Llull, Tavares lead Madrid past Fenerbahce
In a rematch of last season's championship game, Real Madrid sent a message that echoed all around the competition by downing Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul 101-86 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid improved to 19-6 in the standings and remains third, while league-leading Fenerbahce dropped to 21-4. Anthony Randolph led the winners with 21 points, Sergio Llull added 17 and 10 assists, Jaycee Carroll scored 12 points and Edy Tavares had 11 and 3 blocks for Madrid. Kostas Sloukas paced Fenerbahce with 15 points, Marko Guduric and Jan Vesely each added 12 and Nicolo Melli and Ali Muhammed had 11 apiece for the visitors, who led 10-19 early in the game. Randolph and Tavares helped Madrid to a 27-25 lead after 10 minutes. Madrid boosted its margin to 52-45 at halftime and rolled late in the third quarter, led by Llull and Tavares, to get a 77-61 margin after 30 minutes. Fenerbahce never recovered and Madrid celebrated an important win.
Vesely got Fenerbahce going with a dunk and Sloukas followed a layup with a three-pointer for a 2-7 lead. Randolph hit free throws and followed Gabriel Deck's power basket with a layup to make it 8-10. Melli and Randolph traded jumpers, but Vesely scored twice in the paint in a 0-6 run that caused Madrid to call timeout at 10-19. Llull hit a jumper and fed Tavares for a dunk-and-foul in a 0-7 run that Fabien Causeur capped with a fastbreak layup. Vesely hit a mid-range shot, but Randolph buried a three-pointer and a floater by Llull gave Madrid a 22-21 lead. Sloukas followed free throws with a jumper, but Carroll sank a bomb from beyond the arc and foul shots by Tavares restored a 27-25 Madrid lead after 10 minutes. Felipe Reyes scored down low early in the second quarter and Facu Campazzo added a three-point play for a 32-25 Madrid edge. Ayon hit a jumper but Muhammed and Erick Green brought Fenerbahce a bit closer, 34-30. Jeffrey Taylor took over with a backdoor layup that Muhammed bettered with a triple. Carroll downed a floater and consecutive layups by Reyes and Ayon kept Madrid ahead. Melih Mahmutoglou downed a step-back jumper but Reyes and Llull made it a double-digit game, 45-35. Randolph hit back-to-back jumpers. After Guduric buried a three-pointer, Ayon gave Madrid a 50-41 lead. Sloukas hit a jumper and Melli added free throws, but a coast-to-coast layup by Gabriel Deck fixed the halftime score at 52-45. Melli downed a corner triple immediately after the break and Sloukas buried a step-back jumper. Deck and an outstanding Causeur kept Madrid in charge, 60-51. Sloukas sank a mid-range shot and Guduric bettered Llull's driving layup with a three-pointer. Tavares took over with an alley-oop dunk and a big block on Vesely. Llull sank back-to-back three-pointers to break the game open, 71-56. Llull and Tavares kept pushing Madrid and got help from Randolph for a 77-61 Madrid lead after 30 minutes. An alley-oop dunk by Randolph and a floater by Llull made it a 20-point game, 81-61, early in the fourth quarter. Vesely dunked and hit free throws. Taylor answered from downtown and Randolph scored again for an 86-68 Madrid lead. Carroll hit a stop-and-pop triple and fed Ayon for a layup. Fenerbahce did not give up, but Madrid sealed the outcome long before the final buzzer.
Llull proved everyone he is at his elite level again and did so against arguably the best opponent available. He finished the game with 17 points and 10 assists, recording his second double-double of the season. Llull added 3 rebounds and 2 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 25.
Madrid led 62-56 late in the third quarter and played perfect basketball for 4 minutes. Sergio Llull struck twice from downtown – one of them was a four-point play, as he drew a foul – and fed Edy Tavares for a couple of alley-oop dunks. Tavares had consecutive blocks on Ahmet Duverioglu and Jan Vesely. When the third quarter ended, Madrid led 77-61 and was well on its way to winning the game.
Two-point shots made the difference in this game. Madrid hit 30 of 43 two-pointers; its 69.8% shooting was a season-high for Los Blancos. Fenerbahce hit 21 of 38 shots inside the arc (55.3%). Madrid committed a mere 4 turnovers in another key to this exciting game.
Did you notice?
Madrid dished 29 assists, its best mark this season. It also tied the best mark by any club in the EuroLeague this season. Two other teams dished 29 assists in a EuroLeague game this season, both of them against Herbalife Gran Canaria; Olympiacos Piraeus on December 20 and Khimki Moscow Region on January 3.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action next week. Madrid visits Khimki Moscow Region on Thursday. Fenerbahce hosts FC Barcelona Lassa on Friday.
Thursday, March 7, 2019