Real Madrid makes hot start into a record!
Real Madrid consummated the best four-game start in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this century with a 66-85 road win over Strasbourg in the Game of the Week. The victory lifted Madrid to 4-0 atop Group B while Stasbourg continues to search for a win. Its 19-point margin means that Madrid has won all of its games so far by a total of 98 points, more than any 4-0 team since 2000. The previous record was 94 points held by FC Barcelona to start the 2010-11 season. Madrid’s hot start to the season was mirrored by that of Rudy Fernandez in this game. He scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half while making 5 of 9 three-point tries. Madrid would finish making 15 of 33 shots from the arc, with eight different players making at least one, while Strasbourg suffered through a 2-for-10 night from downtown. Jaycee Carroll's was the only other double-figure scorer for Madrid with 14 points. Strasbourg big man Alexis Ajinca did all he could, making 9 of 13 two-pointers for 23 points to go with 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He was seconded by 17 points off the bench from Kevin Murphy but they were far from enough against mighty Madrid.
First quarter: Rudy runs wild
Strasbourg drew first blood with a steal by Axel Toupane and a hook shot from Ajinca. Madrid responded with a three-pointer from Fernandez and Nikola Mirotic layup assisted by Sergio Llull. Ajinca's next pair of layups put Strasbourg up 8-7 before Madrid made its first run. Mirotic and Fernandez got open on the perimeter and each hit three-pointers before Fernandez stole and dunked for a 10-15 lead by the visitors. After a timeout, Tremmel Darden put back a loose offensive rebound and Fernandez was left alone for another triple in transition to suddenly double Strasbourg on the scoreboard, 10-20. After a timeout, subs Kevin Murphy and Roman Duport helped Strasbourg steady itself until Louis Campbell could score off a steal by Paul Lacombe to cut the difference to 17-22 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Ajinca brings back Strasbourg
Carroll’s triple to open the second quarter offset free throws by Lacombe, but when Murphy dialed up his own three-pointer, Strasbourg was with 22-25. He and Salah Mejri exchanged baskets before the fireworks started. Fernandez went back-door to dunk an alley-oop pass from Llull to start a three-point play at one end. Then Ajinca two-hand slammed a rebound at the other. When he got open for a two-pointer in transition, Strasbourg was within 28-30, but Carroll answered with another open triple for Madrid. When he passed to Fernandez for the next one, Madrid's lead was back up to 29-36. After another Strasbourg timeout, Felipe Reyes put back a rebound then stole and led a fastbreak, assisting Llull to make it 29-40. Next, Fernandez hooked an alley-oop pass that Mejri turned into a rim-swinging slam. After another steal, it was Ioannis Bourousis finishing the break and the half with Real Madrid in charge, 31-46.
Third quarter: Madrid's defense takes over
Llull's three-pointer to open the second half gave Madrid its biggest lead yet, 31-49, but it soon climbed on free throws by Fernandez as he topped the 20-point mark personally. Ajinca blocked, stole and dunked on the break to show his team the way, but Dontaye Draper drilled a three and Fernandez fed Bourousis as Madrid escaped again. By the time Bourousis and Fernandez added a triple each, the lead was 35-63, marking a 6-27 run since the middle of the second quarter. Two baskets by Ajinca and others by Lacombe and Murphy let Strasbourg lower the difference to 20 points, 43-63, before Darden became Madrid's seventh player to make a three-pointer and Carroll beat the third-quarter buzzer with another for a lead of 45-71.
Fourth quarter: Rodriguez makes sure
Ajinca continued racking up points while Lacombe followed a fastbreak miss to again cut the difference to 20 points, 51-71. Sergio Rodriguez became Madrid's eighth three-point striker, then Reyes got 3 points the hard way. Rodriguez added a layup and fed young Dani Diez for another before Romain Duport dunked and Murphy fired in a three-pointer for Strasbourg at 60-81. Little scoring happened after that before Carroll buried a three-pointer to give Madrid its fourth victory by 19 points or more.
Thursday, November 7, 2013