1994/1995 - Sabonis Rules

Arvydas Sabonis had won everything except the ultimate club competition. For what was his last season in Europe before joining the Portland Trailblazers, the Lithuanian star led Real Madrid to victory, overwhelming Olympiakos Piraeus (73-61) in the final game.

After the disappointment of the 1993 Final Four, Real Madrid had planned to conquer its eighth European crown in the 1995 Final Four, held in Spain (Zaragoza).

Thus, Real’s coach, Zelimir Obradovic - who won that year his third ECM with three different teams (Partizan, Joventut and Real) - built his team around a strong front court (Sabonis- Arlauckas-Martin-Cargol), which scored almost 80% of the team’s points.

Though the guards were usually forgotten on the offensive end and were there mainly for their defense, Real relied on a 2.20 meter playmaker named Sabonis.

The Lithuanian center finished as the third scorer of the competition (21.8 ppg), fourth
rebounder (11.2 rpg.), eighth in field goal percentage (57.2%), and led his team to an easy qualification for the Final Four, beating Cibona Zagreb two games to none in the quarter finals.

In the semi-final game, Sabonis quickly showed that he would give no quarter to Limoges and effortlessly dominated the French inside players (21 points-9 rebounds), while the Spanish guard Ismael Santos spent the whole game stuck to Michael Young’s shorts, holding him to only 9 points. The other semi-final was a rematch of the previous year’s semi-final with the same script: Olympiakos beat Panathinaikos once again, thanks to a great Eddie Johnson (27
points-10 rebounds) and a couple of big shots from Milan Tomic.

Vrankovic’s 17 rebounds did not change the outcome. In the final game, Isma Santos put up the same type of defensive show on Eddie Johnson (only 9 points) that he had done on Young
while Sabonis dominated the game offensively, scoring 23 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, feeding Arlauckas and others, and hitting two three pointers which put an end to any kind of suspense.


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