Llull's late heroics helps Madrid beat Efes
Real Madrid stayed strong in the Spanish capital and registered its fifth consecutive win at WiZink Center by topping Anadolu Efes Istanbul 92-84 on Thursday. Madrid improved to 16-4 and is second in the standings. Efes dropped to 13-7, but kept its hold of fourth place. Anthony Randolph led the winners with 24 points on 5-of-6 three-point shooting. Sergio Llull added 19 points plus 8 rebounds, while Edy Tavares had 10 points, 7 boards and 3 blocks for Madrid. Vasilije Micic led Efes with 21 points, Tibor Pleiss scored 15 and Brock Motum had 13 in defeat. The score was tied 21-21 after 10 minutes, 42-42 at halftime and 72-72 midway through the fourth quarter, but Llull stepped up to fuel a 9-0 run that sent Madrid to another win.
Jeffery Taylor got Madrid going with a dunk and Fabien Causeur added a floater for a 4-2 lead. Micic took over with a backdoor layup and a three-pointer in a 0-8 Efes run that Krunoslav Simon capped with a bomb from downtown. Randolph stepped up with a three-point play and a triple, but Simon and Pleiss kept Efes ahead, 11-14. Randolph kept pacing Madrid with back-to-back three-pointers. Rodrigue Beaubois and Micic restored a 17-21 Efes margin. Taylor and an unstoppable Randolph scored around the basket for a 21-21 tie after 10 minutes. Micic downed a triple early in the second quarter and an alley-oop slam by Pleiss made it a 5-point game. Randolph sank his fourth triple and Tavares scored twice in the paint, but Motum answered with 7 quick points for a 28-33 Efes margin. Tavares and Pleiss traded baskets and a three-pointer by Jaycee Carroll kept Madrid within 33-35. Llull nailed a floater in the lane and Rudy Fernandez added a tip-in to put Madrid ahead 37-35 after a 9-2 run. Facu Campazzo hit a triple and Trey Thompkins added a close basket, but an outstanding Micic tied the game, 42-42, at halftime. Tavares followed a tip-in with a layup for a 46-44 Madrid lead soon after the break. Taylor hit a corner triple and a layup by Randolph caused Efes to call timeout at 51-44. Bryant Dunston dunked and then Micic hit a jumper and fed Adrien Moerman for a triple that tied the game again, 51-51. Causeur struck from downtown and Randolph added a jump hook, but through Simon and Micic, Efes tied the game at 57-57. Randolph bettered Pleiss's jumper with a three-pointer and Llull followed free throws with a coast-to-coast layup for a 64-61 Madrid edge after 30 minutes. Carroll hit free throws early in the fourth quarter and Felipe Reyes added 4 quick points for a 70-63 Madrid lead. Pleiss took over with a three-point play and Rodrigue Beaubois added a triple that caused Madrid to stop the game at 70-69. Reyes hit a jump hook that Shane Larkin improved on with a three-pointer. Llull struck twice from downtown and added a jumper in a 9-0 run that gave the hosts an 81-72 margin. Larkin and Motum rescued Efes and Madrid called timeout at 83-78. Dunston split free throws, but Llull and Campazzo restored an 86-79 Madrid lead in the next-to-last minute. Motum scored again, but a three-pointer by Llull sealed the outcome down the stretch.
Llull had one of the best all-around games of his career, finishing with 19 points, a career-high 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 2 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 19. It was a decisive effort off the bench.
A three-pointer by Shane Larkin tied the game at 72-72 with 7 minutes left. Llull, who finished the game with 3-of-12 three-point shooting, hit a pair of bombs from downtown in a 9-0 run in which he also added a jumper. All of a sudden, Madrid led 81-72 and managed to keep a safe margin in crunch time.
Madrid heavily outrebounded Efes in this game, especially on the offensive end. Madrid collected 46 rebounds compared to 24 for Efes. The hosts pulled down a season-high 18 offensive boards and limited Efes to just 4. Madrid powered the boards and that allowed Los Blancos to win.
Did you notice?
Efes shot the ball better, hitting 54.1% of its field goals (Madrid, 47.9%), had more assists (23, Madrid 21) and fewer turnovers (8, tying its season-low, Madrid 13) but Madrid won the game. Rebounds made the difference - Madrid took 10 more shots and went to the foul line 4 more times.
Both teams return to EuroLeague action on Friday, February 1. Efes visits Panathinaikos OPAP Athens and Madrid plays in Turkey against Darussafaka Tekfen Istanbul.
Thursday, January 24, 2019