Real Madrid epic completes comeback from 2-0 deficit

2023-05-10T23:19:42+00:00 2023-05-10T23:59:44+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

10/May/23 23:19

Rallying from a large deficit in the fourth quarter, Real Madrid eliminates Partizan Mozzart Bet and completes the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four field

By Eurohoops Team/

Excellent veteran touches by Sergio Rodriguez and Sergio Llull make the difference for Real Madrid rallying past Partizan Mozzart Bet, 98-94, Wednesday.

Trailing by 18 points early in the third quarter and with Walter Tavares among multiple players spread across both sides dealing with foul trouble, the improbable situation favored the team based in Spain’s capital.

With the visitors as struggling to hold on, El Chacho went into a frenzy in the fourth quarter. The veteran point guard dropped a season-high 19 points, including 13 in the last ten minutes of crazy Game 5 to conclude the eventful Turkish Airlines EuroLeague best-of-five series with four road wins from Game 1 to Game 4, among other notable firsts.

“We knew how important this is for such a club like Real Madrid,” noted Rodriguez, “We are happy. And next week we have the Final Four. That’s already on our mind.”

Llull registered all of his eight points in the fourth period, including five straight with just over four minutes on the clock for the first lead since early in the first quarter.

“We were able to come back with the veteran players. They know how to fight,” commented Chus Mateo, “This is Real Madrid.”

His side made EuroLeague Playoffs history with the first-ever comeback from a 2-0 deficit. Extending the Game 5 undefeated streak for home teams to 18 games was the additional bonus attached to the second straight Final Four berth. “We have to believe. We have to keep fighting,” the winning head coach shared a portion of the halftime discussion with his players.

“Listen, this is my first season in Real Madrid. What this club and these players are made of, we came back in the series, we were down in the fifth game, and we know how difficult it is to come back against Partizan. And we did that,” said Dzanan Musa after contributing a team-high 20 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block.

Tavares playing with four fouls from the midway point of the third quarter managed to last nearly 29 minutes producing 12 points, seven rebounds, and one block. The towering center, EuroLeague’s all-time leader in blocks, picking up two fouls in the first quarter and a third in the second quarter allowed Partizan to penetrate in the paint and eventually build the game-high 18-point lead in the third quarter.

Carlos Alocen (left knee), Gabriel Deck (left knee), Vincent Poirier (calf), and Guerschon Yabusele (suspension) were all sidelined alongside healthy scratch Petr Cornelie. Moving to the championship-crowning tournament, Madrid is set to check the next edition of El Clasico in a meeting against FC Barcelona in Zalgirio Arena on 19 May. Coached by hometown hero Sarunas Jasikevicius, the archrivals based in Catalonia are likely to enjoy the support of the Kaunas crowd.

Back from the two-game suspension stemming from his involvement in the Game 2 brawl, Kevin Punter connected seven triples tallying a game-high 28 points in WiZink Center but to no avail. Dante Exum and Mathias Lessort followed with 16 and 13 points, respectively. Recently ruled out for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, Aleksa Avramovic (left hand) was the lone unavailable player for the third game in Madrid.

“They have character. They showed it one more time. However, I am proud of my team. I believe they played very good basketball,” reacted Zeljko Obradovic after missing the opportunity to resurface the Belgrade club in the Final Four for the first time since 2010, “It’s obvious that we lost control of the game. This is the reason we lost the game.”

Partizan had never secured an away win against Real Madrid before this series but needed one more to enter the Final Four.

ACB and ABA challenges

With a 25-6 W-L tally, the Whites currently rank third in Spain’s Liga Endesa, one game behind co-leaders Barca and Cazoo Baskonia. All three games remaining on the double-legged round-robin schedule of the ACB Regular Season will be on the road, starting with Valencia and Gran Canaria this week and ending up at Real Betis.

Partizan will instead start the AdmiralBet ABA League Quarterfinals best-of-three series opposite SC Derby. Barring an unexpected exit, the winner of Game 3 between Cedevita Olimpija and FMP Soccerbet will follow in the Semifinals. Crvena Zvezda Meridianbet and Buducnost VOLI shape the other matchup of the semis.

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