By Eurohoops Team/ email@example.com
Months away from possibly competing for the title, Real Madrid bested Anadolu Efes, 94-85, in the first meeting between the two teams after the last game of the 2021-22 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.
A touch of revenge but with some concern for Guerschon Yabusele. The French big scored all of his 11 points in the first quarter before picking up an injury and finally exiting late in the third quarter.
A contested and long second-quarter buzzer-beater connected by Sergio Llull ensured momentum carries into halftime. Los Blancos are accustomed to such decisive deliveries over the last 15 years. An ensuing 15-point cushion turned into a slim four-point lead but Madrid restored a double-digit advantage in the fourth quarter.
Adam Hanga went for 11 points, six assists, and four rebounds en route for a team-high PIR of 19 Thursday. “We’ve been struggling lately, we didn’t have continuity, so we have to be happy for this win against a very solid team,” he said following the game, “We can still get better, especially our defense, but we have to be happy for our offense.”
Gabriel Deck and Vincent Poirier chipped in 13 points each. Llull added seven more points in the last ten minutes to end up with a total of ten points. Carlos Alocen (knee), Fabien Causeur (leg), Rudy Fernandez (wrist), Anthony Randolph (knee), and Nigel Williams-Goss (foot) all remained sidelined.
“We played a pretty nice game,” commented Poirier, “We had played some bad games but this one has to lead us in the way we want to play. We shared the ball, everybody scored, everybody passed the ball, and that’s the way we want to play.”
Making the best of Regular Season Round 7, Chus Mateo’s side went up to 4-3 and downed the back-to-back champions to 2-5. Up next is Alba Berlin visiting Spain’s capital next Thursday.
“We have to be aggressive on offense, go into the paint. We did it today and we were able to create in the paint. This is the meaning of our basketball. We threatened their defense and we need to share the ball as we did today,” said the head coach of the winning side, “We are very happy, only 9 turnovers and 25 assists, so that’s good for us. I just take care of my players and keep working day by day. This is the only thing I can control.”
The top performer of Efes, Will Clyburn dropped 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Ante Zizic logged 17 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort. Vasilije Micic ended up with 15 points in WiZink Center, after being held to four points in the first half.
Micic, 28, dishing out eight assists jumped to ninth on the all-time list of Europe’s premier club continental competition. At 979, the Serbian superstar passed Theo Papaloukas’s career effort of 977.
Foul trouble limited Tibor Pleiss to ten minutes and a four-point showing. Shane Larkin (finger) has yet to be cleared but Rodrigue Beaubois (calf) returned to action packing two points in 19 minutes after sitting out the last two EuroLeague games.
“The team came back in the last quarter to two points, then we made some stupid turnovers and again lost control of the game,” summed up Ergin Ataman, “We fought but Real Madrid played more smart in the last four or five minutes, we made ridiculous mistakes, especially on offense, and we lost the game. Congratulations to Madrid.”
Dealing with the pressure of three losses in a row, his side will play host to FC Barcelona in Round 8 of the Regular Season.
Photo Credit: EuroleagueBasketball.net