En route to an unprecedented 11th Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title, Real Madrid did something no champion has done before – win five consecutive games when facing elimination.
Real was famously 0-2 down in its best-of-five playoff series against Partizan Mozzart Bet Belgrade before winning the next three contests, becoming the first team to turn around a 0-2 playoff deficit in the history of the EuroLeague Playoffs. With Los Blancos then winning both of its games in Kaunas, it meant that they had won five straight elimination games, capped with a thrilling 78-79 triumph in the championship game thanks to Sergio Llull's game-winner with 3.1 seconds remaining.
From elimination games to the crown
"When we started the playoffs, we said we've got [to record] five victories to be champions," Real coach Chus Mateo said during the Final Four. "When we were losing 0-1, still five victories to go. And when 0-2 happened, the same. And we tried to be focused only on the next game."
It's a feat that will go down in the history books. Five elimination games to end the season is the maximum a team could face in the current format, and Real is the first to come out the other side since the best-of-five playoff series format was introduced for the 2008-09 campaign.
To add more drama, apart from the semifinal in which it downed FC Barcelona 66-78, Real won each of its other four games by a margin of 7 points or fewer.