A champion was crowned this past weekend. In the Euroleague Championships, Maccabi Tel Aviv rode an incredible comeback in the semifinals to make the championship game, where they defeated Real Madrid in overtime to claim the title.
This tweet summarized Maccabi’s run in the tournament:
On its way to the Euroleague title, Maccabi beat the host team, the wealthiest team and the most talented team. Guts.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) May 18, 2014
In the quarterfinals, the team defeated the home team Olimpia Milano. In the final four, they faced off against CSKA Moscow, who has the wealthiest team in Europe. Their roster includes former NBA players Jeremy Pargo, Nenad Krstic and Sonny Weems.
Maccabi trailed by 15 points late in the third quarter, but staged a rally in the fourth. They still trailed by four points with less than 20 seconds left, but completed the comeback on a layup from Tyrese Rice with 5.5 seconds left. You can watch the highlights below:
In the championship game, Maccabi was matched up against Real Madrid, who had the league’s Most Valuable Player in Sergio Rodriguez, Chicago Bulls prospect Nikola Mirotic and former NBA wing Rudy Fernandez. Maccabi fielded a roster without any NBA experience, went toe-to-toe with Real Madrid, and won the game 98-86 in overtime. The players were ecstatic — and probably exhausted — when the buzzer sounded:
The team was paced by 26 points from Rice, a 27-year-old point guard who played at Boston College before going undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft. He had played for several games in the summer league but has spent his pro career overseas. He, and the rest of his Maccabi teammates, may not ever get a chance in the NBA, but they have a championship run they’ll never forget.
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