Real outlasts Monaco after double overtime
Real Madrid outlasted AS Monaco 84-90 in a back and forth double overtime battle on Friday night. Monaco used a 9-0 first quarter run to take early control, and the home team stayed in front until a 1-10 run restored Real’s advantage midway through the second. The visitors led 34-35 at the break and gradually extended that advantage to 9 points in the third period, but Monaco battled back to lead 57-56 at the end of the third with a 10-0 run. The hosts led 66-60 with two minutes left but Real battled back to force overtime, which again couldn’t split the teams until Real finally controlled the second extra period. Guerschon Yabusele powered Real with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Vincent Poirier also had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Thomas Heurtel orchestrated the offense with 10 points and 9 assists. Monaco's Dwayne Bacon and Alpha Diallo led the scoring with 19 points apiece. Danilo Andjusic added 14 points, while Donatas Motiejunas had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Real has now won seven straight and sits top of the standings with an 18-3 record, while Monaco remains just outside the playoffs places at 10-12.
Walter Tavares from inside and Jeffery Taylor from deep gave Real a fast start, but Monaco soon responded as Mike James and Motiejunas scored inside, before a three-point play from Motiejunas sent the host ahead, 7-5. Diallo’s free throws completed a 9-0 run before Yabusele finally restarted Real’s offense. Diallo struck from deep but 4 points from Heurtel and a threeball from Alberto Abalde got Real level, 14-14. Andjusic struck a long two to make it 18-16 at the end of the first, and Diallo extended the lead with the first score of the second quarter. Poirier responded with a layup-and-one, but free throws and Bacon’s fastbreak alley-oop kept Monaco ahead, 27-19. Sergio Llull’s back-to-back floater and three-pointer reignited Real, 27-24. Trey Thompkins struck from deep and Llull’s free throws sent Real ahead after a 1-10 run. Motiejunas and Yabusele scored around the basket, Bacon struck a buzzer-beating three and Thompkins’ fastbreak provided the closing points of the first half, making it 34-35.
Bacon scored inside to start the second half by sending Monaco back in front, but three-pointers from Heurtel and Yabusele sent Real in front. Yabusele followed free throws with another triple, and Abalde was also on target from deep for a 41-49 lead. James hit an incredible three-pointer and one, but Heurtel hit another triple to keep Real comfortable. Llull hit a long two for a 47-56 lead, but Andjusic exploded with 8 straight points and Diallo added a dunk to make it 57-56 with ten minutes left. Poirier restored Real’s lead at the start of the fourth, but Diallo forced another lead change and Andjusic’s floater made it 61-58. Poirier produced a fierce putback slam in a low-scoring passage of play, but Bacon’s layup-and-one kept Monaco ahead, and he added a layup for a 66-60 lead with two minutes left. Yabusele gave Real hope with a threeball, and Fernandez fired another to tie it, 66-66, inside the last minute. After a couple of misses Monaco had the last possession and Bacon pulled up for a three-point strike which hit the rim, forcing overtime.
Andjusic split free throws to start the extra period before Tavares made both his, and Yabusele made a long two for a 67-70 lead. Will Thomas responded with a jumper and Diallo sent Monaco ahead, 71-70, with a big slam. James scored in transition off a steal and Diallo converted an offensive rebound to make it 75-70 with a minute left. A three-point play from Poirier gave Real hope, and Tavares forced home a putback for 75-75. Again, Monaco had a play to win it but James couldn’t get a shot away. Fernandez hit a triple early in the second overtime, and Gabriel Deck’s free throws made it 77-80. Diallo tied it up with a triple, but Deck sliced through for another Real lead and Taylor added a three-pointer for a 80-85 lead. James split free throws, and Deck sealed the win with a three-point play inside the final minute.
Yabusele and Poirier dominate inside
Real ran into early trouble when key man Walter Tavares picked up 2 fouls in less than 4 minutes, forcing him to the bench. Tavares did not play again for the rest of the first half, but Real was able to cope without him thanks to excellent performances from fellow big men Vincent Poirier and Guerschon Yabusele, both of whom grabbed double-doubles and combined for a total of 28 points and 24 rebounds. Their contribution allowed Real to win the rebounding battle 57-40, and for once ensured the league leader could claim a tough win without needing a decisive contribution from Tavares.
Monaco fails to take its chances
Monaco will kick themselves for failing to win this game, having led by 6 points with just two minutes remaining, by 5 points with a minute of the first overtime remaining, and having the last possession both at the end of regulation and the end of the first overtime. But the men from the principality just couldn’t find offense when it mattered the most. A glaring symbol of Monaco’s problems was star guard Mike James, who scored 11 points but made just 3 of his 19 attempts from the field.
Real survives stop-start offense
This was a strange game which saw the visiting team escape with a win despite suffering several phases of the game when scoring was a big problem. After making a fast start by grabbing 5 points on its first two possessions, Real then failed to score again for more than 5 minutes, missing 3 shots and committing no less than 7 turnovers. The visitors suffered a similar slow spell at the start of the second quarter, scoring only one basket over a span of nearly 5 minutes. And another dry run bridged the end of the third and the majority of the fourth, with Real scoring just 4 points in nearly 11 minutes as Monaco got itself into a position to win the game, but then couldn’t hold on.
Friday, January 28, 2022