Real Madrid steamrolled Maccabi 88-64
Real Madrid became the exclusive leader atop the Group C standings by downing Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv 88-64 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid improved to 6-3 to climb to first place and became the top candidate to win Group C. Maccabi dropped to 5-3 and now ties for second place with its next opponent, Anadolu Efes. Nikola Mirotic paced the winners with 26 points - a new Euroleague career-best. Jaycee Carroll added 17 while Marty Pocius had 12 for Madrid. Keith Langford led Maccabi with 17 points. Lior Eliyahu added 11 while Richard Hendrix had 10 for the guests. Mirotic had 12 points in the first quarter to give Madrid a 22-15 lead after 10 minutes. Mirotic stayed unstoppable early in the second quarter to boost Madrid's margin to 37-25. Langford and Lior Eliyahu fueled a 2-13 run that brought Maccabi within 39-38. Sergio Rodriguez and Pocius made Madrid get a 48-40 halftime edge. Madrid improved its defense after the break and boosted its margin to 66-51 after 30 minutes. An outstanding Carroll soon made it a 21-point game, 74-53, enough for Madrid to control the game until the final buzzer.
Sergio Llull got Real Madrid going with a three-pointer from the left wing but Eliyahu hit his trademark one-handed jumper in the lane for a 3-2 score. Mirotic answered from downtown but Sofoklis Schortsanitis erased that with a layup-plus-foul. Llull kept pacing Madrid with a close basket but Langford copied him in the other end. Maccabi kept running its offense through Schortsanitis to take the hosts' big men into foul troubles. Carlos Suarez stepped up with a fast break dunk and a driving layup by Llull boosted Madrid's lead to 12-8. Langford scored in penetration that Mirotic bettered with his second shot from beyond the arc. Theo Papaloukas made free throws but Mirotic and Felipe Reyes kept Madrid way ahead, 19-12. An unstoppable Mirotic took over with an electric driving layup but Schortsanitis came off the bench and brought Maccabi within 21-15. A free throw by Mirotic fixed the score at 22-15 after 10 minutes.
Schortsanitis split free throws early in the second quarter and Hendrix bettered Mirotic's big basket in the low post with a three-point play for a 24-19 Maccabi deficit. Mirotic - who else? - downed a long shot and improved Devin Smith's jumper with a bomb from downtown, good for a 29-21 Maccabi lead. Hendrix stepped up with a put-back layup that Reyes matched in the other end. Pocius set the crowd on fire with a big triple that made it a double-digit game, 34-23. Hendrix scored again but a red hot Mirotic hit another three-pointer. Langford tried to change things with a layup-plus-foul and erased Reyes' put-back basket with free throws. Back-to-back layups by Eliyahu and a wild dunk by Shawn James soon brought Maccabi within 39-38, after a 2-13 run. Rodriguez hit a six-meter shot and Pocius added a fast break layup to give Madrid some fresh air at 43-38. Langford provided a highlight with a big slam but free throws by Pocius and a seven-meter bomb by Rodriguez boosted Madrid's lead to 48-40 at halftime.
Suarez fired in a three-pointer right after the break to restore a double-digit Madrid lead, 51-40. Maccabi went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Schortsanitis dunked it. Mirotic beat the buzzer with a big dunk in traffic, as Schortsanitis headed back to the bench with 3 fouls. Smith buried a big triple but free throws by Llull kept Madrid way ahead, 55-44. The hosts were all over the place in defense, playing with great aggressivity. Mirotic sank free throws and a fast break layup by Carroll made it a 15-point game, 59-44, after a 6-0 run. Langford nailed a five-meter jumper that Ante Tomic improved with a three-point play. Langford stayed on fire with a layup-plus-foul but he didn't find much help around until James stepped up with a put-back basket. Pocius took over with a high-flying backdoor layup to give Madrid a 66-51 margin at the end of the third quarter.
Carroll buried a big triple early in the fourth quarter and soon added a turnaround jumper to make it a 20-point game, 71-51. Hendrix tried to change things with a second-chance basket but Carroll sank a catch-and-shoot triple that set the crowd on fire, 74-53. Guy Pnini struck from downtown off a timeout but free throws by Reyes and yet another three-pointer by Carroll sealed the outcome, 79-56, with over 6 minutes to go. Both teams kept fighting for points differential, a critical issue in such a balanced race for first place in this group. Smith and Pocius traded triples and Carroll scored again for a 25-point Madrid margin, 84-59. The hosts kept using long possessions to run the game clock down and Maccabi only rallied a bit once the outcome was clear. By the way time Jorge Sanz banked in an off-balance shot, all Madrid fans were celebrating a big home win!
Thursday, December 8, 2011