06 May 2011
Edu Bueno / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Real Madrid were unable to seal their excellent season in the Euroleague with a victory against Maccabi in the Final Four semifinals. The Israeli team had solid aim in the second half and punished the Whites. Felipe Reyes (15 points, 14 rebounds) was the best Madridista in the encounter. The team will play for third place against Montepaschi at 13:30 CET on Sunday.
Real Madrid fought for every ball from the very start, but nerves and tension got the best of them. Maccabi were also nervous, and this resulted in both sides hardly scoring any points and waiting for their opponent to make mistakes. Reyes and Tomic scored for the Madridistas, but suffered from Big Sofo's fierce defending. The Greek centre provoked five Real Madrid personal fouls in just five minutes. Pnini then snatched a lead for his team with three three-pointers (22-14, 14').
Maccabi were serious about winning and proved it with two unsporting fouls. Molin called for timeout when his side had failed to score in nearly four minutes. His men reacted: Prigioni scored two consecutive three-pointers, while Reyes and Tomic helped the team earn a 2-10 run (32-29, 20').
Real Madrid had only scored 20% of their three-pointer attempts by half-time; not enough to aspire to win the game. They didn't feel comfortable on the court and were kept alive by their 13 rebounds in offence and several three-pointers from Llull and Suarez. Pargo, Schortianitis and Eidson were also inspired for Maccabi and kept them in the lead (55-47, 30').
Real Madrid gave their all, but nothing seemed to work well in offence. The frustration that came from that affected their work in defence. Maccabi's experience and the support of 5,000 fans kept them in the lead. Edison was unstoppable and led his team in a 24-8 run that sealed the game.