26 January 2011
Edu Bueno / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid earned a very important victory in one of the most challenging of all European courts: Arena Palaestra, where no one had yet managed to win during the present campaign. Mirotic and Suarez grabbed the reins of the team in the final quarter and helped it achieve a spectacular comeback.
Siena started the game with a smothering defence that forced six Real Madrid turn-overs and they took the lead early on (12-6, 5'). The Whites' offence, save for six consecutive points by Reyes and two isolated shots from Tucker, looked swamped and Siena took a spectacular lead thanks to the efforts of Zisis, Moss and Hairston (37-15, 18').
Real Madrid's excellent rebounding skills (22 over Siena's 12 overall; 10 over 3 in offence) allowed them to stay alive in the first half, but their poor field goal attempts (only 33% successful shots) failed to capitalise on this. Three-pointers from Llull, seven points by Tucker and a shot from Mirotic sealed the second period 40-28.
Real Madrid improved after half-time, looking for Tomic under the iron to pass the ball either to Tucker or Suarez, who's shots proved to be successful; but they still made it easy for the locals in defence. The Zisis-Moss partnership (14 points each) kept Real Madrid in check (55-39, 26') and everything seemed lost.
Messina then decided to bring on Sergio Rodriguez, who managed to completely refresh the team's ideas. The pace to the game changed and the Whites began to carburate. The best was yet to come and Mirotic served it on a silver platter. The youth teamer scored scored four three-pointers and instilled his passion in his team-mates. Tucker followed, Suarez netted another three three-pointers and Siena were knocked off their feet. Real Madrid played the best ten minutes of recent years and turned the score around to win 68-78.