Real flexes muscles to brush aside ALBA
Real Madrid showed its class in claiming a 74-89 victory over ALBA Berlin in the German capital on Thursday. Real took control in the first half, holding several double-digit leads after making a 0-8 run early in the second quarter. ALBA cut the margin to 6 points in the third quarter but Real soon raced away again, sealing the outcome long before the final buzzer. Thomas Heurtel led the winning team with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while Vincent Poirier scored 13, Guerschon Yabusele added 12 and Trey Thompkins had 10. ALBA guard Maodo Lo was the game’s leading scorer with 21 points, with Marcus Eriksson and Ben Lammers contributing 10 apiece in defeat. Real improves to 16-3 at the top of the standings after four straight wins, while ALBA is now at 6-12 third from bottom.
Real took early control through Carlos Alocen’s jumper, a dunk from Yabusele and a long two from Poirier, as ALBA failed to score in the first three minutes. Lo got the hosts moving with 5 straight points, before Eriksson’s triple tied it, 8-8, midway through the first. Lo’s transition layup-and-one gave ALBA its first lead and Lammers added a mid-range strike, but Alberto Adalde and Adam Hanga sent the visitors back ahead, 13-14. Anthony Randolph added a corner three and Poirier dunked, before Oscar Da Silva’s slam made it 15-19 after ten minutes. Sergio Llull opened the second quarter scoring before Thompkins and Llull added three-pointers for a 15-27 lead after a 0-8 run. Louis Olinde struck from deep and Eriksson added a four-point play as ALBA tried to respond, but triples from Heurtel and Yabusele kept the lead in double digits, 26-39. Lo tried to rescue ALBA with 7 fast points, but Hanga’s triple and Poirier’s jump hook helped make it 36-48 at halftime.
Olinde’s three-pointer and a three-point play from Eriksson narrowed the gap in a low-scoring start to the second half, but two scores from Yabusele and a putback slam by Poirier kept Real ahead. Two scores from Abalde and a layup-and-one from Poirier made it 52-61, and Heurtel restored a double-digit lead for the visitors. Randolph netted twice to take the game away from ALBA, and Heurtel struck another dagger from deep for a 56-73 lead after three quarters. Christ Koumadje and Jaleen Smith briefly gave ALBA hope at the start of the fourth, but not for long as Thompkins and Heurtel struck three-pointers for a 60-79 lead. ALBA didn’t give up as Luke Sikma orchestrated the offense for Lammers to score twice, and Lo added 4 more points to make it 68-83. But Thompkins and Yabusele settled Real to remove any doubt about the outcome, and the visitors cruised to victory.
Deck and Alocen bolster Real
After recently welcoming back Trey Thompkins and Anthony Randolph from long-term injuries, Real was able to further bolster its roster with the addition of two more players. Young point guard Carlos Alocen returned from injury for the first time since Round 6, scoring the first basket of the game and ending up with 4 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound and 1 steal in 9 minutes on the floor. There was also a debut for Gabriel Deck at the start of his second spell with the club, and the Argentine forward marked the evening by scoring his only points of the game with a minute remaining.
Master overcomes pupil
This was a special occasion for the two coaches, as ALBA’s Israel Gonzalez and Real’s Pablo Laso went head to head for the first time. The relationship between the pair dates back 15 years, when Laso was in the early days of his coaching career at Spanish side Cantabria and had Gonzalez as one of his assistants, even persuading him to leave his job as a sports teacher to follow coaching full-time. Laso missed this season’s meeting between the teams in Madrid due to Covid-19, so this was their first direct duel on the sidelines.
Real dominates the stats sheet
Real dominated ALBA in every aspect of the game, with better shooting percentages in every category: 64.3% from two-point range, 30% for three-pointers and 88.9% from the foul line compared to ALBA’s respective figures of 52.9%, 29.2% and 73.9%. The Spanish team also claimed more rebounds (38 to 34), committed fewer turnovers (9 to 17), grabbed more steals (12 to 5) and blocked more shots (2 to 0). ALBA only equalled the visitors in assists, with 18 each, but was otherwise comprehensively outplayed all over the court.
Thursday, January 20, 2022