By Stefan Djordjevic / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sergio Llull shot 5-6 from deep on his way to 19 points including the crucial shots to keep Madrid alive. Walter Tavares scored 19 as well, along with the always big presence in the paint (four blocks) on both sides of the floor.
“It was clear that we had to improve our defense and we did it. We know that we were playing really good basketball and at the end, we played with heart. We found the way to win the game, an important win for us,” Llull said.
Fabien Causeur added 13 points. For the French side, Norris Cole and Guerschon Yabusele banked in 21 each while David Lighty added 13.
ASVEL was putting on high percentages in its last couple of games, hitting around two-thirds of the shots from deep and they continued doing so this game as well.
They didn’t miss a single one in the first quarter and banked in nine threes already by the halftime break which is the main reason why the French team had a 50-40 lead.
Coach Pablo Laso was far from satisfied with the first half but, in the end, he’s proud of the way his squad bounced back: “I think we were out of the game in the first half, not in the second half. In the second half, the team was doing the right things defensively and offensively. You can hit baskets, you can receiving baskets; this is basketball. But our first half was terrible. We were receiving baskets the way we didn’t want to, so our game plan was destroyed from the beginning. And I think we were lucky we were only down by 10.”
It would’ve been far worse for Real Madrid was it not for Llull who made three straight triples as soon as he came into play. He continued the effort after the break as well, and in the lineup with Causeur, Tavares, and Sergio Fernandez, they pushed Real Madrid back up and took over the lead (84-79) with less than three minutes left.
The experience of Madrid’s veterans showed as they closed the game for the ‘Whites’ who improved to 7-5 while leaving ASVEL at a 3-7 record.