Real Madrid routs Barcelona to make history
Real Madrid returns to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four Championship Game for a second straight year after once again beating fierce El Clasico rival FC Barcelona 100-62 in Friday’s semifinals at Mediolanum Forum in Milan. El Clasico turned into a 38-point blowout, which was the largest margin of victory ever in a Euroleague semifinal in the Final Four era, surpassing Barcelona’s 101-67 defeat at the hands of Maccabi Tel Aviv in 1991. Madrid broke the game wide open with a 26-1 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. After losing to Olympiacos in last season’s title game, Madrid this time hopes to claim record title number nine; Madrid will take on Maccabi Tel Aviv in Sunday’s championship game, looking to snap its 19-year drought. Madrid advanced to its 16th Euroleague final, which is also the new standard. Freshly crowned bwin MVP Sergio Rodriguez paced Madrid with 21 points and 6 assists, while Nikola Mirotic added 19 points, Rudy Fernandez had 12 and both Felipe Reyes and Sergio Llull tallied 11 for Madrid. Barcelona was paced by Ante Tomic with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Just like Kyle Hines from CSKA Moscow in the first semifinal, Barcelona’s Kostas Papanikolaou also missed out his chance to win a third consecutive Euroleague title – something only Sarunas Jasikevicius has done since 1991. Papanikolaou had 6 points and 5 rebounds in the loss.
First quarter: Huertas puts Barca up, Mirotic leads Madrid back
Marcelinho Huertas got things going with a long runner off the glass, but Mirotic and Llull answered each with a jumper. Barcelona went in front when Papanikolaou made a layup-plus-foul, and Huertas fueled a run that Barca used to pull away. He first assisted Tomic for a layup and then made 3 of 4 free throws, before throwing an alley-oop pass for a Tomic dunk and 12-4 lead. Llull scored from close range after a timeout by Madrid coach Pablo Laso, and Mirotic followed it with a baseline jumper. An alley-oop dunk from Marcus Slaughter, and a fastbreak layup from Llull quickly got Madrid back to 13-12, forcing Barcelona to call a timeout. Brad Oleson nailed the first three-pointer of the game, but Mirotic sank a pair of free throws, and a long jumper for 16-16. Lorbek fought his way for a layup in traffic, and after Rodriguez hit a triple for Madrid to regain the lead, Tomic made free throws to round things up at the end of the first quarter at 20-20.
Second quarter: Rodriguez flashes MVP credentials
Reyes scored inside to put Madrid back in front at the beginning of the quarter, and Rudy banked in a runner for a 20-24 edge. While keeping Barcelona scoreless for more than four minutes to start the quarter, Rodriguez hit a three-pointer, added a pair of free throws, then assisted Salah Mejri for a big dunk that extended it to 20-31. After a Barcelona timeout, it was three-point fireworks. Juan Carlos Navarro was first to nail a triple, only for Reyes to answer right back. After Papanikolaou buried a shot from downtown, Fernandez had a response of his own behind the 6.75-meter arc for a 26-37 lead. Tomic snapped a run of triples with a basket from close range, and Rudy drove for a layup to keep the margin in double digits before Lorbek and Reyes, too, traded baskets inside, making it 30-41. With both teams deep in the bonus, and going to the free throw line often, Mirotic and Rodriguez each made a pair to make it a 13-point game. Oleson hit a three-pointer and Tomic made a floater, cutting it to 37-45 at halftime.
Third quarter: 14 unanswered points put Los Blancos in control
Fernandez hit a three-pointer opening the scoring in the half, and after Oleson answered with a long jumper, Tremmell Darden nailed a corner triple and Mirotic scored from close range. With Barcelona needing some offensive production quickly, Tomic had a basket-plus-free throw, and Huertas made a runner, but big man Ioannis Bourousis hit from downtown to make it 44-56. Tomic made a two-handed slam midway through the quarter, but Rodriguez hit from long range and Bourousis from close range. Madrid’s run continued with a fastbreak layup from Fernandez, and after a Barcelona timeout, Rodriguez made another three-pointer, a pair of free throws, before making a steal and racing for a fastbreak layup, and a 47-70 lead. Joey Dorsey snapped a 0-14 run with a free throw, before Mirotic sank a corner triple extending the difference to 48-73 at the end of the quarter.
Fourth quarter: Margin swells as Madrid fans sing
Bourousis opened the fourth quarter with a layup and a block on the defensive end. Triples from Llull and Mirotic helped bring the margin to 48-82 before Dorsey scored inside to end Barcelona’s spell of almost eight minutes without a field goal. Madrid kept it foot on the gas, with Jaycee Carroll and Darden hitting back-to-back shots from downtown to increase the difference to 52-88. With the game clearly out of the reach, Alex Abrines scored a layup and Nachbar sank a triple, but Reyes and Marcus Slaughter kept adding to Madrid’s tally. Dorsey’s basket made it 59-92, but Carroll buried a jumper to help keep the margin above 30. In the closing minutes, Reyes and Llull made it 59-98, before Lorbek scored a reverse layup-plus-foul, and Carroll a fastbreak layup to round out the scoring.
Friday, May 16, 2014
Igor Petrinovic, Euroleague.net in Milan