Rodriguez stars in Madrid's 10th consecutive win
Real Madrid finished the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Regular Season undefeated by thrashing Anadolu Efes Istanbul 61-86 in Group B on the road on Thursday. Madrid finished first in Group B with a 10-0 record. Efes ended the stage with a 4-6 record and waiting for the result of the Brose Basktes vs. Zalgiris game to know if it had advanced to the Top 16. Sergio Rodriguez paced the winners with 24 points on 6-of-6 three-point shooting and 5 assists. Nikola Mirotic added 17 points, Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes each scored 13 while Rudy Fernandez got 10 for Madrid. Reyes added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Dusko Savanovic led Efes with 20 points. Tadija Dragicevic added 10 for the hosts, who led 20-18 after 10 minutes. Rodriguez took over to give Madrid a 34-38 halftime edge, but an outstanding Savanovic struck three times from downtown for a 45-41 Efes lead. It didn't last long, as Reyes, Mirotic and an unstoppable Rodriguez led Madrid to a 49-54 advantage after 30 minutes. Rodriguez led a 0-17 fourth-quarter run that sealed the outcome minutes before the final buzzer.
First quarter: Savanovic, Balbay put Efes ahead
Semih Erden got Efes going with an acrobatic jump hook, but Rudy sank a wild three-pointer in transition for a 2-3 Madrid lead. Savanovic buried a jumper, which Dogus Balbay bettered with a fast break layup to get the crowd involved at 6-3. Tremmell Darden stepped up with a running hook that Jamon Gordon erased with a driving layup. Mirotic swished a six-meter jumper and bettered Savanovic's put-back basket with a bomb from downtown that tied it at 10-10. Fernandez dunked only to see Savanovic bank a turnaround jumper. After Sergio Llull made free throws, Scotty Hopson shined with a put-back layup. A four-meter jumper by Rodriguez restored a 14-16 Madrid lead. Gordon scored in penetration and Balbay dunked off a midcourt steal to put Efes back ahead, 18-16. Savanovic downed a baseline jumper that Mirotic matched with a big basket in the low post to keep Madrid within 20-18 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rodriguez shines as Madrid grabs lead
Felipe Reyes split free throws early in the second quarter – ending his lengthy run of free throws without a miss – and a dunk by Rudy put Madrid back ahead, 20-21. Efes struggled to score for more than two minutes, while foul shots by Reyes boosted Los Blancos. Rodriguez struck from downtown to cap a 0-10 Madrid run. Dragicevic stepped up with a three-pointer. Salah Mejri countered with free throws and another three-pointer by Rodriguez boosted Madrid' lead to 24-31. Dragicevic kept pushing Efes with a layup-plus-foul. Llull scored in penetration and a second-chance layup by Reyes gave Madrid a 27-35 advantage. Efes improved with twin point guards, as Zoran Planinic scored in the low post and a jumper by Balbay brought the hosts closer, 31-35. After Hopson split foul shots, Mirotic extended the difference to 32-37. Balbay scored off another steal and a free throw by Llull fixed the score at 34-38 as both teams headed back to the locker rooms.
Third quarter: Savanovic keeps Efes alive
Hopson banked in a mid-range jumper soon after the break. Madrid was held scoreless for almost two minutes until Mirotic split free throws. A seven-meter bomb by Savanovic ignited the crowd and tied the game at 39-39. Llull scored in penetration, but he didn't find much help around. Meanwhile, another three-pointer by Savanovic completed the hosts' comeback, 42-41. Savanovic struck again from downtown to force Madrid to call timeout at 45-41. Dontaye Draper finished a four-chance Madrid offense with a three-pointer which Llull followed with a fast break layup to restore a 45-46 Madrid edge. Reyes managed to stop Savanovic, Llull scored again and a fallaway jumper off the dribble by Rodriguez forced Efes to call timeout at 45-50. Reyes hit a jump hook to cap a 0-11 Madrid run. Birkan Batuk split free throws, which Llull bettered with an acrobatic shot. A three-pointer by Dragicevic brought Efes within 49-54 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: 0-17 run seals it early
Reyes shined with a second-chance tip-in early in the fourth quarter. Kerem Gonlum scored around the basket, but Mirotic did better with a bomb from downtown, good for a 51-59 Madrid margin. Reyes banked in a close shot to give Madrid its first double-digit lead, 51-61. Planinic tried to ignite the hosts' comeback with a triple, but Rodriguez answered from downtown and a layup by Reyes forced Efes to call timeout, 54-66, with six minutes left. Rodriguez downed another three-pointer and a wild reverse layup by Mirotic sealed the outcome, 54-71. Efes struggled to score when it mattered most. Mirotic scored again, Fernandez buried an unbelievable triple and Rodriguez capped a 0-17 Madrid run. Planinic scored in penetration, but it was already too little, too late for Efes. Madrid reached the Top 16 undefeated with yet another road win which left Efes halfway out of the competition.
Thursday, December 19, 2013