2003-04Final FourSemifinal
April 29, 2004 CET: 20:40
Local time: 21:40 NOKIA ARENA

Team Stats

Ave.   Ave.
84.7 Points 79.8
32.5 Rebounds 36.1
7.9 O. Rebounds 11.3
24.7 D. Rebounds 24.8
16.3 Assists 15.4
10.5 Steals 11.9
2.8 Blocks 3.2
12.5 Turnovers 11.6
57.9 % 2PT 55.7 %
38.9 % 3PT 30.3 %
79.1 % FT 70.6 %
100.1 Index 96.1

Player Stats

Ave.   Ave.
17.4 / Vujcic Points 18.1 / Brown
8.1 / Baston Rebounds 10.7 / Turkcan
2.1 / Baston OR 3.6 / Turkcan
6.1 / Baston DR 7.2 / Turkcan
4.7 / Jasikevicius Assists 4.1 / Brown
1.4 / Baston Steals 1.6 / Papaloukas
1.4 / Baston Blocks 1.0 / Khryapa
2.6 / Jasikevicius Turnovers 2.4 / Holden
66.7 % / Blu 2PT 67.7 % / Khryapa
46.7 % / Parker 3PT 44.4 % / Yudin
95.5 % / Sharp FT 100.0 % / Yudin
21.2 / Parker Index 20.7 / Brown


Ave.   Ave.
0-0 Final Four 0-0
0-0 Top 16 0-0
0-0 Regular Season 0-0
15-5 Overall 16-4


Crew Chief
SUDEK, PETR, Slovakia

The Take

CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv face off at Nokia Arena on Thursday at 20:40 CET in the second semifinal of this year's Final Four. It will be a match between two teams designed to win this title. One is the Euroleague's top offensive power, the other is the best defensive team. All ten of the starters could be the go-to guy on almost any team. Both teams dominated opponents throughout the Euroleague season and each beat the other on its home court in two classic showdowns. CSKA beat Maccabi in Tel Aviv by rallying from 19 points down in the final 15 minutes of the game in November to escape with a shocking win. Maccabi struck back in Moscow last February, winning 80-83 with a buzzer-beating fallaway three-pointer by Anthony Parker. After finishing in the first and second spots in Group B with identical 11-3 records, the teams took different routes to the Final Four. CSKA dominated the Top 16 and was the first team to qualify for the Final Four, while Maccabi needed a miracle three-pointer by Derrick Sharp against Zalgiris on the last day of the Top 16 to reach overtime and finally overcome Zalgiris. This match has all the makings of a classic of European basketball.

While there is no disputing that these two teams have the most talented rosters in the Euroleague, Maccabi will have the homecourt advantage. Nonetheless, more than one thousand Russian fans are expected in Nokia Arena, so CSKA too will find some support in the stands. The first time these teams met in Tel Aviv, CSKA left an unforgettable memory in the mind of Maccabi fans when it came back from a 19 point third quarter deficit. Marcus Brown led the CSKA comeback and finished as CSKA's top scorer with 24 points. Although CSKA has perhaps the deepest crew of big men, it was Brown along with backcourt mates JR Holden (17 points) and Teodoros Papaloukas (15 points) who led CSKA in the scoring column. Maccabi's top scorer was Anthony Parker with 24 points. When the teams met in Moscow more than one month later, Maccabi exacted revenge for the earleir loss. Parker nailed the memorable fade-away triple that won the game, but Sarunas Jasikevicius paved the way to victory with 25 points on 5 of 9 shooting from three-point range. Maccabi center Nikola Vujcic dominated in the paint with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Brown was CSKA's high-man again with 20 points and 4 assists.

Maccabi's offensive credentials are impeccable. After averaging 90.1 points per game in the regular season, Maccabi posted 86.4 points per night in the Top 16. It shot 37% from three-point land, 55.1% from two-point range and 79.8% from the free throw line. It is a solid rebounding club, hauling in 30.6 rebounds per game, but in this category it is trails CSKA, which was the second best rebounding club in both the regular season and Top 16. In the Top 16, CSKA averaged 34.3 rebounds per night and 79.5 points per game. CSKA shot a modest 29.2% from three-point range, but a solid 55.7% from two-points and 71.4% from the free throw line. CSKA's greatest strength is its defense. It allowed just 72.7 points per night and will contest Maccabi's offensive fire power with its intense, swarming defense. CSKA gets it done with its amazing speed both in the back court with Brown and Holden and in the front court with Mirsad Turkcan, who has the ability to lock up small forwards and power forwards on the perimeter and in the paint.

