Real Madrid rolls over Union Olimpija to top Group A
Real Madrid ran rampant on Thursday night at the Palacio de Los Deportes, sweeping aside Union Olimpija Ljubljana 91-60 in the final game of the regular season to claim first place in Group A. Jaycee Carroll was the standout scorer for Madrid with 17 points, in a contest that saw the regular starters for the Whites play limited minutes. Sergio Llull finished with 14 points and 6 assists and Nikola Mirotic and Mirza Begic added 11 each. Already eliminated from the Top 16 qualification spots, Olimpija was playing for pride in one of its toughest road games of the year, but could do nothing to stop the hosts. Aron Baynes, whose night was tapered by foul trouble early on, tallied 13 points and 8 rebounds and Dino Muric added 11 points in defeat.
First quarter: Nifty passing, teamwork gives hosts early edge
The opening minutes of the game were all about movement inside, started off by Baynes and his quick basket. A forceful dunk from Real Madrid's Rafael Hettsheimer, who made his first start, brought the crowd to life, and they were treated to a great teamwork basket a minute later when Llull dished to Mirotic inside. Madrid and Mirotic kept drawing fouls under the basket and from the resulting free throw went 9-6 ahead. Madrid's passing game allowed it to find the best options close to the hoop, where Olimpija was missing its star center Baynes after he was rested for committing a second foul. Madrid's consistent inside offense overpowered Olimpija and took it 17-10 ahead. Carroll showed that the home side was able to hit from outside as well, sinking the first three-pointer of the game. Jaka Blazic responded with a clean triple of his own for Olimpija, setting the score at 22-15 to end the first quarter.
Second quarter: Madrid extends the advantage as Olimpija relies on Baynes
Madrid forced Olimpija outside at the start of the second quarter, where the visitors couldn't hit their forced attempts from downtown. Instead, it was Real Madrid who hit from beyond the arc through Llull, causing Olimpija Coach Saso Filipovski to call a timeout. Llull struck again immediately after on a fast break, then hit another triple to put the Whites 32-17 on top. Olimpija saw fit to bring Baynes back into the game, but his picking up a third foul almost immediately created further problems. Madrid moved 40-24 in front by the time a second timeout was called. Dontaye Draper made it a 20-point game with his third three-pointer of the season. There was a frenetic period of turnovers for both sides, but Madrid calmed things down with Carlos Suarez' triple. Olimpija relied on Baynes's rebounds and points, and his contribution of 8 points from limited time on the floor was one of few bright spots. Madrid's exhibition saw it go into halftime up 48-27.
Third quarter: Showtime quarter for Los Blancos
Madrid used double point guards with Llull and Sergio Rodriguez on the floor to start the third quarter, and the duo provided inside passes for easy baskets right away. Rodriguez started and finished one of the plays of the game that led to a three-pointer from down low, putting Madrid 55-27 up and in showtime mode. Olimpija was held three minutes without a basket and, when it finally ended the drought, Carroll popped a triple in response and Llull sent in back-to-back alley-oops from Rodriguez and Mirotic passes. 66-35 up, Madrid was turning the game into a masterclass in scoring. Olimpija's response was 8 points without a response, finally interrupted by Carroll's two before the buzzer. Olimpija had the final say in the third quarter, hitting a three-pointer through Jan Mocnik to make it 68-46.
Fourth quarter: Madrid takes the advantage to 35
Carroll continued to hit triples at will in the fourth quarter, he put in his 15th points of the night with his side comfortably in front. Olimpija occasionally cut the lead, but Madrid had too much for the visitor. Draper, Begic and Felipe Reyes' points enabled a huge 35-point lead, 85-50 to Madrid. Olimpija again scored 8 unanswered points before the end, but fittingly Madrid would have the final word: Guillermo Hernangomez drove to the basket in the final seconds to put in the 2 points that took his team past the 90-point mark and sent the fans home delighted with a 91-60 triumph.
Thursday, December 13, 2012