Maccabi Tel Aviv entered last season as the defending Turkish Airlines Euroleague champion, and with new coach Guy Goodes in charge it remained a contender on all fronts throughout the season, but eventually missed out on the Euroleague and Israeli League trophies. Maccabi would like to repeat part of last season when it lifted the Israeli Cup, won eight of nine Euroleague games bridging the regular season and the Top 16, while stringing together a 17-game winning streak in the Israeli League. However, Maccabi was swept by Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul in the Euroleague playoffs, and in the Israeli League let a 2-0 series lead against Hapoel Fattal Eilat slip away. The Maccabi formula of complementing the best Israeli players with talented, committed stars from abroad has always seemed to work. Players like Miki Berkowitz, Tal Brody, Motti Aroesti, Kevin Magee, Doron Jamchy, Earl Williams and Aulcie Perry and more recently Sarunas Jasikevicius, Anthony Parker and Nikola Vujcic belong to the elite of all-time European basketball greats. Maccabi won its first Euroleague title in 1977 and did so again in 1981 with Berkowitz as the big star. Maccabi had to wait until 2001 to lift the SuproLeague trophy, which broke a string of five continental final appearances that ended the wrong way. The next title came soon after. Derrick Sharp’s miracle three-pointer to survive the 2003-04 Top 16 has become one of the classic shots in basketball history and simply unforgettable for any Maccabi fan. Once in the 2004 Final Four, Maccabi turned to record breaking with an outstanding 118-point title game performance to batter Skipper Bologna. The next year Maccabi became the first team to repeat as Euroleague champion since Split in 1991. Jasikevicius, Parker, Tal Burstein, Maceo Baston and Vujcic, coached by Pini Gershon, became a classic lineup in European basketball history. Maccabi got back to the Euroleague final for the third year in a row in 2006, but CSKA stood in the way of a three-peat. CSKA remained a thorn in Maccabi’s side, downing Maccabi in the 2007 playoffs and 2008 Championship Game. Maccabi did not return to the Final Four again until 2011, when it got past Real Madrid in the semifinal, but Panathinaikos prevailed in the title game. After playoff losses in 2012 against Panathinaikos in a series for the ages, and against Madrid a year later, a David Blatt-coached yellow-and-blue reversed the trend in 2013-14 with several dramatic late-season wins to climb to the top of Europe. Maccabi overcame CSKA Moscow in the semifinals and Real Madrid in the title game to bring the trophy back to its passionate fans. A brilliant campaign also saw Maccabi win the Israeli League and Cup before coach Blatt left. After what was – at least by Maccabi standards – a subpar season, Maccabi will be gunning for all the trophies once again.
2014-15 Results: Euroleague: Playoffs, Israeli League: Semifinalist, Israeli Cup: Winner