Certainly one of the keys for CSKA to win again at Nokia Arena will be slowing point guard Jasikevicius, who improved his scoring average in the Top 16 to 18.6 points per game and drilled 33 of of his last 34 free throw attempts. Jasikevicius had 37 points in that decisive game against Zalgiris proving that he will be ready in big games. Jasikevicius will team up with Tal Burstein in Maccabi's backcourt. Burstein is a consistent player who can handle the ball, post up and knock down triples. Also on the wing for Maccabi will be Parker, who not only killed CSKA in Moscow, but he also had a superb season (15.1 ppg, 21 of 45 threes, 5.8 rpg, 3.6 apg) in his return to Maccabi after spending last year in Rome. Parker was Maccabi's key player when they played in the Euroleague Final Four in Bologna in 2002. Maccabi lost in the semifinals that year, but this season they have a much better front line. Vujcic is supported by Maceo Baston, the high-flying, shot-blocking power foward who is a threat on the offensive glass every time Maccabi shoots. Off the bench, Maccabi has David Bluthental, who has stepped up lately as the sixth man at the forward spot. Bluthenthal uses his athleticism and shooting to fill in the gaps when Maccabi's big three of Jasikevicius, Parker and Vujcic can't find their shot. Maccabi also has Deon Thomas, the power forward who had a superb regular season in which he produced instant offense every time he stepped on court. Bruno Sundov is huge big man who can shoot the three.

Maccabi's individual talents are overwhelming, but CSKA is the team least likely to be intimidated. CSKA has the depth to match Maccabi. Beginning in the back court, CSKA's duo J.R. Holden and Marcus Brown have been the driving force behind CSKA's success and spectacular play on both ends of the court. Both players can play at either guard spot, as Holden takes advantage of his ballhandling and shooting skills, especially off the dribble, while Brown is the team's top gun, scoring in double digits in all games this season and averaging 18 points per game on 60.1% two-pointers and 87.2% from the free throw line, also dishing 4.1 assists per game and showing he is more than a pure scorer. Theo Papaloukas is ready to come off the bench and provide intensity and defensive skills, playing a key role for this team. CSKA's young duo of small forwards, Victor Khryapa and Sergey Monya create mismatches with their size and athletic ability. No-one in Europe rebounds and defends at the power forward spot better than Mirsad Turkcan. Turkcan will likely start along with big man Victor Alexander, who has been one of the premier big men in the Euroleague over the past two seasons and can score in the paint or with his jumper from the perimeter. CSKA's deep front line also includes veteran Dragan Tarlac, Sergei Panov, who is the team captain, Alexander Bashminov and Aleksey Savrasenko.

Maccabi and CSKA have already played two classic regular season matches and Thursday night's game is looking like a classic. Maccabi's high-powered offense versus CSKA's stingy defense. Two teams with stars at every position, amazing depth in the front court and players who shine in big games like Jasikevicius and Brown. It will be a clash of titans and may go down as one of the greatest European basketball games of all time. Thursday at 20:40, Nokia Arena, Tel Aviv....only one of these giants will be left standing!
Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Quotes Head Coaches


