2012-13Top 16Round 3
January 11, 2013 CET: 20:45

Real Madrid edges Zalgiris on Rodriguez’s late triple

Sergio Rodriguez hit a game-winning three-pointer with 3.5 seconds to go as Real Madrid survived a thriller to edge Zalgiris Kaunas 75-74 in Palacio de Deportes in Spain’s capital on Friday night. The win improves Madrid to 3-0 and a share of Group E lead with CSKA Moscow, while Zalgiris drops to 1-2, and into a fifth-place tie. The game itself was a close as it gets, and a triple from Rodriguez was a climax to an excellent encounter. After Zalgiris built an early 10-point lead, the hosts quickly caught up and teams kept exchanging leads throughout the final three quarters and until the final buzzer. The last two minutes alone featured four lead changes and two ties. Oliver Lafayette gave the visitors 72-74 edge from the line with 8.7 seconds to go, but Rodriguez answered with what turned out to be a game-winning shot. Marko Popovic had a chance to become Zalgiris’s hero, but his last-second triple was no good. Nikola Mirotic finished with 17 points for Madrid, while Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llull each scored 10. Popovic had a game-high 21 points on 5-for-9 three-point shooting for Zalgiris, while Lafayette had 13 points and Rimantas Kaukenas scored 11 in defeat.

First quarter: Zalgiris jumps in front early

Popovic nailed a three-pointer on the opening possession of the game, and after Jeff Foote free throws, Popovic’s steal led to an easy layup for Tremmell Daden and quick 0-7 lead. After Madrid answered with a jumper and basket-plus-foul from Rudy Fernandez, Zalgiris scored 6 more unanswered points – Foote’s dunk in the lane, Popovic’s layup and Darden’s turnaround jumper made it 5-13. Mirotic snapped the run with a put-back, but a layup-plus-foul by Rimantas Kaukenas and a triple from Ksistof Lavrinovic extended the margin to 9-19. The hosts grabbed 3 offensive rebounds, and had 4 steals in the early going, but failed to convert on those. However, Madrid cut into the lead with more aggressive defense that kept Zalgiris without a field goal for almost four minutes. Meanwhile, Llull made a floater, and threw an alley-oop pass for a reverse dunk by Fernandez to ignite the crowd. A put-back from Felipe Reyes in the final seconds of the quarter got Madrid within 2, but the remaining 5 seconds of the quarter were enough time for Oliver Lafayette to go the length of the court and nail a triple to make it 18-23 after 10 minutes.

Second quarter: Madrid hangs in

Martynas Pocius and Kaukenas traded baskets to start the second quarter before Pocius hit a triple-plus-foul to bring Real Madrid to 24-25. Ibby Jaaber answered with a triple of his own, but the hosts went on a run, starting with Marcus Slaughter making a basket inside. Slaughter, then blocked a layup attempt from Adas Juskevicius, before Rodriguez gave the hosts their first advantage, 29-28. The teams continued to exchange leads as Popovic and Rodriguez traded triples. Popovic then nailed his third shot from downtown, but Real Madrid got back in front 36-34 with a layup by Mirotic. Zalgiris quickly regained a slim lead with a jumper from Mario Delas and a fastbreak dunk from Darden, before in the final 10 seconds Foote scored from close range, while Mirotic’s acrobatic layup seconds before the buzzer made it 40-40 at halftime.

