On This Day, 2015: Real returns to the European throne

May 17, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print
On This Day, 2015: Real returns to the European throne

On this day five years ago, Real Madrid and Olympiacos Piraeus met in perhaps the most anticipated basketball game in the Spanish capital in decades. The 2015 EuroLeague championship game was the Reds' third appearance in the championship game in four years after winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Real had made it to the championship decider for the third straight season; it lost to Olympiacos in 2013 in London and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Milan in 2014. Real bested Final Four newcomer Fenerbahce Istanbul in one of the semifinals, 96-87, behind 18 points from Gustavo Ayon. Olympiacos edged CSKA Moscow 68-70 thanks to Vassilis Spanoulis's late heroics; he had 11 of his 13 points in the final 3 minutes.

A dream-come-true

Matt Lojeski had 10 points in the first 6 minutes and got help from Othello Hunter and Brent Petway to give Olympiacos a 15-19 lead after 10 minutes. Jonas Maciulis and Andres Nocioni rescued Real, and K.C. Rivers struck from downtown to give his team its largest lead of the half at the break, 35-28. Olympiacos was not done, however, as Lojeski and Kostas Sloukas combined for 8 points in an 0-12 run that put the Reds ahead, 40-41. Real found a go-to guy in Jaycee Carrol, who downed three consecutive shots from beyond the arc and added a layup that pushed Los Blancos to a 53-46 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Nocioni and Sergio Llull fueled a 9-0 run that sealed the outcome, 71-55, allowing Real fans to get the party started. La Novena!

Real, King of Europe

The win consolidated Real as the most decorated team in European basketball history. Los Blancos became the continental champion for a record ninth time. Real won four EuroLeague titles in the 1960s, two in the 1970s and one each in the 1980s and the 1990s. Real's previous EuroLeague title came in 1995 with the legendary Arvydas Sabonis. Real has been to 18 EuroLeague Finals or championship games and its comeback plan to glory was completed. It also marked a record 15th European title for the club. Every time that Real has not played in Europe's top competition, it won a different continental trophy or reached that competition's finals. European club basketball cannot be understood without Real's achievements.

About the game

The final score was 78-59, after which team captain Felipe Reyes received the EuroLeague trophy from the King of Spain, Felipe VI. Carroll led the winners with 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting. Nocioni contributed 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks to earn Final Four MVP honors. Llull also scored 12 and Sergio Rodriguez added 11. Lojeski paced the Olympiacos attack with 17 points, Georgios Printezis netted 11 and Kostas Sloukas and Hunter had 10 each. Spanoulis was held to just 3 points. Real outrebounded Olympiacos 40-25 and pulled down 12 offensive boards. It also hit 13 of 30 shots from downtown (43.3%) and limited Olympiacos to just 5-of-23 three-point shooting (21.7%).

What happened next

Real would win a 10th EuroLeague title in 2018, led by Final Four MVP Luka Doncic. Laso won the Aleksandar Gomelskiy Trophy in 2015 and 2018 and still coaches the team. Five of the players who won the EuroLeague in 2015 - Llull, Carroll, Felipe Reyes, Facu Campazzo and Rudy Fernandez - are still playing for Coach Laso in Madrid. Olympiacos has not won the EuroLeague title again, but two of its players lifted the trophy after losing in 2015: Sloukas with Fenerbahce in 2017 and Hunter with CSKA in 2019. Rodriguez also won a second EuroLeague title. He became the first Spanish-born player to win the EuroLeague with a foreign team, CSKA, in 2019.