Maccabi Elite
"We are here and that's the most important thing for us. We'll try to win both games and take it all the way. We are a tough team. Our style is to run and score a lot of points, so we'll try to do it, and I hope we'll be successful."
Maccabi Elite
"Everyone is excited for the Final Four, but we'll try to put it aside and concentrate in basketball. You win this kind of games with a big heart. We'll have to run, stop their running game and make them work hard for every basket."
Maccabi Elite
"The feeling is great. I can't wait to play already. There will be pressure tomorrow but it's part of the fun. Since my basket in Moscow, it's been a long time. Life goes on, so you can't know who's going to lose or win tomorrow. We have to work hard and play team defense, because CSKA is a dangerous team. They have a lot of weapons. There's no doubt Brown and Holden are the keys."
Maccabi Elite
"We start to feel the excitment. We worked hard throught the entire season, and despite having a few bumps in the way, we made it here. Being in the Final Four is the top of my career. CSKA will probably play its own style of game. With a lot of power in the paint and fast guards. We expect a great atmosphere and we are ready to have fun."
Maccabi Elite
"The team is in good condition and I think we are in a good situation. I still have a few more nights to dream about lifting the cup. I'm not thinking about it right now. There are no easy games. We saw in the regular season group that any team can be a tough opponent. Skipper and CSKA beat us here, and Montepaschi came very close. Hey, it's the Euroleague, and it's a great league. This is the highest level in Europe."
Maccabi Elite
"The game against CSKA for me is arguably the biggest game of my career. Both are very, very good teams who topped the group at the end of the regular season, a group with all four teams who finally made it to the Final Four. We have to play tough and physical, and we know each other very well. One of the keys will be making less mistakes than them. I have been pretty consistent in what I do for this team, which is play hard defense, and points are a plus for me. That's no problem, since I have always been a scorer in my career. I will try to help with defense and rebounding, which is most important since they have big guys inside. We must control the rebounds."
Maccabi Elite
"I am excited to be here in the Final Four, especially in this one here on our home court. The game against CSKA will be a great one, and it will probably decide who will win the whole thing. This is a transition season for me and I hope to be ready for European basketball next season, but it's perfect for me to be there and practice with one of the best European teams. If I step on court, of course I will be ready to contribute and help my team."
CSKA Moscow
"I think this is an early final of the Final Four. It will be a hard game for us since we will have their fans and the pressure on us, but at the same time, I think they will also suffer the pressure of having to win at home in front of their crowd. It will be a game of hard decisions to be made, but to become champions we have first to win the semifinal and then win another one. I hope people sit and enjoy the Final Four. It only lasts two days and it is the main goal of the season, so I hope we can maintain our good season until the end."
CSKA Moscow
"I think it is difficult to try to guess who will win this game as in my opinion, we both have 50 percent chances. I think it will be a nice game. Regarding our use of the defense, depending on the game we will try to adapt our game to other things. If we fail in defense, I'll try to push my team on offense, and the other way round."
CSKA Moscow
"This is not the time to feel nervous. We played in the Final Four last season so we have experience with this pressure. Our team is very concentrated right now, but our mentality doesn't change from the Top 16. Its always the same. Were focused every game."
CSKA Moscow
"There is not a lot of time to prepare for this game, so we have to go through everything more quickly than usual. Both the mental and tactical aspect is important. If we weren't good in both areas we wouldn't be here now."
CSKA Moscow
"I think this game against Maccabi will be no different from the latest games we have played against them. They are a team full with great players who know how to play the big games. They are experts in winning games in the last seconds. We are different teams but we have more experience and I hope that we will be able to beat them if we maintain the rhythm of the Top 16. I think we have possibilities to win, not only the semifinal but the Final Four itself."
Anthony Parker - Maccabi Elite - Final Four 204 - EB03

Rolling spectacularly through a memorable second half, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat mighty CSKA Moscow 93-85 in the second Euroleague semifinal on Thursday. Maccabi advances to the final to play Skipper Bologna on Saturday night at 20:30 CET. Having trailed by 11 in the first half, Maccabi closed the gap to just a point at halftime and used its surging momentum to put the game away in the fourth quarter. In a game that featured stars from top to bottom of both lineups, Anthony Parker proved to be the biggest one of all. He poured in 27 points including a pair of alley-oop dunks in the game-turning third quarter that almost lifted Nokia Arena off its foundation. Maccabi took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter and never let it slip below five to the finish. The game-breaker was Tal Burstein's triple with 2:30 left, giving Maccabi its biggest lead of the game, 80-68, after which CSKA could not pull within striking distance. Sarunas Jasikevicius scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half for the winners. Nikola Vujcic added 14 more for Maccabi and Maceo Baston a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. For CSKA, Marcus Brown put up 23 points, J.R. Holden 16, Victor Alexander 12 and Sergei Monya 10. Mirsad Turkcan added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds for CSKA.

Maccabi scored the game's first basket, but CSKA dominated the next 10 minutes. Turkcan responded with a triple from the wing, and on CSKA's next possession Monya nailed another one from the same spot. CSKA swallowed up two Maccabi shots around the basket, sending a message that they would not allow easy points. Turkcan then scored on a baseline drive, giving CSKA a 2-8 lead, but Anthony Parker connected on back-to-back jumpers to make it a 6-8 game halfway through the first quarter. CSKA continued to find holes in Maccabi's defense, as Monya scored his fith point on a baseline jumpshot. Nokia Arena errupted for the first time when Baston rose up for a signature two-handed slam. Maccabi tied at 12-12 on the next possession when Parker who hit nothing but net from long range. CSKA didn't stop attacking, however.

