FLASHBACK 2004: Maccabi dominance in Tel Aviv

It’s the third edition of TalkBasket’s look back at the EuroLeague’s title games as we build up to the start of the new season on October 12, when Real Madrid host Olympiacos.

We look at the 2004 EuroLeague final in Tel Aviv and the biggest victory in a European club basketball final in in half a century.

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For a blowout this big, you would have to go back 50 years.

But Maccabi Tel Aviv pulled off the biggest win in a European club final in that timeframe by thrashing a shellshocked Skipper Bologna side 118-74 in a game that was ultimately decided after the first quarter.

It was a success in front of a home audience at the Nokia Arena for Maccabi who were led by a 21-point effort by Anthony Parker, who would spent another two seasons with the Israeli giants before moving to the NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

And it was he, who claimed Final Four MVP honours but confessing afterwards that the coveted award belonged to the vocal Maccabi fanatics.

“I am so happy, man and to do like this in front of our fans who have been supporting us all year,” Parker said.

“We had our ups and downs. I want to give them a lot of credit. They were wonderful. This victory is painted yellow, for them. The MVP, I don’t deserve it. We had so many guys play so hard, it’s a team effort.”

David Bluthenthal came off the bench and boosted Maccabi with 20 points in just 16 minutes with Sarunas Jasikevicius claiming his second straight EuroLeague title as he added 18 points for Maccabi, including four three-pointers.

This is an amazing feeling, team effort was the key, this team has worked a lot for this, starting with my team-mates and coaches and ending with a great organisation like Maccabi is,” the Lithuanian commented.

For Skipper Bologna, they lost their second EuroLeague final in the competition’s short three-year history. But it was a third straight loss for an Italian team in the title game.

Milos Vujanic led Bologna with 21 points.

Bologna however scored on the first possession of the final thanks to Matjaz Smodis who was appearing in his second championship game.

That was as good as it got though as Maccabi responded with a 9-0 run, holding their counterparts scoreless for four minutes before Carlos Defino finally broke the cold spell with two free throws.

Thanks though to Bluthental and Parker, Maccabi raced to an early 31-13 lead after the first quarter and once the gap increased to 25 points during quarter number two, Maccabi were in party mood and at half-time, the Israeli side had amassed 55 points, beating the previous mark of 52 set by Philips Milano in 1988 and Kinder Bologna in 2001.

Bologna were never in it. The lead grew to 41 points in the fourth quarter as the party had already begun in Tel Aviv.

Watch the full game below: