While the focus falls on the final game of the Final Four, Real Madrid are the champions due to their strong performances over the campaign. Sunday the 17th of May is the night that goes into the record books and will be the evening the fans remember but there have been many triumphs and a few stumbles over the course of the season.
In the regular season, Real Madrid notched up a record of 8 wins and 2 defeats. The 2 losses came at the hands of Anadolu Efes Istanbul in Turkey, losing by 75-73 and at home to Unics Kazan, by a score of 75-85. The home loss to Unicas Kazan was a bit of an upset but ultimately it wasn’t to do any damage to the Madrid campaign. The 8 wins left Real Madrid in a comfortable position, topping Group 8 with a +98 points difference and two wins better off their nearest challenges, Anadolu Efes.
The Top 16 was supposed to be harder for Real Madrid
In the Top 16, if things were meant to get tougher for Real Madrid, it didn’t really show on the Los Blancos. Top spot was secured in Group E with an 11-3 record and although Barcelona also achieved an 11-3 record, the team from the Spanish capital had the better head to head record. Even though Barcelona defeated the champions in Catalonia, by a score of 85-80, the earlier 97-73 triumph in Madrid meant that if it was going to head to head records, there was only going to be one winner.
Like the defeat against Barcelona, the other two defeats for Real Madrid came away from home. They lost 90-86 to Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in Israel and they also lost out to Panathianikos Athens. The Greek team won 80-69 in a challenging game when the team from Madrid underperformed.
Real Madrid finished Group E with a points difference of 192, while second placed Barcelona had a points difference of 87. It was clear to everyone that Madrid had been the strongest team in the group.
The Playoff round saw Madrid face a familiar foe
In the Playoff round Real Madrid once again squared off against Anadolu Efes Istanbul and a 3-1 record was more than enough to see Real Madrid through to the Final Four with a minimum of fuss and effort. Making the most of home court advantage, Madrid won the opening two games of the series in Madrid, winning 80-71 and then 90-85. Anadolu Efes needed to win to keep the series alive and they triumphed in Game 3, winning 75-72 in Istanbul but in Game 4, Real Madrid booked their passage to the Final Four, winning 63-76 in Turkey.
With the Final Four taking place in Madrid, there was a hunger and passion to be present, and when you think about the fact that Madrid had been in the last two finals, there were some wrongs that had to be corrected.
On Friday night, Real Madrid were in full control against Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul, winning 96-87, ensuring that Madrid would have a place in the final to look forward to. On Sunday night, Real Madrid were well in control before half-time against Olympiacos Piraeus, eventually winning 78-58 to grab their first Euroleague title since 1995.
Four Real Madrid players were involved in all 30 Euroleague games this season, with Sergio Llull being the only player to start all 30 of these games. The remaining three players to have featured in every match were Jaycee Carroll, Felipe Reyes and KC Rivers. Over the course of the campaign, Real Madrid notched a total of 2,589 points with Felipe Reyes just coming out on top with a total of 321 points. Rudy Fernandez grabbed 317 points, Sergio Llull provided 313 points and Sergio Rodriguez provided 310 points from his 28 appearances (with just two starts!)
Felipe Reyes was out on his own with respect to rebounds, providing 75 offensive rebounds and 79 defensive rebounds for the winning team. In total Real Madrid, clocked up 1,047 rebounds in total, with Gustavo Ayon chipping in with 131 (48 offensive and 83 defensive rebounds).
Real Madrid had a total of 644 assists with Sergio Llull providing 175 assist while Sergio Rodriguez provided 143 assists.
This is the 9th Euroleague triumph for Real Madrid, which means that 2015 will stand alongside 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1980 and 1995 as Euroleague glory years. Clearly the majority of these triumphs came in the 60s and 70s, but after a couple of near misses, Real Madrid should be looking to add a few more Euroleague triumphs to their history in the near future.