Real runs away from host ASVEL, 74-87
Real Madrid used a stellar opening quarter to take control on the way to a solid 74-87 road win against LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne on Tuesday. The victory lifted Real's record to 8-2, good for at least a hold onto second place, and extended its winning streak against ASVEL to six games going back to 2003. ASVEL dropped to 6-4. A pair of 13-0 runs – the first soon after the opening tipoff and the other bridging the last two quarters – spelled more than enough difference for the visitors against a dangerous ASVEL team. A pair of Frenchmen led Real as Fabien Causeur swished 5 three-pointers among his 26 points and Guerschon Yabusele added 18. Walter Tavares had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks for the winners. For ASVEL, Elie Okobo scored 16 of his 26 points in the first quarter, but was held in check by Adam Hanga after that. Dylan Osetkowski came off the bench for 14 points while Chris Jones scored 12 for ASVEL.
Real went inside to Tavares and Yabusele while Okobo hit the game's first triple. When Causeur drove for a layup and hit from the corner, Real led 3-9. Tavares converted a three-point play before Yabusele drilled from deep, and suddenly it was 3-15. Jones ended Real's 0-13 run but Causeur matched him and Okobo's subsequent triple to make it 8-20. Paul Lacombe , Okobo and Jones could only help ASVEL keep pace. Osetkowski forced a couple of Real turnovers while Okobo drilled from deep at 17-27. The points continued falling until Vincent Poirier dunked a miss before the buzzer for a 24-33 Real lead after 10 prolific minutes.
Kostas Antetokounmpo and Jones sparked a 7-2 run to start the second quarter that got ASVEL within 31-35. Osetkowski got the hosts even closer, 34-37, from deep, but Rudy Fernandez copied that and Tavares dunked on the break to settle the visitors at 34-42. Osetkowski and Sergio Llull traded triples before a rare lull in scoring that Yabusele ended with a basket inside. Lacombe danced for a layup and Okobo fed Jones for an open three-pointer at 42-48. Teenage rookie Tristan Vukcevic drilled from the arc to complete Real's rockin' first half with a 43-51 lead.
James Gist detonated a dunk for ASVEL to start the second half but Alberto Abalde and Yabusele, from the arc, kept Real ahead 47-56. Causeur upped it to 47-60, the game's largest lead yet, and then Tavares detonated a dunk. Okobo hit from the arc and at the foul line while Lacombe downed a reverse to get ASVEL back within single digits before Causeur beat the buzzer with a half-court bank shot for a 54-67 lead after 30 minutes.
Yabusele's three-point play meant the game's biggest lead yet, to which Causeur added a layup and a triple at 54-75. ASVEL used a timeout to get back-to-back threes from Osetkowski and Lacombe to mount a comeback. Causeur and Matthew Strazel traded triples next at 63-78 as ASVEL scrambled to make up points. Okobo with a layup, Lacombe with a put-back and Osetkowski with a three-point play suddenly made it 70-78 with 5 minutes left. Fernandez steadied Real with a triple that Gist answered with a dunk, but with under 3 minutes left, it was 72-81 and the handwriting was on the wall. The win was going back to the Spanish capital.
Pivotal performer: A Frenchman invades the Astroballe
Fabien Causeur used the only visit of the season to his native France to deliver one of the finest scoring performances of his long Euroleague career to lift Real Madrid to a key road victory. Causeur's first 5 points sparked a 0-13 first-quarter run after which Real never trailed again. That's because whenever scoring was needed, Causeur was there, pouring in 25 points on 5-for-6 three-point shooting. That was Causeur's third-highest scoring total in an 11-season, 256-game EuroLeague career. His 5 threes matched the most he has ever made and the most by any Real Madrid player since April of 2017. Finally, it was a reminder that anywhere on the Real roster, there is a player who can decide a game.
He and three compatriots on the roster – Guerschon Yabusele with 18 points, Vincent Poirier with 6, and Thomas Heurtel with 2 – Real got a total of 51 points from its very own French connection.
"We're finding great rhythm. You can tell that we have great chemistry," Causeur said. "I'm happy for that, happy for France, to show that we have great players. I'm sure it's going to keep going like that."
Telling numbers: Real ruled the boards vs. ASVEL
With both teams drilling double-digit three-pointers and making almost the same amount of shots inside the arc, something had to spell the difference, and on Tuesday it was Real Madrid's rebounding dominance over host ASVEL. With big Walter Tavares leading the way with 10, Real's board-men staked a 21-39 advantage over the hosts, including a 3-9 edge on the offensive glass, which was just too much for ASVEL to overcome. Its 18-board advantage was Real's biggest since an opening-night home win over Anadolu Efes Istanbul.
Real's remarkable start vs. ASVEL
Real's first quarter was remarkable. A 0-13 run to take a 3-15 lead was the beginning, and a put-back dunk by Vincent Poirier on the buzzer to make it 24-33 was the end. All told, the visitors barely missed, downing 4 of 4 three-pointers and 9 perfect free throws as well as 6 of 9 two-pointers. What's more, they denied ASVEL any rebounds at all for a 0-9 advantage after 10 minutes, all that despite coughing up 6 turnovers. It all added up to a team performance index rating of 41. Similarly remarkable was ASVEL guard Elie Okobo, who poured in 16 points in his first 10 minutes ever again mighty Real to finish with 26 on the night.
Tuesday, November 16, 2021