Real Madrid clinched top spot in Group B with win in Milan
Real Madrid remained perfect in Group B after escaping from a sold-out Mediolanum Forum with a 71-78 win over EA7 Emporio Armani Milan. Madrid clinched first place in the group after improving to 8-0, while EA7 Milan dropped to 4-4 and will play next week a crucial game at home against Brose Baskets Bamberg. Real Madrid used 5 three pointers, two apiece from Jaycee Carroll and Sergio Rodriguez, to highlight a 19-4 run to break the balance in the second quarter and take a 23-42 lead. Rudy Fernandez paced the winners with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists, Sergio Rodriguez added 10 points and Salah Mejri scored 10 with 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Alessandro Gentile tallied 14 points for Emporio Armani, while CJ Wallace and Gani Lawal netted 10 each.
First quarter: Despite Madrid’s strong shooting, Milan keeps close
Curtis Jerrells opened fire from downtown before Rudy scored for the visitors. After a short jumper by Gentile, back-to-back three-pointers by Tremmel Darden put Madrid in front 5-9. Wallace tied the game at 9-9 by knocking down a three in transition. Jerrells beats the 24-second buzzer for an 11-9 advantage. Nikola Mirotic tied the game from the corner. A free throw from Fernandez and a steal with easy layup from Sergio Llull made it 11-15 for the visitors. David Chiotti scored in the paint, before Mirotic and Langford posted free throws. Then Rodriguez with a rainbow shot gave the largest margin, 14-21, to the guests. Llull’s mid-range jumper and a bank shot from downtown by Nicolo Melli over the buzzer fixed the score at 19-23 at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Carroll, Rodriguez fuel 2-14 Madrid run
Rodriguez made a jumper against Milan’s zone defense. Chiotti answered with a jump hook, but Carroll, Rudy and Carroll again from long distance enlarged the margin to 21-34. Rodriguez capped a 2-14 run with another rocket from downtown to make it 21-27. Gentile ended Milan’s drought, but missed the additional free throw, and immediately Marcus Slaughter converted a huge alley-oop dunk before Rodriguez added another three for a 23-42 lead with four minutes left. Melli ignited his team and the crowd with a huge two-handed dunk and Keith Langford scored a pair from the foul line, but Mirotic showed all his versatility by scoring in the paint, 27-44. Gentile, Carroll and Wallace scored free throws. Jerrells hit two consecutive layups and Rudy finished with an easy basket for a 34-48 halftime score.
Third quarter: Mejri steps up to keep Los Blancos in control
Melli drained a baby-hook to open the third quarter. Salah Mejri answered in the paint with the same shot. Gani Lawal scored a layup and after a dunk from Mejri, his slam made it 40-54. The Tunisian big man was uncontested and scored again in the paint twice for an 18-point advantage for Madrid. Langford kept Emporio Armani in chase from the foul line before Llull dished a no-look pass to Mejri for easy points. Gentile’s steal and dunk and Chiotti’s layup pushed the home team within 46-60. Rudy rejected EA7 with a triple for a 46-63 lead.
Fourth quarter: Milan trims deficit, but not enough to threaten visitors
A Gentile three-pointer closed the gap to 50-63, however Rudy completed a three-point-play. Chiotti scored again close to the basket, which was copied few seconds later by Felipe Reyes, 52-68. A short jumper by Jerrells then a three-point-play by Lawal made it 57-70. Reyes made another jumper, then Lawal’s put back and Gentile’s penetration kept the hosts alive on 61-72. Mirotic posted free throws. Wallace stole a ball to score easily, but Dontaye Draper, assisted by Llull, and Reyes from the foul line maintained safe margin for the visitors. Wallace and David Moss scored back-to-back triples to finish the game at 71-78.
Thursday, December 5, 2013