Third quarter: Popovic hits triples, but Mirotic helps Madrid take the lead

Popovic opened the second half the same way he did the first, with a triple, before Mirotic and Carlos Suarez got Madrid going from close range. Foote used an assist from Popovic assist for an easy dunk, and after Mirotic answered with a driving layup, Popovic hit his fifth shot from long range for 46-50. However, Mirotic and Suarez replied with back-to-back triples before Rafael Hettsheimeir hit a jumper for 54-52. Neither team managed to score in the last three minutes of the quarter and Madrid kept a 2-point lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Fourth quarter: Rodriguez triple decides thriller

Delas hit an open jumper to tie the game at the start of the fourth quarter, but Dontaye Draper answered with an off-the-dribble three-pointer for Madrid’s biggest lead to that point, 57-54. A triple by Kaukenas tied the game, once again, and score was tied at 62-62 after Jaycee Carroll and Lafayette traded three-pointers with less than five minutes to go. After a timeout, Llull took matters into his own hands, hitting a floater and a basket-plus-foul on back-to-back possessions for 67-63 edge, but Lafayette replied with a triple and a floater to get Zalgiris back in front, 67-68. Madrid quickly regained the lead with a three-pointer from Fernandez, before Popovic tied things up again from the foul line and set up a thrilling ending. Reyes’s put-back gave the hosts a 72-70 lead, but with 41 seconds remaining, Ksistof Lavrinovic made a steal and drew an unsportsmanlike foul. He drained both free throws, but Kaukenas failed to inbound the ball on the ensuing possession, giving the ball back to Madrid. After Rodriguez missed the potential go-ahead three-pointer, Lafayette made a pair of free throws with 8.7 seconds on the clock for 72-74. However, Rodriguez made up for the earlier miss, making a triple from the right corner for 75-74 with only 3.5 seconds to go. After a timeout, there was plenty of time for Popovic to get a look for a game-winning three, but his shot hit the rim and Los Blancos could start celebrating hard-fought victory.

Sergio Rodriguez - Real Madrid - EB12
Friday, January 11, 2013
Attendance: 10892
By Quarter1234
Real Madrid18221421
Zalgiris Kaunas23171222
End of Quarter1234
Real Madrid18405475
Zalgiris Kaunas23405274
Real Madrid
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 DRAPER, DONTAYE 8:51 3 0/1 1/1           1 1     1   1
5 FERNANDEZ, RUDY 27:11 10 3/4 1/4 1/1   1 1 4 3 2     1 3 14
7 POCIUS, MARTYNAS 8:09 6 1/1 1/2 1/1   1 1   1       1 1 7
8 SUAREZ, CARLOS 19:25 5 1/1 1/3   1 4 5           2   6
9 REYES, FELIPE 16:33 6 3/7 0/1 0/1 5 3 8     3     2 4 7
12 MIROTIC, NIKOLA 23:25 17 5/6 1/2 4/4 2   2 1 1 2 1   1 3 20
13 RODRIGUEZ, SERGIO 11:19 8 1/1 2/5     1 1 1   2     2   3
15 HETTSHEIMEIR, RAFAEL 8:32 2 1/4       2 2 1     1     1 4
16 BEGIC, MIRZA 7:43 2 1/4     2   2   1       1 1 2
20 CARROLL, JAYCEE 18:09 4 0/1 1/6 1/2 1 3 4         1 1 2 1
23 LLULL, SERGIO 27:09 10 3/5 0/5 4/5   5 5 4 1 2   1 1 3 11
44 SLAUGHTER, MARCUS 23:34 2 1/2     1 1 2 1   1 4   3 2 6
Team           2 1 3           1   2
Totals 200:00 75 20/37 8/29 11/14 14 22 36 12 8 13 6 2 17 20 84
        54.1% 27.6% 78.6%
Head coach: LASO, PABLO
Min: Minutes played; Pts: Points; 2FG M-A: 2-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); 3FG M-A: 3-point Field Goals (Made-Attempted); FT M-A: Free Throws (Made-Attempted); Rebounds: O (Offensive), D (Defensive), T (Total); As: Assists; St: Steals; To: Turnovers; Bl: Blocks (Fv: In Favor / Ag: Against); Fouls: Cm (Commited), Rv (Received); PIR: Performance Index Rating
Zalgiris Kaunas
  Rebounds Blocks Fouls
# Player Min Pts 2FG 3FG FT O D T As St To Fv Ag Cm Rv PIR
4 DARDEN, TREMMELL 24:34 6 3/5     1 3 4   2     1   2 11
5 JAABER, IBRAHIM 10:51 3   1/3                   4 1 -2
6 POPOVIC, MARKO 23:07 21 1/1 5/9 4/4       3 2 2     1 3 22
8 JUSKEVICIUS, ADAS 3:48   0/1       1 1         1 1   -2
10 LIPKEVICIUS, VYTENIS 4:27   0/1 0/1             1   1 1   -5
13 JANKUNAS, PAULIUS 20:54   0/3 0/3   1 2 3 1 1 1 1 1 4   -6
17 DELAS, MARIO 13:08 4 2/4 0/1             1 1 1 1 1  
19 KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS 5:57           1 1 1 1 1     3   -1
20 LAFAYETTE, OLIVER 25:25 13 1/4 3/5 2/2   4 4 2   3     2 3 12
21 KAUKENAS, RIMANTAS 22:04 11 2/5 1/1 4/5   2 2 1 1 2     2 3 10
31 FOOTE, JEFF 19:13 8 3/4   2/2 1 2 3         1   1 10
33 LAVRINOVIC, KSISTOF 26:32 8 1/1 1/3 3/4 2 4 6 3 1 2     1 2 14
Team           1 6 7     2         5
Totals 200:00 74 13/29 11/26 15/17 6 25 31 11 8 15 2 6 20 16 68
        44.8% 42.3% 88.2%
Head coach: PLAZA, JOAN

