Insane Euroleague Basketball Game Ends with Seven Intentionally Missed Free Throws (Video)
Earlier this week, a Euroleague basketball game between Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel) and Darussafaka (Turkey) ended with the two teams combining for seven intentionally missed free throws.
Why? It all boils down to tie-breakers and point differential.
You see, this was the last game of the Euroleague group stage. If Darussafaka won, they’d advance to the next round with a record of 5-5. If Maccabi won, both teams would finish with a record of 4-6. However, the tie-breaker in the Euroleague is point differential. So for Maccabi to advance, they’d have to win by at least 11 points.
Unfortunately for Maccabi, they were not able to get a big lead late in the game. In fact, Darussafaka tied the game 65-65 with 1:23 left. And at that point Maccabi realized their only chance to advance past the group stage was to send the game to overtime and try to run up the score. Thus on their next possession, Maccabi just brought the ball down the court and ran out the shot clock, turning the ball over.
At this point, Darussafaka knew what Maccabi was trying to do. However, they also knew that they did not need to win the game to advance. They just needed to lose by less than 11 points. So after getting the ball back on the shot clock violation, Darussafaka tried to score to prevent overtime. But when they missed, rather than let Maccabi just waste time and send the game to OT, Darussafaka fouled Maccabi and sent them to the free throw line.
That’s when the intentional free throw missing begins. Not wanting to break the tie, the Maccabi player clanked his shot off the rim. When Darussafaka got the ball back, they tried to break the tie again, but this time they were fouled. And that’s when the Darussafaka coach got smart. After his player hit his first free throw, the coach called for him to intentionally miss the second.
Why? Because they had a one-point lead, and the only way Maccabi could score one point and send the game to overtime was to hit a free throw themselves. Thus, if Darussafaka just stood there and didn’t touch anybody after taking a one-point lead, Maccabi would be screwed.
When Maccabi realized what Darussafaka was doing, they just tried to pull out all the stops and score. But it was too late.
Take a look at the entire sequence of events yourself. Maccabi is yellow, Darussafaka is green. It’s absolutely bizarre:
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say the Euroleague should probably consider using something other than point differential as a tie-breaker.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]