Thompkins, Fernandez help Real hold off Zalgiris
Real Madrid made it a club record 13 consecutive victories in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by holding off Zalgiris Kaunas, 88-82, at the WiZink Center on Thursday night. Rudy Fernandez scored 17 points in the second quarter to give his team a half-time lead, and the home team maintained its advantage after the break despite strong resistance from Zalgiris. Trey Thompkins paced the winners with 20 points on 4-of-5 three-pointers, while playmaker Facundo Campazzo combined 12 points and 8 assists while Fernandez finished with 17 points, all in the second quarter. Big men Jordan Mickey (13) and Walter Tavares (10) also scored in double figures for Real. Lukas Lekavicius netted 21 for Zalgiris, all but 3 of those coming in the first half. Thomas Walkup added 19 points, KC Rivers scored 12 against his former club and Jock Landale added 11. Real remains top of the standings at 15-3, and Zalgiris drops to 5-13.
Edgaras Ulanovas gave Zalgiris an early edge from deep, but a dunk and a three-pointer from Mickey kept Real close. Campazzo and Walkup traded triples before Thompkins gave Real its first lead, 12-11, and Zalgiris was never in front again. Thompkins and Nigel Hayes joined the long-range shooting party before a three-point play from Mickey made it 18-16. Lekavicius penetrated to tie the game, but Tavares made it 20-18 at the end of the first. Tavares netted twice at the start of the second for a 24-18 lead, before Lekavicius and Fernandez both scored twice. Jeffery Taylor and Landale dunked before Fernandez stroked his third and fourth triples for a double-digit lead, 38-27. The red-hot Fernandez continued his sparkling second quarter with a steal and slam, but Lekavicius also stayed hot with 5 quick points, pulling it back to 42-35. Fernandez made his fifth triple of the quarter, answered by Lekavicius again, and it was 47-41 at the break. Campazzo and Tavares were both on target twice early in the second half, but triples from Arturas Milaknis, Rivers and Walkup kept Zalgiris within single digits. Thompkins and Fabien Causeur were also on target from deep, but so was Walkup again and the third quarter finished 68-59. Mickey scored twice from close-range early in the fourth to protect Real’s lead, but Rivers and Paulius Jankunas netted three-pointers to keep Zalgiris alive, 73-67. Thompkins made a triple and free throws for an 80-69 lead, and another Thompkins deep shot effectively sealed the deal as Zalgiris went 4 minutes without scoring. Hayes and Lekavicius ended the drought with three-pointers, but it was too late as Real closed out the game.
Shooting accuracy boosts Real
Real posted impressive shooting percentages, making 18-of-27 two-point attempts (66.7%), 13-of-26 from long-range (50%) and 13-of-14 from the free throw line – the only missed foul shot coming from Fabien Causeur inside the last minute.
Jankunas falls short of rebounding mark
Paulius Jankunas was unable to surpass Real Madrid’s Felipe Reyes as the league’s all-time leading rebounder. The Zalgiris big man came into the game four boards behind Reyes – who was in the Real roster but did not play – in the all-time charts, but he played just 11:14 and grabbed only 2 boards to stay two short of the 1,782 magic mark.
Landale donating to bushfire fund
The game featured 26 three-pointers (13 from each team) and 7 dunks, meaning that Zalgiris center Jock Landale will donate 3,300 Australian dollars – 100 for each – to the fundraising efforts to battle the bushfires that have ravaged his native Australia.
Next week’s double round will see Real start off with a mouth-watering trip to CSKA Moscow in a rematch of last season’s semi-final on Tuesday, while Zalgiris stays on the road to visit Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on Wednesday.
Thursday, January 9, 2020