Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv took a commanding six-point lead in overtime in the Euroleague basketball final Sunday night against Real Madrid in Milan.
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv blew a four-point lead with a minute left in the fourth quarter and, tied 73-73, the game went into overtime.
After one quarter of play Maccabi trailed by one, 16-15, but Real Madrid rallied after the break to take a commanding 26-16 by mid-second quarter. Maccabi clawed its way back, and with a buzzer beating three-pointer ended the first half down 35-33. The two teams traded a one point lead back and forth over a tense third quarter, but Real Madrid kept the lead with a clutch shot from beyond the arc with less than a minute left.
At least 10,000 Israeli fans traveled to the northern Italian venue to watch the game and cheer on the Israeli league champs. Many had purchased tickets from fans of previous favorites who had failed to qualify for the final round, including FC Barcelona and CSKA Moscow.
At least one wedding proposal took place in the midst of the festivities as thousands of Israeli fans celebrated outside the Milan stadium.
Maccabi won a place Friday night in the Euroleague Final after a thrilling victory over CSKA Moscow.
Trailing the powerful Russians for the entire semi-final, the Israelis took the lead for the first time only in the final six seconds, and held on for a sensational 68-67 victory, with Tyrese Rice clinching the winning basket.
Maccabi, coached by David Blatt, is seeking a sixth European championship. Blatt, whose team was behind by as much as 15 points during the game, praised “those who always believed we could do it” and said the team had enjoyed “an unbelievable season.”
In an interview before Sunday night’s game, Blatt said it was accurate to call Maccabi the underdog facing Real Madrid, “but if I’m not mistaken, David was an underdog against Goliath.”
Maccabi is seeking its sixth Euroleague championship; it has lost in the final 9 times.