Real takes Tel Aviv to end streaks
Real Madrid ended a three-game losing streak on the toughest home court in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this season, downing host Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv by 77-81 at Menora Mivtachim Arena on Thursday. Besides becoming the first team in nine to win in Tel Aviv, Madrid raised its record to 16-6, maintaining a tie for second place. It also secured a tiebreak with its second win this season over fifth-place Maccabi, whose record fell to 14-8. Anthony Randolph returned from injury to lead Madrid with 19 points. Trey Thompkins came off the bench for 12, matching Fabien Causeur, while Facundo Campazzo and Walter Tavares downed 11 each. Maccabi got 21 points from Scottie Wilbekin, but otherwise spread the wealth, with five others scoring between 7 and 9. Maccabi had led by as many as 8 points, 36-28, midway through the second quarter, but couldn't ultimately convert an 11-5 advantage on three-pointers into victory.
Wilbekin hit 2 triples and Elijah Bryant another to offset 5 early points by Randolph. Angelo Caloiaro and Randolph downed put-backs as Maccabi held an 11-10 lead. Randolph went back to the arc to and Causeur rattled off 6 points in taking the guests ahead 19-21 after 10 minutes. Aaron Jackson's bank shot, Deni Avdija and Tyler Dorsey's free throws and Quincy Acy's put-back put Maccabi back in front 27-21 to start the second quarter. Trey Thompkins broke Maccabi's 10-0 run, but the teenager Avdija and Jalen Reynolds answered to make it 31-23. Jeffery Taylor hit a triple and a reverse to revive Real and Thompkins drew the visitors closer before Amar'e Stoudamire's first EuroLeague basket left Maccabi ahead 38-36 at halftime. Driving baskets by Facundo Campazzo and Causeur put Real back in front to start the second half. A pair of jumpers by Acy let Maccabi tie, but his unsportsmanlike foul led to a four-point Real possession as Campazzo fed Causeur twice for layups at 42-48. Tavares blocked Hunter twice but the Maccabi player got a fastbreak dunk over his nemesis. Nonetheless, Madrid seized a double-digit lead, 44-54. It took Wilbekin's 5 free throws in a couple of minutes to get Maccabi within 49-57 after 30 minutes. Wilbekin and Jake Cohen shared 3 triples to suddenly make it 58-59 early in the fourth quarter. Tavares and Thompkins steadied Real before Llull converted a three-point play at 58-66. Wilbekin soon buried another shot from deep, then Hunter's steal and assist to Acy for a corner three made it 66-68 with 3 minutes left. Campazzo's second-chance triple with 80 seconds left and his driving layup put Madrid up 69-76 entering the final minute. Dorsey came out of nowhere to down triples with 25 and 17 seconds left, however, making it 75-77, although Campazzo and Thompkins sealed the deal with 4 perfect free throws after that.
Both teams paid their respects to the late Kobe Bryant by taking a 24-second violation, in Maccabi's case, and an 8-second half-court violation, in Madrid's, to start the game. Bryant wore 24 and 8 as his uniform numbers during an illustrious career. Maccabi wore warmup shirts with Bryant's name and numbers, as well. One player who faced him in the NBA, new Maccabi signing Amar'e Stoudamire, decorated his playing shoes for his first EuroLeague game to honor Bryant's memory.
Walter Tavares was all over a 11-21 third quarter that gave Real control of what had been a close game until then. He had 5 blocks for the third time this season, but 3 of them came in a span of 3 minutes 24 seconds late in the third quarter, putting Maccabi on its heels. He ended up playing more than 19 minutes of the second half for a career-high 31:48. He scored 9 of his 11 points and had 8 of his 10 rebounds after the break, finishing with a PIR of 17.
Real's leading scorer, Anthony Randolph, returned with all pistons pumping from a five-game injury layoff. He scored 13 of his 19 points in the first quarter. He finished having made 3 of 3 two-pointers, 3 of 6 threes and 4 of 5 free throws to go with 7 rebounds for a PIR of 23. Real fans were no doubt happy to see him back.
Real's 8 blocks as a team were tied a EuroLeague season high and was the club's best total in almost six years, since the overtime championship game in 2014 -- which it lost to Maccabi. Curiously, four of Real's top five games ever in blocks are against Maccabi, the other two coming in the 2012-13 playoffs. On Thursday, what stood out was not only that Real had 8 blocks, but that Maccabi had none.
Real returns home to start the February double-round week by hosting KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz next Tuesday in Round 23. Maccabi stays home to face Khimki Moscow Region.
Thursday, January 30, 2020