Head Coaches

Real Madrid
"Truth to be told, it was a very exciting finish for everyone watching it. It was a tough game in which any mistake or correct action could decide it. We tried to draw fouls and find shots. We managed to win a game which is bittersweet for any coach. We won, and I have to congratulate my players. But I also must say that it was not a good game by our team. We were not fresh and lacked concentration, even though we put a great effort out there. Zalgiris hurt us a lot with their open big men. We had to work really hard to win this game and it was not easy at all. It’s something that we have to learn from in the future. Last season around this time we lost at home against Montepaschi, but we managed to win tonight. Even though we didn't have a good shooting night, we studied the game, improved on things and managed to win. Each Top 16 game is difficult. We are talking about the best 16 teams in Europe."
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It is tough to lose two games by one point each. I will keep fighting with my team because this is the way I do things. I believe in justice and everything that has happened to us lately – losing two games on the final shot – will be given back to us in the Top 16. We deserved to win as much as Real Madrid. I am very proud of my team and if we carry on playing like this, I am sure we will make it to the playoffs."


Real Madrid
"This is a very important win. We have to be positive about it. We didn't play well, but we have managed to win difficult games like this. We feel that we can still improve, and now we must focus on the next game. Zalgiris had an open shot that Popovic missed and we managed to get a tough win. We have to be positive, know that we can do better and we have to think that even though we didn't play well, we beat Zalgiris – a team playing at a very high level this season. There is no better way to start the Top 16 than with a 3-0 record. Each game is difficult, but we have to go step by step. This is what we have been doing and things are turning out the right way."
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It was a tough, good game. We had a chance to beat Madrid on the road and nobody likes to lose under these circumstances. It already happened to us against Panathinaikos two weeks ago. We challenged one of the best teams in Europe. It is not easy to beat Real Madrid on the road. We played until the final shot and that's positive. When you lose a close game by one point, it is small details that make the difference in the end."
Zalgiris Kaunas
"It is tough to play on the road, especially against a team like Real Madrid. We lost again on the road in the Top 16 and by one point. It is very tough to go through this situation again. I want to congratulate Real Madrid and wish Pablo Laso all the best. This is Zalgiris, and it's true that we are mentally stronger this season, partly because of the way coach Joan Plaza motivates us. We grew up as a team, are stronger. Even a team that aspires to do something big has to be able to compete against a team like Real Madrid, one of the best in Europe. I believe Madrid will make it to the Final Four, but this is basketball and you can never be 100 percent sure about anything."
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