The two semi-finals in the Euroleague Final Four were markedly different but it doesn’t matter the margin of victory or the ease of the win in the semi-final, the only thing that matters is making it through to the final. This is why all focus is going to fall on Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Championship game on Sunday evening. Maccabi managed to battle back from 15 points down in the third quarter to book their place in the final. Real Madrid found things to be a lot more straightforward, clinching a 38 point win, which is the biggest triumph in the history of the Euroleague Final Four semi-finals. The fact that it came against bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona would have been greatly enjoyed by all of a Madrid persuasion.
A large part of Maccabi’s success in the semi was down to the form on David Blu. He grabbed 15 points, which included 4 three-pointers, including one very late on. Blu also made a dramatic late snatch which saw Maccabi surge forward and steal the game with second to go. In total, Blu has managed 18 of 34 attempts in seven different Final Four games. Other strong scoring Maccabi players were Tyrese Rice with 13 points while both Alex Tyus and Ricky Hickman notched 10 points.
The star man for Real Madrid, living up to the billing of the Eurloeague MVP billing was Sergio Rodriguez. Rodriguez managed to notch a total of 21 points while he also helped himself to 6 points. Other strong players for Madrid included Nikola Mirotic with 19 points, Rudy Fernandez delivered 12 points and two players, Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes grabbed 11 points each.
The teams have met twice in 2014 already
Real Madrid and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv have already met twice this year in the Top 16. The tally stands at two wins for Real Madrid but that doesn’t tell the full story of two basketball matches that were actually quite close.
The first game between the two teams this year took place on the 30th of January with Real Madrid running out 74-68 winners. The scoring by quarters ran as 19-20, 20-15, 17-22, 18-11 which meant that both sides won two quarters. The top scorer for Real Madrid was Llull with 20 points, and he also managed to grab 4 assists while Rudy Fernandez was the top man for rebounds, with 8. Maccabi’s top man was Sofoklis Schortsanitis who delivered 15 points and 5 rebounds.
On the 27th of March, the two teams faced off in Madrid and this time, the margin of Madrid triumph was even tighter. The final score was 76-77 to the away team and yet again, both teams triumphed in two quarters each. The scoring ran 15-20, 28-20, 14-22, 19-15.
It should be no surprise that Euroleague MVP Sergio Rodriguez was the top points scorer for Real Madrid, with 21 points but the most points in the game was 23, notched by Devin Smith.
Madrid are looking like the favourites with the bookmakers for the Euroleague Final Four
Despite the fact that the last game between the two teams was a one point victory for Real Madrid, the bookmakers are making the team from the Spanish capital massive favourites in the final. The odds on a Madrid victory at bwin are 1.20 while you will find odds of 4.33 for Maccabi Tel Aviv. The same bookmaker is splitting the over/under market at 155.5 points with odds of 1.87 available on either outcome. If you do believe that Real Madrid are clear favourites, there may be better value to find in the handicap market. You can find Real Madrid with a -8.5 handicap at odds of 1.87 at bwin.
If you are interested in a wager on the 3rd/4th Play-Off match, bwin are making Barcelona favourites with odds of 1.72 in their favour while CSKA Moscow are available at 2.10. Given the heart-breaking nature of defeat for the Russian team in their semi-final, you have to think that if Barcelona want victory, it is theirs for the taking. Whatever happens in the two games, we are in line for a terrific Sunday of basketball. If you are not fortunate enough to be in Milan for the final, remember that we created a guide which outlines where you can see the Final Four Championship from the comfort of your own home.
With both semi-finals being absolutely captivating in their own right, Sunday has a lot to live up to. However, with the tension and drama of the Final Four Championshiop, it is likely that there will be some moments and plenty of memories that live with basketball fans for many years to come. Good luck to Real Madrid and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in the Euroleague 2014 Final Four Championship Game in Milan.