Madrid eliminated Power Electronics Valencia 66-58
Real Madrid stormed back from a double-digit first half deficit to beat Power Electronics Valencia 66-58 on Thursday at Caja Magica in the Spanish capital to win their Quarterfinal Playoffs series 3-2 and earn the club’s first Euroleague Final Four berth in 15 years. Defense and rebounding were the keys for the Whites, who held Valencia to 16 second-half points and outrebounded the visitors 45-36 – including 17-7 on the offensive glass. Carlos Suarez shined with 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the winners, who will meet Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv in the second semifinal at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Barcelona on May 6. Ante Tomic with 9 points and 9 rebounds and Felipe Reyes with 7 points and 10 boards were also key figures in the win, while Clay Tucker matched Suarez with 12 points. Dusko Savanovic paced Valencia with 19 points and Rafa Martinez added 16, but it was not enough as two Power Electronics starts finished the night scoreless. The visitors were sharp early, opening the game with a 2-11 charge and going up by double figures early in the second quarter. Madrid came back to within 40-42 by halftime and took control early in the third quarter. Valencia never quit, but Madrid’s defense and rebounding were too much to overcome as the Whites held on to celebrate a historic win.
Madrid controlled the opening tip, but the visitors got to the scoreboard first with a Martinez jumper and a Savanovic drive. Tomic got Madrid’s first points after two minutes with a hook shot. The game was played at a fast pace with plenty of exciting moves, but poor shooting kept the score down early. Valencia broke through first with Savanovic draining an open triple and then scoring in transition to make it 2-11 as the home team took a timeout. Sergio Llull penetrated and pulled up for a jumper to get the Madrid offense going. Suarez nailed a triple a minute later as the home crowd got louder. Robertas Javtokas answered with a nifty post move to keep the visitors in control. Suarez continued to close the gap from the line, while Nando De Colo made 1 free throw, but saw his streak of 33 consecutive makes from the line end. Jeremy Richardson sank a three to lift Power Electronics to 11-17 by the end of the quarter.
D’Or Fischer hit a mid-range jumper for the first points of the second quarter, but Madrid could not match the visitors’ aggressive play. A De Colo triple followed by a Serhiy Lishchuk basket-plus-foul combined with strong defense at the other end gave Valencia a 10-point lead. After a timeout, Reyes powered the boards for a basket, Javtokas’s third foul and a free throw to ignite the crowd. Pablo Prigioni added a three as the momentum started to turn, however Richardson answered back with a clutch three. Still Madrid was on its way back and Tucker made it 21-26. Speed was on display as David Navarro and Llull traded layups. Tomic narrowed the gap to 3 before Omar Cook set up Lishchuk for a basket and foul. Martinez drove through the Madrid defense for an easy layup, but when he tried it a second time, Tucker rose up to block his shot. Tucker then fired in a three-pointer to make it 29-32, which resulted in Valencia head coach Svetislav Pesic calling timeout. Valencia racked up points from the line through Savanovic and De Colo, but a Nikola Mirotic jumper and Tucker triple had Madrid as close as 2. Savanovic answered with a clutch jumper, but Mirotic sank a triple to make it 37-38. Martinez rescued the Power Electronics cushioned with a pull-up three-pointer. Tucker fired back with a deep triple and after Savanovic missed a three at the buzzer, Madrid had climbed back within 40-42 at the break.
Suarez gave Madrid its first lead of the night with a triple that bounced in on the Whites’ first possession of the second half. Martinez powered his way to the basket, but Madrid now had the momentum. Tomic drew Javtokas’s fourth foul before Llull stepped up with a pair of jumper from either side on the three-point arc, making it 48-44. Savanovic beat the 24-second clock with a long jumper. Madrid looked to pull away as Tomic set Mirotic up for a score and Prigioni took a steal in for a layup to put the home team up 52-46. Savanovic shined with a great spin move as Valencia refused to break. The Valencia scorer reached 19 points with a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to 2. Fischer made his presence felt with a pair of blocks on the defensive end, but was called for a foul the next time he tried to reject a shot and Lishchuk kept the visitors within 3. Reyes kept Madrid ahead with a second-chance basket and Suarez put in a circus flip off an offensive rebound that lifted Madrid to 58-51 through three quarters.
Madrid continued to rule inside with Fischer dunking early in the fourth quarter. Valencia had trouble cracking the hosts’ defense until Martinez came off a curl to drain a long three that silenced the arena. Cook stole the ball and made a downcourt pass to Martinez, but Tucker raced back to block the shot. Valencia was aggressive on the offensive glass, but unable to get results. Instead Tomic took advantage to beat his defenders downcourt for an easy basket. Javtokas managed to draw Reyes’s fourth foul and sink a free throw too, making it 62-55 before the TV timeout. Offense remained at a premium in the fourth quarter with both teams playing aggressive defense. Madrid haunted Valencia with its offensive rebounds, even though the Whites had trouble getting the ball in the basket. Martinez gave Valencia hope with a clutch three-pointer with just over two minutes remaining to make it 62-58. Llull went down playing defense on the play and had to come out. Two offensive rebounds on Madrid’s next possession before Tomic scored helped the hosts kill the clock. Then Tomic rejected a De Colo reverse layup to all but seal the win. Valencia’s last chances ended when Tomic grabbed another offensive rebound, was fouled and made a free throw with 52 seconds remaining to signal to the fans that it was time to celebrate!
Thursday, April 7, 2011