Real survives Monaco’s strong rally
Real Madrid had to wait until the last minute to claim a valuable 94-86 victory over AS Monaco at WiZink Center, despite enjoying a 25-point difference early in the second quarter (44-19). Los Blancos had a strong start and dominated 30-12 after 10 minutes, but the visitors used a 2-15 run bridging the second and the third quarters to keep the game alive. Four three-pointers coming from four different players midway through the fourth quarter completed Monaco’s comeback, 81-83, but a key contribution by Guerschon Yabusele and a key triple by Rudy Fernandez saved the day for the home team. Real, which improved to 2-1, was led by Yabusele, who posted 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists for a PIR of 25. Thomas Heurtel followed with 13 points and 7 assists, while Fabien Causeur poured in 12. Mike James led all scorers with 24 points on 6-of-10 three-point shooting, to which he added 10 assists. Donte Hall and Will Thomas accompanied him with 12 and 11 points, respectively, in losing effort. AS Monaco lost its first game of the season and is now 2-1.
Yabusele and Adam Hanga combined for 11 points that put Real in front 11-1 after 4 minutes. Monaco’s urgent timeout stopped the drought for the visitors, as Danilo Andjusic scored a three and a layup off a steal to reduce the gap to 13-6. The reaction didn’t last for long, though, because a quick 12-0 run capped by threes by Hanga and Yabusele dug an even bigger hole for the hosts. The trend didn’t change when both coaches rotated the lineups, as the first period quarter with a clear 30-12 edge for the home team.
Another dagger from downtown by Sergio Llull took the lead into the 20s early in the second quarter. Even though Monaco found some scoring rhythm, its defense was defeated in almost every Real possession. As such, Los Blancos found no trouble increasing the margin to 46-22. But the visitors were not like giving up so early and James showed up to spark a 2-13 run, in which Monaco had 8 free throws That kept the visitors alive, 51-39, at halftime.
More aggressive defense and 4 quick points by Alpha Diallo right after the break allowed Monaco to reduce the disadvantage to single-digits, 52-43. Causeur came to the rescue with back-to-back triples, but the Roca Team found a timely answer by James, who nailed another two of its own, to keep everything open, 60-51, midway through the third. Hall sent two big alley-oop dunks to help James as the difference kept shrinking, 64-57, after 27 minutes. James kept rocking, as his buzzer-beater three closed the quarter with the visitors trailing 72-65.
Walter Tavares and Jeffery Taylor helped the hosts stay calmed and restored a double-digit edge, 79-67. Donatas Motejieunas and Andjusic soon connected from behind the arc, 79-73. Another rocket from Leo Westermann made it even tighter, as Thomas repeated from downtown and followed with a bucket to give Monaco its first lead 81-83, with 3 minutes remaining. Yabusele took over, converting a difficult inside shot and drawing 3 free throws that put Real back in charge, 86-83. A long three by Fernandez entering the last minute followed by consecutive misses from Westermann and James from behind the arc ended up aborting the comeback and saving the day for Real.
Yabusele leads the French troupe
Real Madrid used its French army to find the way to defeat its French League contender AS Monaco. Coach Pablo Laso started with Guerschon Yabusele, Fabien Causeur and Thomas Heurtel, and they combined for 18 of Real’s 30 first-quarter points to help build a comfortable lead in the first quarter. In the end, the four French players of Real provided 51 out of 94 of their team’s final score, with Yabusele leading all of them with 18, followed by Heurtel (13), Causeur (12) and Vincent Poirier (8). In addition to his statistical contribution, Yabusele became the savior for the home team when he showed up to score 5 points in a row that canceled Monaco’s late comeback.
Monaco’s long and crazy rally
Even though the visitors had a start which Coach Zvezdan Mitrovic described as catastrophic, trailing by as many as 25 points (44-19) early in the second quarter against host Real Madrid, AS Monaco never gave up and kept pushing all game long until it managed to turn the game upside down with less than 4 minutes to go (81-83). Mike James was the one that ignited the rally, nailing 6 three-pointers between the second and third quarters, which included a mid-court rocket and a buzzer-beater entering the fourth quarter at 72-65. Four more bombs by Donatas Motiejunas, Danilo Andjusic, Leo Westermann and Will Thomas finished the job and tied it 81-81 later midway through the fourth, completing a long rally that had started 20 minutes earlier.
Real’s almost perfect start
Real Madrid had an impressive offensive start, showing incredible shooting accuracy against AS Monaco. It went for an almost perfect stat line in the first quarter, which it finished with 7-of-7 shooting on two-pointers, 7-of-7 on free throws and 4-of-8 from behind the arc. It was good enough to win it with a comfortable margin, 30-12, which seemed to be too much for Monaco. It wasn’t, though, as the visitors dominated the second and third quarters (21-27 and 21-26, respectively) to get back to the game. Real didn’t panic and managed to stay calm and win again the last quarter, 22-21, thanks to a late 13-3 run in the last 4 minutes.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021