Real Madrid downs Efes for first place in Group A
In a do-or-die battle for first place in Group A, Real Madrid downed Anadolu Efes Istanbul 90-70 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid finished first with an 8-2 record and Efes second at 6-4. Ioannis Bourousis led six Madrid scorers in double digits with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Rudy Fernandez added 17 points, Felipe Reyes had 12 while K.C. Rivers, Gustavo Ayon and Jaycee Carroll each got 10 for Los Blancos. Dario Saric led Efes with a great all-around game - 11 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists. Stratos Perperoglou also had 11 points while Matt Janning and Deniz Kilicli each added 10 for the guests. Perperoglou shined early, but Bourousis and Fernandez combined for 19 first-quarter points and back-to-back baskets by Reyes allowed Madrid to tie the game at 25-25 after 10 minutes. Efes found a go-to guy in Kilicli, who had 10 points in the second quarter. He got help from Saric - 8 points, 7 assists before halftime - but Reyes and Rivers led Madrid to a 47-43 edge at halftime. A three-pointer by Janning gave Efes its last lead, 56-57. Carroll and a big alley-oop slam from Ayon pushed Madrid to get a 69-61 margin through three quarters. A jumper by Andres Nocioni capped a 17-1 run that sealed the outcome, 77-61, as Efes never recovered.
First quarter: A run-and-gun show!
Bourousis got Efes going with a jump hook, which Perperoglou bettered with a three-point play. Bourousis kept pacing Madrid with a layup. Perperoglou made free throws and an off-balance jumper by Fernandez gave Madrid a 6-5 lead. Perperoglou struck from downtown and a big dunk by Stephane Lasme gave Efes a 6-10 margin. Fernandez stepped up with a fast break layup, before Janning struck from downtown. Bourousis finished a three-chance Madrid offense with a layup-plus-foul to make it 11-13. Milko Bjelica hit a six-meter jumper. Fernandez made free throws and a corner triple by Saric boosted the guests' lead to 13-18. Fernandez insisted with more foul shots and a layup by Bourousis kept Madrid within 17-19. Fernandez fed Bourousis for a slam. Bjelica scored again, but Andres Nocioni tied it at 21-21. Bjelica beat the hosts' zone defense with back-to-back layups, but Reyes answered with consecutive baskets for a 25-25 tie after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rivers, Kilicli are the X-factors
Donnie McGrath hit a six-meter jumper early in the quarter, but back-to-back baskets by K.C. Rivers put Madrid back ahead, 29-27. Llull found space with an uncontested layup, which Gustavo Ayon followed with a close basket for a 33-27 Madrid margin, after an 8-0 run. Deniz Kilicli hit a one-handed floater in the lane and added a jump hook to keep Efes within 33-31. Ayon made free throws and matched Cedi Osman's floater with a layup, good for a 37-33 Madrid edge. Kilicli dunked and erased Reyes's reverse layup with another close basket. Reyes kept pacing Madrid with another layup, as Efes kept running its offense through an unstoppable Kilicli. Rivers nailed a three-pointer to give Los Blancos a 44-39 margin. Saric shined with a power layup and a huge fast break basket, but another triple by Rivers boosted Madrid's lead to 47-43 at halftime.
Third quarter: Late run puts Madrid ahead
Janning nailed a six-meter jumper immediately after the break and free throws by Osman tied it at 47-47. A five-meter baseline jumper by Lasme capped a 0-6 run that put Efes back ahead, 47-49. Llull scored in penetration, but Perperoglou, now playing power forward, did better with a three-point play. Fernandez banked in a running shot and soon added a three-pointer to restore a 54-52 Madrid margin. Janning swished a mid-range jumper and bettered Reyes's basket with a three-pointer for a 56-57 edge. Fernandez fired in a catch-and-shoot triple, which caused Efes to call timeout at 60-57. Furkan Korkmaz answered from downtown, but so did Jaycee Carroll for a 63-60 Madrid edge. Ayon scored down low and a fast break layup by Carroll made it a 7-point game. Bjelica split free throws and a one-handed alley-oop slam by Ayon fixed the score at 69-61.
Fourth quarter: Madrid takes off early, finishes first
Bourousis made free throws early in the quarter and soon added a one-handed slam for a 73-61 Madrid margin. Carroll took over with an off-balance layup and Nocioni capped a game-breaking 17-1 with a four-meter jumper. Lasme scored around the basket and a three-pointer by Carroll boosted the hosts' lead to 80-63. Korkmaz buried his second three-pointer, as Madrid tried to use longer possessions to run the game clock down. Facu Campazzo found Reyes for a layup and even though Coach Dusan Ivkovic tried to change things by bringing Kilicli back on court, it was already too little, too late for the guests. Campazzo stepped up with a layup and a driving basket by Llull made it a 20-point game. Everything was said and done already, as the Madrid fans had plenty of time to celebrate their team clinching first place in difficult Group A.
Thursday, December 18, 2014