It went on an 0-10 run keyed by spectacular baskets from Holden, plus Monya's second triple. Maccabi took a timeout with 1:40 remaining in the first quarter, trailing 12-20. Maccabi scored on its next two possessions, but couldn't cut into the lead. Each time Maccabi hit a shot, CSKA responded with a basket of its own. The quarter ended with an amazing triple by Brown from 8 meters that set the score at 18-27. CSKA veteran Dragan Tarlac scored to give CSKA a nine-point lead early in the second quarter, but Maccabi did not give up. Pushed by an incredible crowd, Baston followed a big three-pointer by David Bluthental with an alley-oop dunk to cut CSKA's lead to 23-29. Brown retaliated quickly, however, and drilled another long bomb from downtown. CSKA used a small lineup with twin point guards and Brown at the small forward spot, as the game turned into a physical battle. Tarlac, playing a key role off the bench, made a tip-in to restore the Russians' double-digit lead at 23-34. Maccabi had been scoreless for more than 2 minutes. Bluthental stepped up with a long two-pointer and Vujcic added free throws for a 27-34 score as CSKA's second unit stepped on court. The loss of Brown to his third foul would hurt CSKA before the quarter ended, however. Jasikevicius made 2 free throw that capped an 8-2 Maccabi run and made it a five-point game at 31-36. Alexander drilled his trademark mid-range jumper, but nothing seemed to stop the Israeli champs, as a tip-in by Baston brought the hosts within 35-38 after 18 minutes. A carousel of free throws followed, in which youngster Yotan Halperin made 4 for Maccabi, pulling the home team to within 41-42 before the halftime buzzer.

CSKA came out of the lockers and got back-to-back baskets by Alexander and Holden to extend its lead 41-46, but from that point onwards, little went right for the visitors. Maccabi got back on track with a three-pointer by Jasikevicius while Parker made a putback to make it 46-46. Maccabi took its first lead since the game's very first shot at 49-48, on a Parker free-throw. They would not reliquish the lead for the remainder of the game. Another easy basket by Parker forced a CSKA timeout. while Maccabi fans celebrated the change in momentum. There was more fun to come. Jasikevicius connected with Parker on a pair of spectacular alley-oop dunks that almost brought down the house. Brown gave CSKA some fresh air with a three-point play, but Maccabi was unstoppable in both ends of the court. Jasikevicius followed 2 free throws by Vujcic with a bomb from downtown, extending his team's lead to 58-51. CSKA stayed in the game thanks to a driving layup by Holden and 2 foul shots by Theo Papaloukas made it a three-point game at 58-55. Vujcic stepped up for Maccabi with 4 quick points as he and Maccabi matched very physical. Even with Turkcan rebounding on both ends of the floor, Maccabi kept a 62-55 lead entering the fourth.

Gur Shelef opened the final period with a reverse layup. Brown brought CSKA back to life with his third three-pointer of the game, but only CSKA's first after 10 misses since the first quarter. Brown's three ignited a 2-7 run in which Papaloukas added a layup and 2 free throws, enough to make it a four-point game at 66-62 with more than 6 minutes to go. Bluthental stepped up in crunch time with a five-meter jumper. Alexander and Turkcan combined for 4 points to keep the Russian champs into the game at 70-66. Maccabi looked to Parker, who made his second three-pointer, after which the play started getting physical on both ends of the court. Maccabi had a different level of intensity, however, grabbing two offensive rebounds in the same play for a third-chance layup by Baston, while 2 free throws by Jasikevicius off a midcourt steal gave Maccabi a 77-68 lead with less than 3 minutes to go. CSKA called timeout to put a small lineup on the floor, with Monya at power forward, but it didn't work. Burstein then drilled a three-pointer that was the game-breaker, extending Maccabi's lead to double digits for the first time, 80-68. CSKA had no other option than shooting threes, but even when Alexander and Brown combined on 3 hits from downtown, Maccabi made smart choices on offense, sending Jasikevicius and Vujcic to the line at every opportunity. Maccabi made 9 of 10 free throws in less than a minute, enough to prevent any kind of comeback. The local fans erupted in joy in the final minute, as the outcome was clear and Maccabi returned to the Euroleague final!

