Tavares leads Real's comeback win
Real Madrid grabbed its sixth consecutive win by topping AX Armani Exchange Milan 73-78 at Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday. Real improved to 21-6 in the standings, while Milan dropped to 11-16. Rudy Fernandez led the winners with 16 points and Walter Tavares, Trey Thompkins and Nico Laprovittola each added 13 for Real. Tavares added 12 rebounds. Riccardo Moraschini paced Milan with a career-high 21 points, Vladimir Micov added 13 while Keifer Sykes had 10 for the hosts. Sykes, Michael Roll, Moraschini and Micov each struck from beyond the arc to give Milan a 25-11 lead after 10 minutes. Tavares and Laprovittola fueled a 0-17 run which helped Real tie the game, 30-30, but Moraschini, Amedeo Della Valle and Arturas Gudaitis helped Milan restore a 45-35 margin at halftime. Gudaitis kept pushing Milan in the third quarter and the hosts held a 55-46 edge late in the third quarter. Fernandez and Thompkins led a 0-16 run that gave Madrid the lead for good, 55-61, early in the fourth quarter. Milan managed to get within 73-75 with 25.7 seconds left and Facu Campazzo split free throw attempts, but Micov missed from beyond the arc with a chance to tie it.
Sykes got Milan going with a three-pointer and Roll erased Thompkins's triple with his own shot from downtown for a 6-3 lead. Micov nailed a corner jumper and Moraschini added a wild four-point play to boost the hosts' margin to 12-5. Thompkins kept pushing Real with a power layup that Micov bettered with a bomb from beyond the arc. Moraschini soon made it a double-digit game, 17-7. Thompkins scored again, but Moraschini insisted from downtown and Gudaitis added a running hook for a 23-9 Milan lead. Tavares hit a jump hook, but a jumper by Micov kept Milan way ahead, 25-11, after 10 minutes. Sergio Rodriguez hit a mid-range jumper early in the second quarter and got help from Nemanja Nedovic to make it 30-13. Tavares dunked twice with authority in a 0-17 run in which Fernandez, Laprovittola and Jeffery Taylor each buried a three-pointer. Laprovittola capped it with a driving layup that tied it at 30-30. Moraschini rescued Milan with a baseline jumper and another four-point play for a 36-32 score. Della Valle joined the three-point shootout and Gudaitis hit a reverse layup that gave the hosts fresh air at 41-33. Micov took over with a put-back layup and found Gudaitis for a dunk that restored a 45-35 Milan lead at halftime.
Sykes hit a jumper right after the break and Della Valle soon gave the hosts a 14-point margin, 49-35. Tavares hit a couple of jump hooks and Laprovittola scored in penetration, bringing Real hope at 51-41. Kaleb Tarczewski found his first points, but Laprovittola and Taylor made it a single-digit game, 53-45. Gudaitis stepped up with a put-back layup but Tavares kept Real within 55-46 after 30 minutes. Laprovittola scored off a steal and found Thompkins for a three-pointer that brought the visitors within 55-51. Fernandez also struck from downtown and fed Usman Garuba for an alley-oop layup that gave Real its first lead, 55-56. Thompkins sank another triple and a red-hot Fernandez capped a 0-16 run to give his team a 55-61 lead. Moraschini and Fernandez exchanged three-pointers, but Roll scored down low for a 60-64 Real deficit. Moraschini kept trying to change things for Milan, but Laprovittola and Fernandez answered to make it 63-69 with 4 minutes left. Micov rescued the hosts with 4 quick points, but missed the go-ahead three-point attempt. Tavares scored in the paint and had a huge block on Micov that allowed Facu Campazzo to make it 67-73 with 54 seconds remaining. Campazzo added a floater, but Rodriguez and Sykes each hit a triple to keep Milan alive, 73-75, with 25.7 seconds to go. Campazzo drew a foul and split attempts before Micov missed from downtown seconds before the final buzzer.
Walter Tavares made the difference in the crucial moment of the game, but was consistent all game long. He finished the game with 13 points on 6-of-7 two-point shooting, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 blocks, for a PIR of 29.
Real put up a basketball clinic in the opening 4 minutes of the fourth quarter. He was all over the place on defense and shared the ball almost perfectly on offense. Trey Thompkins sank a couple of three-point shots, Rudy Fernandez had 5 points and found Usman Garuba for a layup and added a steal which set up Nico Laprovittola for a layup. That 0-16 run put Los Blancos ahead for good.
Rebounds, particularly on offense, made the difference in this game. Real outrebounded Milan 31-45 and only allowed the hosts to 5 offensive boards, as many as Tavares in this game. Real finished the game with 17 offensive rebounds and those extra possessions allowed Los Blancos to get its comeback win.
Did you notice?
Riccardo Moraschini already had set a new career-high at halftime, 15 points. His previous scoring record in the EuroLeague was 12 points against Panathinaikos OPAP Athens earlier this season. Moraschini had a four-point play in the first half. He finished the game with 21 points.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Thursday, March 5. Real hosts LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in ASVEL's first visit to the Spanish capital since 2003. Milan visits Valencia Basket.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020