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One stop just before going back to the top

The 2006/07 EuroLeague season might not have been the smoothest sail through per say for Maccabi, but the game that was played on the 5th night of April will forever be told

15/10/2018
HOME · History · One stop just before going back to the top
The days were the days of change and rebuilt, days of stirring the boat through the rough seas, but most of all making changes while in motion. With the departures of Anthony Parker and Maceo Baston to the NBA to play for the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers accordingly during the summer of 2006, Maccabi Tel Aviv had to make a lot of adjustments and in a way this was almost a complete transformation and the beginning of a process. 

Coach Neven Spahija took the helm replacing Pini Gershon with the golden era seemingly coming to an end. Everyone knew that it well take some time to gel in order for the team to reach its fullest potential with some promising names arriving to Maccabi despite a tough local summer and the fact that the country of Israel was forced to defend itself in the 2006 Lebanon war and go on operation "Summer Rains" did not make things easier for the perennial champs. 

Finishing the previous season not only as the EuroLeague runner-ups and the first dethroned back to back champs, but also as the only team in the EuroLeague's modern era to make a threepeat on final four appearances since the golden age of Jugoplastica Split – this meant only one thing the perennial Israeli champs - the now established again elite European club has to aim as high as possible despite all that has happened during the offseason.    



And with the 2006/07 underway it was very well made clear that just like every known process to mankind, the climb back to the top will be no different and will take time. The format was very much different than today's round robin league. The regular season saw three groups of eight teams with the first five of each group and the sixth team with the best record making it to the next phase - the top 16 - four groups of four. 

Sailing through the rough waters while experiencing some growing pains, Coach Spahija's squad finished the regular season second to who will finish that season as the EuroLeague champs, Panathinaikos. Finishing the regular season as the number two seed secured their spot in group d in the top 16. A confident Maccabi side finished second in their group in the top 16 which meant the squad in yellow and blue are set to meet the red army team in the playoffs that were played in a format of a best of three series.

With the first game underway in Moscow, the then reigning EuroLeague champs who kept almost all of their roster, proved to be too much as they won the first game by quite the margin. With people giving pretty much zero chance for Maccabi against CSKA, Spahija's squad were not willing to go down without a fight and a chance at payback in what was their last home game of the season.



Neither one of the sides really managed to impose its will in the first quarter, the second one on the other hand was a complete celebration as Maccabi came up big with a 13-0 run to take a 35:25 lead at half time, with the yellow and blue army in the stands Maccabi continued to create poetry in motion on offense while also put the Russian offense into a complete holt as Maccabi had a 55:35 lead after three quarters. The squad in yellow and blue would go on winning that night letting everyone know what the Maccabi spirit is all about as they ended CSKA's 18 game winning streak in a game where they forced them to their lowest scoring performance of that season (56 points). 

CSKA ended up winning game number three and made it to the finals game where they lost to Panathinaikos, and Maccabi made it to the final four the very next year, but one thing is for sure the message sent on the 5th night of April is was told before and is still being told till this very day, you never write Maccabi off no matter when and no matter what especially when playing against them at the Menora with a full house.



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