Game-ending UNICS rally stops Real, 65-58
UNICS Kazan sent a message that echoed all around the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague by downing Real Madrid 65-58 at home on Friday. UNICS improved to 3-4, completing a sweep of Spanish visitors in the double-round week, while Real dropped to 5-2. Mario Hezonja and Andrey Vorontsevich led the winners with 13 points apiece. Tonye Jekiri pulled down 10 rebounds for UNICS. Walter Tavares led Real with 15 points. Guerschon Yabusele added 13 while Alberto Abalde had 10 for the guests. Hezonja stepped up early to give UNICS a 10-3 lead. Tavares and Yabusele took over for Real but Marco Spissu kept the hosts ahead, 14-11, after 10 minutes. Vorontsevich gave UNICS a double-digit lead, 21-11, but Juan Nuñez, Adam Hanga and Sergio Llull pushed Real to get as close as 35-34 at halftime. Tavares took over after the break, leading the guests to take a 49-51 lead at the end of the third quarter. Abalde gave Real its last lead, 55-58, but Vorontsevich, Lorenzo Brown and John Brown fueled a 10-0 closing run that gave the UNICS fans a victory to remember.
Yabusele got Real going with a driving layup but Hezonja matched him at the other end and John Brown soon gave UNICS its first lead, 4-3. Hezonja buried a step-back jumper and a catch-and-shoot triple to take UNICS up by 10-3. Tavares and Jeffery Taylor stepped up with dunks in a 0-6 run that Yabusele capped with a power layup. Spissu made a driving basket and matched Tavares's dunk with a jumper that left UNICS in front by 14-11 after 10 minutes.
Jekiri hit a jumper early in the second quarter, O.J. Mayo added a floater in transition and Andrey Vorontsevich struck from downtown to make it a double-digit game, 21-11, after a 9-0 UNICS run. Nuñez scored in penetration for his first-ever EuroLeague basket and Yabusele sank a three-pointer to give Real fresh air at 22-17. Taylor dunked again and Hanga followed Vincent Poirier's tip-in with a layup. Still, Jekiri and Isaiah Canaan kept UNICS ahead, 29-23. Yabusele and Llull each downed a jumper to bring Real as close as 29-27. Hezonja rescued UNICS and Lorenzo Brown matched Poirier's dunk with a driving layup. Hanga and Llull kept the guests within 35-34 at halftime.
Hezonja dunked right after the break. Yabusele scored down low and Abalde added a three-pointer to complete Real's comeback, 37-39. Tavares took over with a basket-and-free throw before Yabusele added a layup to cap a 0-10 Real run before Lorenzo Brown stopped it with a strike from beyond the arc. Tavares kept pacing Real but Vorontsevich and Spissu each downed triples to keep UNICS within 49-51 at the end of the third quarter.
Tavares hit a jump hook early in the fourth quarter. John Brown answered with a jumper but Abalde scored in the low post for a 51-55 Real lead. Vorontsevich downed a mid-range shot and Lorenzo Brown added a reverse layup for a 55-55 tie with over 4 minutes left. Abalde sank a three-pointer but Canaan sank a mid-range jumper, keeping UNICS within 57-58 with under 3 minutes to go. Vorontsevich hit a jump hook off the dribble and Lorenzo Brown followed that with a fastbreak layup. John Brown collected a critical steal and dunked to make it a five-point game, 63-58, with 33 seconds left, enough for UNICS to seal the outcome.
John Brown sets UNICS steals mark again
John Brown played a critical role as UNICS Kazan downed Real Madrid at home in Round 7. With the game on the line and UNICS up by 61-58, Brown collected a steal and detonated a dunk that sealed the outcome. Real never recovered. He finished the game with 5 steals, tying the UNICS club record that he had set two nights prior in a Round 6 home win against Bitci Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz. The previous record belonged to Kostas Kaimakoglou, who got 4 against Anadolu Efes Istanbul on November 20, 2014. Brown also had 6 points and 4 rebounds against Real for a PIR of 14.
UNICS defense makes the difference
UNICS managed to hold Real to just 58 points, the Spanish powerhouse's second-lowest scoring mark in the last nine years, in their Round 7 showdown. Real was limited to 55 points against CSKA Moscow on January 14, 2020. It ties for the fourth-lowest score Real has had in any road game. UNICS limited Real to just 4-of-22 three-point shooting (18.2% 3FG) and forced Los Blancos into 19 turnovers. UNICS shot the ball much better, especially from two-point range, hitting 20-of-31 shots inside the arc (64.5%) and allowing Real to make just 19 of 36 (52.8%) attempts there.
Nuñez makes EuroLeague debut
Real Madrid playmaker Juan Nuñez made his Turkish Airlines EuroLeague debut in his team's showdown against UNICS Kazan. He contributed right away with a driving layup, a steal and an assist in his first minute on the floor. Nuñez became the 13th homegrown talent to play in the EuroLeague for Los Blancos since head coach Pablo Laso joined the club in 2011. Luka Doncic, the 2017-18 EuroLeague MVP and 2018 Final Four MVP, and Usman Garuba, the 2020-21 EuroLeague Rising Star award winner, lead a list that also includes Dani Diez, Alberto Martin, Willy Hernangomez, Santi Yusta, Jonathan Barreiero, Dino Radoncic, Melwin Pantzar, Mario Nakic, Tristan Vukcevic and Eli Ndiaye, who made his EuroLeague debut last season.
Friday, October 29, 2021