Madrid uses late run, Rodriguez free throws, to edge Efes
Real Madrid rallied from a 17-point third-quarter deficit and a 7-point hole with 2:18 to go to defeat Anadolu Efes Istanbul 90-85 on Friday night at Barclaycard Center and take a 2-0 lead in the teams’ best of five playoffs series. Madrid can record its third straight trip to the Turkkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four with a win in Game 3 – or, if necessary, Game 4 – in Istanbul next week. Sergio Llull starred for Madrid with 18 points and a career-high 12 assists, while reigning Euroleague MVP scored all of his 11 points in the final three minutes. Madrid overcame a historic performance from Efes playmaker Thomas Heurtel, who amassed 16 points and set a Euroleague playoffs record with 15 assists. The previous mark was 13, which was set by Theo Papaloukas for Olympiacos against Real Madrid in 2009. The game was a highly entertaining contest that featured numerous runs. Madrid took control early with a 9-0 charge. Efes responded with 14 unanswered points and led 37-45 at halftime. The visitors pushed the difference to 17 in the third quarter, but Madrid rallied to finish the quarter down 3. After Madrid took the lead, Heurtel had 3 assists in a 0-7 push that put Efes up 7. It was 75-82 with a little more than two minutes to go, but Madrid scored the next 11 points to take control and Rodriguez iced the game from the line. Rudy Fernandez added 15 points and 7 assists for the winners, K.C. Rivers scored and Andres Nocioni added 10. Nenad Krstic led the Efes attack with 23 points, Cedi Osman scored 12, Dario Saric added 11 points and 9 rebounds and Stratos Perperoglou also scored 11.
First quarter: Rudy scores 11 as Madrid takes charge
Milko Bjelica opened the scoring for the guests. Rudy grabbed a loose ball under the basket and turned it into a three-point play to get the hosts going. Gustavo Ayon floated a pass to Rivers for a layup and Rudy finished a fast break with a layup. The run reached 9 straight points as Llull assisted Rivers for a layup. Heurtel fed Stephane Lasme as Efes made it 9-4. Rudy tacked on 2 more free throws and drew Lasme’s second foul, which sent the 2013 Euroleague Best Defender to the bench. However Efes forced a 24-second violation and Saric put back his own miss to make it 11-6 midway through the quarter. Saric and Heurtel drew the visitors within 2 with free throws. Llull protected Madrid’s lead with a foul-line jumper and Rudy reached 10 points with a three from the elbow. Rudy split free throws as the difference grew to 8. Heurtel countered with 2 free throws, but Jaycee Carroll bettered him with a three-pointer. Madrid brought the crowd to its feet as Ayon rejected Krstic at one end and Llull finished the break at the other with a tremendous slam that made it 22-11. Efes did not fade away, however, as Krstic netted a mid-range jumper and Osman a triple to make it 22-16.
Second quarter: Efes pours in 29 to take promising lead
Krstic made a pair of free throws and Draper added a fast break layup. Saric scored after collecting an offensive rebound to tie the score at 22-22. Dontaye Draper split free throws to give Efes the lead and Heurtel found Krstic inside for a dunk to cap a 0-14 Efes run. Marcus Slaughter ended Madrid’s drought, but Krstic answered with free throws to make it 24-27 midway through the quarter. Heurtel drilled a pull-up three for Efes’s and Stratos Perperoglou drove past the Madrid defense for a layup. A Krstic jumper put Efes up 25-34. Rudy made free throws, but Heurtel sank another triple to establish a 10-point lead. Llull answered from downtown, but Krstic threw down a monster slam on Rudy and made the resulting free throw to give Efes a 30-40 advantage. After Rivers netted a three, Perperoglou made a jump shot. But Rivers then added a pair of free throws and a layup to draw the hosts within 6. Saric turned another offensive rebound into free throws to make it 37-45 at the break.
Third quarter: After Efes goes up 17, Madrid rallies
Ayon scored the first basket of the second. Osman scored for Efes. Heurtel got a lucky bounce on his floater to reestablish a 10-point cushion. After Llull and Saric traded threes, Krstic pushed the Efes advantage to 42-53 from the line. Andres Nocioni scored a reverse layup, but Osman made a layup at the other end. Efes’s lead continued to grow on a Krstic jumper. Llull split free throws before an Osman triple made it a 15-point game. Barclaycard Center was silent as Osman drove the baseline for a 45-62 advantage. Llull found Nocioni for a layup and the forward added free throws on the next possession. Felipe Reyes scored his first point for Madrid from the line. Nocioni scored again and Llull split free throws. Madrid’s press frustrated the visitors. Reyes got back to the line and made 2 free throws. Efes used a timeout, but Madrid took its run to 12-0 with a Llull layup. Krstic split free throws, but Carroll drilled a three at the other end. Perperoglou responded from downtown, but Llull topped them all by banking in a three at the buzzer to make it 63-66.
Fourth quarter: Madrid uses late 11-0 run, Rodriguez free throws to survive
Heurtel split free throws before Llull spotted Ayon for a slam. Rivers drilled a three that gave Madrid its first lead of the half, 68-67. Ayon was called for a technical for flopping and Perperoglou tied the game with the resulting free throw. Heurtel recorded his 13th assist as Krstic powered his way to a layup. The same duo got together for another layup and a then Heurtel fed Perperoglou for a triple and a 68-75 lead. After a timeout, Nocioni dunked on Saric. However Heurtel drilled a three. Ayon and Llull combined for 3 free throws. Krstic scored twice from the line to make it 73-80. Rudy and Sergio Rodriguez each split free throws for Madrid. Draper scored a short jumper and Ayon countered with a floater. Rudy hit a big three with 90 seconds to go that made it a 2-point game. Llull then found Reyes wide-open for a go-ahead three that made it 83-82 with 43 seconds remaining. A critical Perperoglou turnover led to an intentional foul called on Draper. Rodriguez made 2 free throws with 21.1 seconds to go and 1 more less than 2 seconds later. Matt Janning scored his first points of the night with a three to make it 86-85 with 13.9 seconds remaining. Rodriguez made 2 free throws and Madrid sent Janning to the line with 8.7 seconds to go. He missed both and Rodriguez iced the game with 2 free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining.
Friday, April 17, 2015