REPORT | 22/02/2015 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero (Gran Canaria)Real Madrid lift the trophy for the 25th time in their history after beating Barcelona in the last minute. Rudy (16 points and a PIR of 26), is named as tournament MVP.
- Copa del Rey
The set ups for the final were defensive. Neither team was willing to give anything away. For Madrid, the work of the Reyes-Ayón pairing on Tomic, leaving him with 0 points for the quarter, and the huge presence of Rudy (5 points, 3 assists), also cancelling out Hezonja, allowed them to go ahead in the first quarter (11-14, min. 8). The entry of Abrines (two three-pointers) and points from Satoransky (7) broke the dominating sense of evenness with an 8-3 run (21-17, min. 10).
In the second quarter, Pascual's men began to get an advantage with their favourite play, the pick & roll between Huertas and Tomic. The Croatian center woke up, scoring 13 points in the quarter and he began to do damage to the Madrid defence. A 2+1 from him put Barcelona 7 points up in the 18th minute (42-35).
Rudy keeps Madrid in the game
However, Laso's men once again showed the mental fortitude that had got them to the final. Just like in the semi-final against Joventut, Laso used Maciulis and Bourousis to strengthen the Whites' game. And so, along with Nocioni's commitment (two hugely important blocks) and Rudy showing his best defensive form (four steals and a PIR of 19 at half-time), Madrid sprinted into the final stretch of the quarter with a 6-0 run, that finished with a steal and dunk from the Mallorcan forward that had fans on their feet in the Gran Canaria Arena (42-41, min. 20).
From the beginning of the game, the attacking game was played out close to the ring. Madrid were having a bad day in terms of three-point shooting (1/10 at half-time). Barcelona were not having a great time either (3/18) but they did have attacking rebounds in their arsenal (twice the number of their opponent). Doellman and Tomic especially, were getting the better of the Madrid centers, while Rudy was doing everything for Madrid (52-47, min. 26).
Two three-pointers change the game's dynamic
Madrid began to score from outside the three-point area and to equal the number of rebounds and things changed drastically for them. They enjoyed their best minutes. A three-pointer from Rudy and another immediately after by Nocioni for a toal of three, including one from Maciulis, along with great work from Ayón scoring under the hoop and stopping Tomic (10 points), led to a 5-11 run with a hook shot from the Mexican on the buzzer that turned the game around (57-64, min. 30).
All set another heart-stopping final quarter
Barcelona worked themselves to exhaustion with Thomas, Satoransky and the emergence of Navarro in the final stage of the game; Madrid held them back with Maciulis and Sergio Rodríguez. The tension of playing for the title really started to show. Slaughter had to be everywhere for the Whites to ease the absences of Ayón and Reyes due to personal fouls (four from the captain) in another game where the opponents were often to be found at the free-throw line, with some controversial decisions. Navarro took advantage of a technical foul to level the score at 71 all.
Hungry for titles
Madrid put everything they had into defence. They fought tooth and nail and drowned out Barcelona with a great defence over the next two blaugrana attacks. Two free-throws from Maciulis and a penetrating breakthrough from El Chacho with seven seconds remaining almost decided the game at 71-75, and Nocioni added the finishing touch with two free-throws (71-77, min. 40). Madrid take the title again with Florentino Pérez watching from the Royal Box at the Gran Canaria Arena.
FC BARCELONA 71 (21+21+15+14): Satoransky (11), Oleson (4), Hezonja (0), Doellman (11), Tomic (25) -starting five-; Huertas, Abrines (7), Navarro (6), Thomas (7), Lampe, Nachbar, Pleiss.
REAL MADRID 77 (18+23+23+13): Llull, Carroll (5), Rudy Fernández (16), Ayón (10) and Reyes (8) -starting five-; S. Rodríguez (10), Campazzo, Maciulis (8), Rivers (2), Nocioni (10), Bourousis (4) and Slaughter (4).