By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The EuroLeague Game of the Week for the opening night of the 2021-22 season proved to be mostly a one-team show.
Real Madrid defeated reigning champion Anadolu Efes 82 – 69 at home more easily than what the final score shows. The Blancos led with a margin of around 20 points for most of the game, controlling all aspects of it from start to finish.
The new guys took charge for Real Madrid. Thomas Heurtel scored 10 out of his 15 points in the first quarter to help the hosts take a commanding 32 – 15 lead while Guerschon Yabusele added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists. Edy Tavares contributed 13 points and 12 rebounds while providing his usually large defensive impact.
“We are just trying to help the team win games by playing the right way on offense and on defense,” Yabusele said. “We fit well. We have a lot of potential as a team.”
Efes was unable to match Real’s aggressiveness, especially in the beginning of the match since there was vast difference on how the two teams entered the floor. The Turkish side fell behind by 21 points halfway through the second period and was unable to recover, lacking rebounding (42 vs. 18) and missing offensive solutions save for Shane Larkin (21 points, six assists) and Filip Petrusev (17 points in his 16:05 minutes of his EuroLeague debut). EuroLeague season and Final Four MVP Vasilije Micic had nine points on 3-10 shots.
Real also got an extra help from other newcomers like Nigel Williams-Goss (nine points in 16:23) and Adam Hanga (eight points in 15:43) as it cruised towards the win. Efes just managed to cut the deficit as low as 10 in the fourth period but there was nothing that could change the outcome.
Happy for the win and the return of the fans
Real Madrid coach Pablo Laso enjoyed the performance of his team and also to see fans back in Wiznick center
“I think that our start of the game was probably decisive, both on defense and offense,” Laso said. “We had the best offensive moments of the season, and got a 17-point lead at the end of the first quarter. We handled that lead very well after that through our defense. They scored 15, 20, 13, 21 points in each quarter, and we had the feeling of being solid on defense, which added to the lead that we had after the first quarter, it was decisive in the game. I am happy for the win and for my players. We had very good teamwork, but this had just started. Obviously, it is an important game against the champion and it is a great way to start the competition, but we know this has just started. It was a beautiful day to win – the first EuroLeague game, against the champion, with our fans back in the stands.”
Photo: EuroLeague Basketball