The Euroleague champions are out after a remarkable match in Maccabi which saw the Turkish side Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul grab a narrow win against Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. It was a bets of five series but with a 3-0 triumph, there is no need for the remaining 2 games, allowing the winners some more time to rest up before focusing on the challenge that will lie ahead in Madrid.
It was a sore way for the champions to give up their crown, losing out in front of their home fans but many people will say that the damage was done in Turkey. After all, Fenerbahce managed to win the opening two games of the series, meaning that Maccabi were drinking in Last Chance Saloon by the time they took the games back to Israel. The reigning champions went down with a fight but ultimately, the night and the series belongs to Fenerbahce.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 74 – Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul 75
This will be the first time that Fenerbahce will play in the Final Four but it could have been different. There were chances for the home team to win the game, both in regulation time and in overtime, but both opportunities were missed by Jeremy Pargo. Pargo has been a massive player for Maccabi this season but he will undoubtedly be feeling the strain after those chances went begging.
Goudelock was the match winner in Maccabi
One player who doesn’t have to worry about feeling low is Nikos Zisis, who managed to grab 19 points, a season high for the player, and he also served up 5 assists for the Turkish team. It was also a great night for Andrew Goudelock. Goudelock managed to grab 15 points but more importantly, he also managed to grab the winning points with less than 10 seconds left in overtime. This is a time when you need your star players to stand up and be counted and Goudelock was there when it mattered most for the Turkish team.
Another key player for the winners was Jan Vesely, who provided 12 points and 8 rebounds for Fenerbahce. While Jeremy Pargo will no doubt be replaying his missed chances over and over again, he managed to grab 21 points over the course of the evening and Brian Randle served up 19 points and 10 rebounds for the home team.
It was a breath-taking game that went right to the death and the home team will know that they were a very small margin from remaining in this tie and pushing on in the hope of levelling the series in Game 4. It just goes to show how brutal the Playoffs can be, and there will be no Final Four exploits for Maccabi this season. It has been a tough season for the team, the added pressure that champions face against teams who are all desperate to beat them has been difficult for Maccabi at times. They can look back on a brave season but it is Fenerbahce who have plenty to look forward to in this campaign.