09 October 2012
Real Madrid drew its North American experience to a close against the Toronto Raptors with another great game and one for which they didn't reap the rewards of their work during the 48 minutes, to a large extent due to a decision by the referee in the last quarter when the clash was being decided. The team, led by Pablo Laso, once again gave a very good image and competed until the end with all its players contributing to the effort, especially Mirotic with 17 points and 12 rebounds and Martynas Pocius with 15 points. Despite not coming across victory on this tour, the Whites will return to Madrid knowing that they are able to face the world's best teams and are ready to begin a passionate Euroleague this Friday, where they will begin as one of the big favorites.
Madrid came out in the Air Canada Center with extraordinary force and from the very first moment they ruled the pace of the game. At the beginning they scored. They defended, ran and scored. And they did it offering a show to spectators with an alley-oop for Rudy's shot and three blocks in the same move, causing the 200 Real Madrid fans there to get up out of their seats. All their players had scored. Under the lead of an electric Llull, with Carroll striking from a distance and the duo Mirotic and Begic imposing themselves under the hoops, they managed to take the lead by 10 points at the 7' (10-20).
The timeout called by the Raptors halted Real Madrid's winning streak. All the work done by the Whites all went out of the window when they let their guard down for five minutes. When Kleiza and, especially a strong Johnson came on in the four position, the Canadians' game improved. The power forward dominated the rebound and with their seven points they took a 21-2 lead in the quarter between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second to turn things around on the scoreboard (31-22, 14th minute).
Pablo Laso shook up the bench, searching for solutions. He got Draper and Rodríguez to appear together on the court. Madrid won back the positiveness of the beginning of the game. It was the North American point guard which gave Real Madrid their thrashing. Slaughter took part in another alley-oop and made his team-mates play, finding good shooting positions. Three consecutive three-points from Draper, Rudy and Pocius ended the quarter with 9-22 (40-33, min. 20) which brought an end to the first half which finished with a score of 50-48 to the Raptors.
The stop in the changing rooms improved the points for both teams. Both teams sought out their best offensive method in their long distance shots. The Raptors first did it with triple pointers from Calderón, Bargnani and Field and various actions by Lucas, to take a lead of 10 points (62-52, min. 29). However, the Whites were at ease on the court and quickly got rid of the disadvantage with a hyperactive Pocius, a player who always scores for his team. The Lithuanian player led the team in attack. His seven points and the good work by Felipe Reyes, giving his all to the very last moment, kept the game equal at the end of the third quarter (75-73, min. 36).
Real Madrid began the last quarter with all hopes of fighting for victory. What they did not expect at this point was for the referee to interfere. Fitzgerald, number 35, wanted to become the main star of the game. It already happened in Memphis, but the judgment of this referee changed the outcome of the clash last night. His incomprehensible decisions, including a technical decision affecting Mirotic, unhinged the Whites and gave their rivals a new force with an improved Anderson. These circumstances and the good decisions by Ross, with three triple pointers, was decisive and made it impossible for the Whites to be able to win after having done a great job for 48 minutes (102-95).