Three former Portland Trail Blazers won the EuroLeague Championship today in thrilling fashion.
As teammates on Real Madrid, Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez and Mario Hezonja helped the franchise take down Olympiacos 79-78 to capture its 11th EuroLeague title.
Rodriguez, 36, had the best game of the trio, posting a team-high 15 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Fernandez, 38, contributed three points, two assists and two rebounds in 17 minutes. Hezonja, 28, produced 12 points and three rebounds.
In the final minute, after Rodriguez hit a clutch 3-pointer to bring Real Madrid within one, Real Madrid guard Sergio Llull knocked down the game-winning shot from the right elbow with 3.1 seconds left. The high-arcing jumper accounted for Llull’s only two points in the game. Talk about onions!
Sergio Llull only made this shot in the entire EuroLeague Final.— Dionysis Aravantinos (@AravantinosDA) May 21, 2023
That shot won Real Madrid the title.
Here are the full highlights from the matchup (keep an eye out for the great plays from the bearded Rodriguez, who the announcers often refer to by his nickname, “El Chacho.”):
Elsewhere on Real Madrid’s championship roster, you may recognize a few more faces. Nigel Williams-Goss, who grew up in Happy Valley, Oregon and played for Washington and Gonzaga in college, scored nine points in today’s title game. Dzanan Musa, Jusuf Nurkic’s teammate on the Bosnian national team, scored six points in the win.
Rodriguez joined the Blazers prior to the 2006-07 season, at age 20. The Phoenix Suns selected Rodriguez with the 27th pick in the NBA Draft and then traded him to Portland on draft day. Through three seasons in Portland, he didn’t earn too many minutes on Head Coach Nate McMillan’s squad, averaging 3.6 points and 2.9 assists in 12.4 minutes per game, but he earned a special place in the fanbase’s heart because of his creativity as a passer.
Fernandez joined the Blazers prior to the 2008-09 season, Rodriguez’s final campaign with the club, and together the duo from Spain took on the moniker of the Spanish Armada, at least to Blazers commentators Mike Barrett and Mike Rice. Fernandez, entering his rookie season at age 23, also spent three seasons in Portland, averaging 9.1 points per game and shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc. Maybe most notably, Fernandez broke the NBA record for most 3-pointers by a rookie in 2009 with 159 (the record would later be broken by Damian Lillard and again by Donovan Mitchell). Fittingly for this post, Rodriguez assisted on the record-breaking triple.
Hezonja’s stint as a Blazer may be looked upon less fondly compared with his current teammates’ tenures. The Croatian forward, the fifth overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, came to Portland in 2019 as a reclamation project. In one season, he averaged 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game.
While we’re here, enjoy one more Rodriguez/Fernandez Blazers highlight for the road:
Ok, one more: