Madrid fends off ASVEL, continues win streak
Real Madrid returned to joint first place by picking up a strong 77-87 victory at LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne. Trey Thompkins scored 20 points with 7 rebounds and Jordan Mickey added 18 points and 7 rebounds for Real, which has now collected 12 straight wins for a 14-3 record. Rudy Fernandez chipped in 18 points with 5 three-pointers while Nicolas Laprovittola had 12 points and Fabien Causeur scored 11 points in the win. Real was missing some major names, playing without Anthony Randolph, Gabriel Deck, Jaycee Carroll, Sergio Llull and Felipe Reyes, but led nearly all the way. ASVEL was paced by Charles Kahudi with 18 points, while Rihards Lomazs and Livio Jean-Charles both scored 10 points. But they were not enough for ASVEL, which dropped to 8-9, including just its third loss in 10 games at the Astroballe.
Kahudi’s free throws started the scoring while Thompkins’ three-point play got Madrid on the board. Jordan Taylor knocked down a trey for the hosts but Thompkins added a three-pointer and two more baskets as Real opened a 11-14 lead. ASVEL got a triple from Kahudi for an 18-14 lead but Mickey answered with four straight free throws as well as a block then a layup in a 0-9 surge, before Adreian Payne’s three made it 21-23 after 10 minutes. Lomasz and Thompkins swapped three-pointers to start the second period and after two turnovers and two missed free throws for ASVEL, Fernandez knocked down a pair of three-balls and a long jumper as the guests moved ahead 28-36. Tonye Jekiri was rejected by Salah Mejri but Theo Maledon and Taylor scored over the Real big man to close within 34-38. Madrid got three straight three-balls from Fernandez, Thompkins and Laprovittola, with the latter making it a four-point play for a 37-52 advantage at the break. Jekiri and Edy Tavares both had two baskets early in the second half, with Tavares’ second being a dunk for a 41-58 cushion. Kahudi responded with back-to-back triples as ASVEL closed to within 49-58, but Real punched right back with its next weapon as Causeur had 7 points including a triple in a 0-11 run over more than 3 minutes for a 49-69 margin. ASVEL would not go down without a fight as Payne nailed back-to-back treys to close the quarter on a 10-3 spurt, making it 59-72 after 30 minutes. ASVEL did not score in the first 3 minutes of the final frame and Laprovittola increased the gap to 59-75. Mickey added a three-point play and the bulge was 61-79 with 6 minutes to play. ASVEL had one more fightback left with Lomasz draining two long-balls, and Taylor’s free throw pulled the home side within 70-81 with under 4 minutes to play. But Thompkins continued his strong game and Tavares had two blocks and a basket to finish off any comeback attempt.
Season highs all-around
It was a game for season highs for Real Madrid players. Trey Thompkins’ 20 points topped his previous best of 14 while Jordan Mickey’s top showing this season was 16 points before he had 18 points in this game. Rudy Fernandez came into the game with a season best of 13 before his 18 points and Nicolas Laprovittola’s 12 points topped his previous high of 8 points.
No luck in replacing Mitrovic
T.J. Parker was serving as head coach of ASVEL as Zvezdan Mitrovic unable to attend the game due to illness. But the brother of club president Tony Parker could not lead ASVEL to a win over Real in the Spanish giant’s first game in Villeurbanne since 2003.
ASVEL could not find a rhythm on offense, hitting just 34.0 percent of its two-point shots though the home side turned it over just nine times. Real, meanwhile, connected on 58.8 percent from two-point range.
ASVEL finishes off a four-game stretch of home games as it will host Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade on January 10. Madrid finally returns home after three consecutive road games when it welcomes Zalgiris Kaunas on January 9.
Friday, January 3, 2020