIS, MATJAZ 34:45 12 1/3 3/6 1/2 2 6 8 1 1     2 3 3 14
9 VANTERPOOL, DAVID 28:30 16 6/12 0/1 4/5 1 2 3 4 3 1   1 3 5 18
10 HOLDEN, J.R. 35:30 6 3/7 0/5   1 2 3   4 2   1 3 2  
11 PASHUTIN, ZAKHAR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
12 DYACHOK, VLADIMIR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 SAVRASENKO, ALEKSEY 24:15 10 5/5   0/2 1 3 4   1   3   3 1 14
21 LANGDON, TRAJAN 28:00 11 0/1 3/6 2/2       1   1   2 4 2 3
22 VAN DEN SPIEGEL, TOMAS 10:15   0/1   0/2   2 2   1 1 1   2 2  
Team                   4           4
Totals 200:00 73 18/33 8/24 13/21 6 19 25 13 16 7 4 6 21 21 79
        54.5% 33.3% 61.9%
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Maccabi Elite
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
5 BASTON, MACEO 31:45 6 1/6 0/1 4/6 5 10 15     1 2 2 3 4 13
6 SHARP, DERRICK 19:30 3   1/4         1 1 1     4 1 -2
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 28:30 4 1/6   2/2 1 4 5 1   4 2 2 1 5 5
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 36:30 10 2/5 2/4     5 5 2 1 3 1   3 1 9
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 26:15 9 2/2 1/3 2/2 1 6 7 2   3     5 3 11
11 SHASON, SHARON 1:00                   1         -1
12 DOTAN, ASSAF DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 CASSPI, OMRI DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 SOLOMON, WILLIE 34:45 20 4/6 4/8     1 1 2 2 5     2 3 15
20 PENNEY, KIRK 4:45 3   1/1             1     2    
23 ARNOLD, JAMIE 17:00 14 2/4 2/2 4/4 1 3 4     1 1   1 4 19
41 GREEN, YANIV DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Team           1   1   2           3
Totals 200:00 69 12/29 11/23 12/14 9 29 38 8 6 20 6 4 21 21 72
        41.4% 47.8% 85.7%
Head coach: GERSHON, PINI
This game is not yet played


CSKA Moscow
"We played with our heart and our soul tonight. I have felt like this twice in one year this is amazing. I had lost three Final Fours befote this, but I won't remember them . We did it and we deserved it. We placed with head and heart. With heart and soul and we are the champions."
CSKA Moscow
"Man, I can't even explain what it's like, to be here for the fourth time and finally get to a final. I could not sleep. I could not eat. But in the huddle, we just kept telling each other that 'We believe'. Nobody believed in us. Against Barcelona, we were down and came back. Maccabi was the team that always blew everyone out in the final. But if you play hard, you win. I shot terrible tonight. Trajan had a normal game. But everybody played hard and played together. That's why we're a team."
CSKA Moscow
"For 40 minutes, we believed, just like the whole season we believed. All year long, we fought back. We started bad, we lost our best player, but we fought back. All we ever talked about was believing in ourselves. No one else did, so we had to. To go down 7-0 against that team come back to take control, you have to believe. They came back and we took control again. We believe. That's all I can say."
CSKA Moscow
"It’s incredible. This is great because four months ago I was in a difficult situation, I worked very hard and I have to thank CSKA for the opportunity that they gave me. I still can’t realice what we accomplished. We knew defense was the key, we had to keep Maccabi in a low scoring game, so it was a completely different game from what they are used to. We made them think and that made the difference."
CSKA Moscow
"We made a couple threes in the end and that made the difference down the stretch. We fought really hard this season all year long. We played really good defense to try to hold Macacbi’s scoring. What made the difference tonight, is that we played our style of basketball and we won. I want to dedicate this title to all CSKA fans we will all party Moscow style. I also want to dedicate this to Alexander Gomelsky, I didn’t have the chance to meet him or to play when he was on the organization, but this is a great tribute to him and I’m sure he’s looking down from Heaven and smiling as happy as we are."
Maccabi Elite
"Defense was their key, we turned the ball over and took bad shots. That’s our fault and they took advantage of that. The crowd cannot win it for us. We still have to play basketball and play to win and we didn’t do that tonight. On a game like this, the loose balls, the rebounds, and the turnovers count a lot. They made the shots down the stretch."
Maccabi Elite
"We couldn't get into our game on offense. It was a battle between game styles, and they won it, and they play better in their style so they won. I don't think it's an end of an era. Certainly not. We are professionals, and we'll have to recover from it and continue to play in the league. We made too many turnovers and too few assists. We scored only 69 points, and this is one of the fewest points we scored. You can't win every season, this is life."
Maccabi Elite
"I just give CSKA all the credit. They played really well. They slowed us down, made every shot tough for us and they played great down the stretch. The last two minutes were the key. We had two turnovers when we needed to get good shots, but again we couldn't get it done and they did. They deserve it. It's a dissapointment to come up one game short like this. Everyone wants to win it all when you get to this point. We just couldn't get into a rhythm on offense. Defensivly we played good, but not on offense. We made too many turnovers. They were in a zone and played great. It just wasn't our game. I want to thank to everybody who played great. They had a great game, they made plays. When we came back they scored some shots, I don't know if it was luck or they were just good, but it doesn't matter now. I want to thank to all the fans who came here to support us."
Maccabi Elite
"It's embarrassing... [CSKA] did a great job and we need to take our hats off to them, but it's not a good feeling. We did all we could do. I don't know what was missing. They worked hard and you have to give them credits. They made a great job. They forced us a game we are not used to play, and we didn't do the things we usually do."
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