Llull's late heroics lead Madrid past Bamberg
In a thriller that came went down to the final shot, Real Madrid grabbed its fourth consecutive win to move atop the standings by edging Brose Bamberg 89-91 in Nuernberg, Germany, on Wednesday. Madrid improved to 14-5 to match CSKA Moscow for first place, while Bamberg lost another heartbreaker to drop to 7-12. Sergio Llull led the winners with 26 points and once again became Madrid's hero by hitting the game-winning floater with 1.1 seconds left. Jaycee Carroll added 24 points and Gustavo Ayon posted 16 points and 8 rebounds for Madrid. Fabien Causeur led Bamberg with 14 points, Darius Miller added 13, Daniel Theis had 12 on 6-of-6 two-point shooting, including 5 dunks, while Nicolo Melli and Leon Radosevic each contributed 11 points for the hosts. Madrid outrebounded Bamberg 26-40, including 16 offensive boards. Bamberg had a much better assist (20) to turnover (10) ratio, but dominating the boards allowed Madrid to finish the game with excellent two-point shooting percentage (61.4%, 27-of-44). The game came down to the wire, as Bamberg rallied from a 5-point deficit in the final minute to tie it at 89-89 on free throws by Nikos Zisis, but Llull had the final word with a huge, off-balance, game-winning shot.
Felipe Reyes and Llull stepped up early to give Madrid a 2-5 lead. Causeur took over with a layup-plus-foul and Melli struck from downtown to give Bamberg its first lead, 8-7. Ayon banked in a close shot, Rudy Fernandez nailed a jumper and free throws by Llull boosted Madrid's lead to 10-13. Miller hit back-to-back triples, Melli added a wild three-point play and Strelnieks gave Bamberg the lead, 21-19. Llull and Fernandez nailed consecutive three-pointers for a 21-25 Madrid edge after 10 minutes. Theis dunked twice early in the second quarter and Strelnieks added consecutive three-pointers to help Bamberg tie the game at 34-34. Theis capped an 8-0 run with a jumper that prompted Madrid to call timeout. Madrid found a go-to guy in Carroll, who scored three times around the basket and twice from downtown - 12 points in less than four minutes. A three-pointer by Dontaye Draper made it a double-digit game, 41-51, but Miller and Melli brought Bamberg within 47-51 at halftime. Llull followed a driving layup with a mid-range jumper to keep Madrid ahead, 51-56, soon after the break. Radosevic hit free throws and three-pointers by Causeur and Melli put Bamberg back in charge, 59-58. Ayon took over with consecutive layups and got help from Reyes and Llull to give the guests a 64-68 edge. Free throws by Causeur and a three-pointer by Patrick Heckmann kept Bamberg close, 69-70, after 30 minutes. Theis ignited the crowd with back-to-back slams early in the fourth quarter, but Carroll and Trey Thompkins kept Madrid ahead. Carroll followed a bomb from downtown with a wild three-point play for an 80-81 Madrid edge with three minutes left. Carroll hit a jumper and Llull added a rainbow triple for an 82-87 Madrid lead. Theis dunked again and free throws by Strelnieks and Zisis tied it, 87-87, with 17.8 seconds left. Llull and Zisis exchanged free throws, as Madrid got the ball back with 8.9 seconds left. Llull banked in a one-handed floater in the lane and Strelnieks's 20-meter prayer bounced off the back rim, allowing Madrid to celebrate a road win at the end of an incredible basketball game!
Wednesday, January 25, 2017