23 September 2012
Real Madrid have had a brilliant start to the 2012-13 season, being proclaimed the Endesa Super Cup champion in Zaragoza after beating their eternal rival, Barcelona Regal, in a final in which they clearly dominated and were much better than the Catalonians. Rudy Fernández (22 points and 25 in assessment) and Jaycee Carroll (17 points in 17 minutes) led a superior Real Madrid to their second Super Cup in history, the first in this format. They'll go undefeated into the Liga next Sunday.
Both teams went into the match looking for their best attack strategies. Madrid, faithful to their style of play, started out running and scoring from outside. Laso included Slaughter in the first five in place of Begic in order to match Barcelona's inside play with Lorbek and Tomic. Although the two Barcelona centres were the ones to galvanize their team in the first moments (6-5, min. 3), the Whites soon took control of the match thanks to a great show from the three-point line. They scored six three-pointers in this quarter, with an omnipresent Fernández (eight points including two three-pointers) and the inspired Llull and Mirotic (14 points between them), putting them ahead on the scoreboard. A three-pointer from Reyes on the buzzer concluded a great quarter for Real Madrid (23-30, min. 10).
The Whites played two quite different games in the second quarter. The started out as they had finished the first quarter, with Carroll and Reyes punishing the rival defense. The captain's work in the paint, getting the better of Jawai, was key to Madrid reaching their maximum advantage after a slam dunk from Begic in the 15th (29-40), forcing Xavi Pascual to stop the match with a time out.
Barcelona came back and managed to slow down Madrid's play, grinding them to a halt in offence. The Catalonians were able to find gaps in an intense but slightly messy Real Madrid defence. Rabaseda and Ingles scored from outside, while Jawai dominated in the paint with his 127 kilos due to the Slaughter's absence after his two fouls. Between them they put Barcelona back in the game before halftime (43-44, min. 20).
The break did a world of good for Laso's team. They recovered their direct and upbeat play with Llull and Rudy taking responsibility for attack. In defense, Slaughter's great performance against Jawai allowed his team to regain a comfortable lead of roughly ten points, which they maintained going into the final ten minutes. Madrid would have finished the third quarter with a greater advantage if it hadn't been for two three-pointers from Rabaseda and Lorbek which kept their hopes up (56-65, min. 30).
This Real Madrid team is certainly hungry for titles and achieving great things. This was made more than clear in the last quarter. In barely three minutes they offered another stellar performance in attack. A three-point play from Suárez, which sent Mickeal off with four personal fouls, led to a decisive 6-16 partial score with Carroll and Rudy crushing their rival from the perimeter (62-78, min. 34). The Balearic Island small forward is destined to lead the Whites. His presence was a terrible burden for Barcelona, who were sent flying in the following minutes, overwhelmed by a team that had been superior on the Príncipe Felipe court (84-95, min. 40).