Real Madrid overcomes Olympiacos for Euroleague title

Real MadridReal Madrid is the 2015 Euroleague champion after the Spanish club defeated Olympiacos 78-59 in a surprisingly comfortable championship game. The Euroleague Final Four has been held in Madrid’s Barclaycard Center and with a home crowd Los Blancos was finally able to win the title after appearing in three consecutive finals.

Indeed, Real Madrid has competed regularly as one of the favourites for the Euroleague each season, but the club has actually not won the title since 1995. It is both fitting that the 2015 edition of Europe’s grandest tournament was won by Real in Madrid and twenty years after the last success. Of course, despite the long gap between titles, Real Madrid remains the winningest club in the history of the competition with 9 titles overall.

As for Olympiacos, the Greek giant could have cemented one of the most dominant periods in European Basketball history by making it three titles in four seasons, but the club has to console itself with a runners-up spot after been thoroughly outclassed by Real Madrid. It is also worth remembering that in 1995 when Real last won the Euroleague, it was Olympiacos the club defeated in the showpiece game.

Real Madrid vs. Olympiacos Piraeus, 78-59
The comfortable margin of victory is certainly a shock, but the stats of the game show clearly why Real Madrid was superior on the night. Los Blancos grabbed 40 rebounds off the glass compared to 25 for Olympiacos, shot 84% from the charity strip compared to 48%, and nailed 13 triples while the visitors struggled from downtown with just 5 connecting all game.

The game started slow, with the game taking over a minute to see its first points. They came for Real Madrid as Filipe Reyes draining from a Sergio Llull assist. Vassilis Spanoulis opened the scoring for Olympiacos shortly after, but it would prove to be a very frustrating game for the Greek playmaker. The teams traded through the remainder of the first quarter, but Matt Lojeski gave Olympiacos a lead and nailed 10 points through the period to help the visitors to a 15-19 lead after ten minutes. Madrid rallied and reclaimed the lead early in the second, and once they took charge they never looked back, winning the period with an impressive 20-9 run that made it 35-28 through halftime.

The second quarter gave Los Blancos a decent lead to protect in the remaining 20 minutes of action, and the hosts used the third quarter to consolidate. Olympiacos tried to open the game, but Real Madrid was content to close it down and share the period 18-18, leaving the scoreboard on 53-46 through thirty minutes. It was still up for grabs heading into the final act, but the home contingent sparked and went big in the period to make sure Olympiacos never got within distance of winning. A 25-13 charge in the fourth gave Madrid a comfortable finish and handed the club a ninth Euroleague title.

Jaycee Carroll topped the scoring for the winners with 16 points, while Sergio Llull took 12 points and Andres Nocioni 12 points and 7 rebounds in an MVP winning performance. Sergio Rodriguez chipped in with 11 points for the newly crowned champs.

Matt Lojeski gave Olympiacos an early lead and scored a game high 17 points for the Greek team. Georgios Printezis scored 11 points, while Othello Hunter and Konstantinos Sloukas both logged 10 points each.

Real Madrid captain Filipe Reyes summed up the feeling amongst the players of the club:

“I have been waiting for this title for a long time. We were really close to lifting the trophy in the last two years and it is a great, really deserved reward for all the work that we did – and we won it at home! We couldn’t ask for more! We managed to play as a team, play defense as a team and be a team.”

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