Thursday, April 29, 2004
Attendance: 10000
By Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite18232131
CSKA Moscow27151330
End of Quarter1234
Maccabi Elite18416293
CSKA Moscow27425585
Maccabi Elite
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 BEN CHIMOL, AVRAHAM DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5 BASTON, MACEO 28:15 11 5/10   1/2 4 6 10 2   1 2 1 3 3 17
6 SHARP, DERRICK 6:15 1   0/2 1/2   1 1           1 1 -1
7 VUJCIC, NIKOLA 31:30 14 3/9 0/1 8/10 5 2 7 2 2 3 1 2 2 6 16
8 PARKER, ANTHONY 37:00 27 7/12 2/3 7/8 2 4 6 2 2 3 1   3 6 31
9 SHELEF, GUR 10:00 2 1/2       2 2 1 1 1     3   1
10 BURSTEIN, TAL 23:30 5   1/2 2/2   3 3 2 1       4 1 7
11 HALPERIN, YOTAM 6:30 4     4/4                 2 4 6
13 JASIKEVICIUS, SARUNAS 31:30 18 1/4 2/4 10/10   2 2 6 1 1   1 3 7 24
14 SUNDOV, BRUNO DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 THOMAS, DEON 5:45 2 1/3       1 1   1       2    
33 BLU, DAVID 19:45 9 3/3 1/1     2 2           5 1 7
Team           1 4 5   4           9
Totals 200:00 93 21/43 6/13 33/38 12 27 39 15 12 9 4 4 28 29 117
        48.8% 46.2% 86.8%
Head coach: GERSHON, PINI
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
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 16:30 6 1/2 0/1 4/4         1 2     5 2  
5 BROWN, MARCUS 35:30 23 3/6 5/8 2/3 2 2 4 6 1 4     4 4 23
6 PANOV, SERGEY 6:15           1 1     1     2   -2
7 YUDIN, ANTON 9:45 2 1/1 0/2         1         4   -3
10 HOLDEN, J.R. 38:15 16 4/12 2/7 2/2 1 3 4 5 2   1 3 4 4 12
12 MONIA, SERGEY 22:30 10 2/3 2/5     2 2 2   1 1   4   6
13 KHRYAPA, VICTOR 3:00                   1         -1
14 SAVRASENKO, ALEKSEY 3:00       0/4                 1 2 -3
15 BASHMINOV, ALEXANDR DNP - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 TURKCAN, MIRSAD 28:15 10 1/5 1/3 5/8 4 6 10 1 1 1 2   1 8 21
20 ALEXANDER, VICTOR 16:00 12 3/4 1/1 3/4 4 1 5     2   1 1 3 14
21 TARLAC, DRAGAN 21:00 6 2/6   2/2 5 1 6           3 4 9
Team           1 2 3   4         1 8
Totals 200:00 85 17/39 11/27 18/27 17 18 35 15 9 12 4 4 29 28 84
        43.6% 40.7% 66.7%
Head coach: IVKOVIC, DUSAN
This game is not yet played


Maccabi Elite
"They shot the ball well tonight. I don't know the percentage, but they gave us a great game. We expected this kind of game so we were ready. We got contributions from everybody. We limited our turnovers and got a lot of defensive rebounds and that's what we wanted to do. It feels great. Skipper's a tough team, they beat us here already. They're going to come in with confidence, but we've got to keep playing our game and we'll be alright. Right now it's all about getting rest and being ready for Saturday. Skipper is unpredictable. That's what makes them so tough. They shoot the ball so well and they've got a lot of weapons so we've got to play great defense."
Maccabi Elite
"We, the players, all know who is Skipper. They are a young but fearless team, but I am sure that we will do our best to beat them."
Maccabi Elite
"In the first half of the game we started bad and they had a great percentage for a great opening. They have always had a good percentage in three-point shooting throughout the season. I think that it was normal that they started so good. But we found the way to stop them and that was our improved zone defense, and they started to miss the shots. I always prefer to start bad and end well than the other way round. We all know about Skipper, they have a great coach and they will be a tough rival in the final."
Maccabi Elite
"Staying with our game plan and being confident in our team is the point of the Final Four. We were well prepared for this game. As a professional, every game is a new game. We are where we aimed to be."
Maccabi Elite
"It was a very physical game, but that's what I would prefer in a game like this. I'd rather have the game played the way it's played then a tightly called game. We had confidence all game even though they got off to a good start. We never doubted that we'd be there. The crowd was behind us the whole time and we just played our game. We're going to go with the same recipe against Skipper on Saturday. We've just got to play our game."
Maccabi Elite
"We were very confident coming in to this game. We worked hard and we just kept fighting. The key for us was that we didn't make many mistakes. We cut down our turnovers and rebounded well. Now we've got one more that's the most important. We've got to come out on Saturday and be ready to play. We don't have time to reflect on this win, we've got another one on Saturday night."
Maccabi Elite
"We started the third quarter with very good defense, We tried to get their big guys off early, rebound hard and get good shoots, that's the way this game has to be played. We are in the final but we haven't done anything yet. We managed to turn the game round in the third quarter."
CSKA Moscow
"We were ahead at the beginning but the game suddenly changed, I think it is easy, for everyone who saw the game, to see what happened tonight. We played very well but they took their chances to win. All our players wanted this win but we just couldn't."
CSKA Moscow
"After we started the game really well, Maccabi got a good offense and we failed in defense. Maccabi had a great game from the three-point line and Anthony Parker was superb. He is a great player."
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