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     10/30/2019
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Real Madrid - Herbalife Gran Canaria

89-76: Real Madrid rolls sleeves up in defense to retain unbeaten EuroLeague record

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REPORT | 20/11/2018 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero

The Whites recorded an eighth straight win with a double-doubel from Randolph (20 points and 10 rebounds) on Thompkins' return.
  • Euroleague
  • Matchday 8
  • 20/11/2018
Wizink Center
89
76
Real Madrid continues its quest to equal their best-ever start to a EuroLeague campaign, which came with 13 straight wins in the 2013/14 season. The Whites recorded their eighth victory in a row at the WiZink Center in a double-round week which sees them head to Athens in 48 hours' time to take on Olympiacos. The big news from the Madrid camp was the return of Thompkins after his two-month absence. Pablo Laso's men won the game thanks to a fine defensive showing from the second stanza onwards. Randolph (20 points, 10 rebounds and a PIR of 26) was the EuroLeague leaders' top performer, whilst there were also standout performances from Rudy (PIR of 18 and three) and Prepelic (13 points en 14 minutes).

The madridistas had to weather a rip-roaring start from Gran Canaria, who managed to take an eight-point lead (17-25, min. 9). Strawberry, with 13 points, was at the heart of the guests' fine offensive run, which ended with 28 points to the hosts' 22. Two fouls from Tavares meant an earlier-than-expected competitive debut this season for Thompkins, whose last match was the title-clinching game in Vitoria on 19 June).

Upping things in defense
The needed to put in a good performance in defense to stand up to opponents who had a 60% success rate from the 6.75m line. The introduction of Prepelic and Deck gave Real Madrid greater aggression and the home team now wasn't allowing easy shots and gradually began to gain the upper hand on rebounds. The Slovenian moved his teammates around well from his position of point guard and also chipped in as he sunk nine points in offense. The link-up with Reyes (five points and four rebounds), the ability to be patient in offense and a run of 9-0, paced by Randolph, who was the Whites' leading light in the first half (12 points), saw the team head in at the break 47-43 up after a stellar second quarter (25-15).

Rudy has claimed eighth spot in the EuroLeague's all-time steal rankings.

Laso's men's dominance in the statistics, where they led Gran Canaria by 20 points in the valoration stakes, wasn't ultimately being reflected on the scoreboard. However, the complexion of the game changed from the 22nd minute. With the teams level at 47, Real Madrid pushed ahead as they produced its best form in defense, which is Europe's best. The hosts limited the guests to four points in seven minutes, with the insurmountable Tavares (three blocks) and good work from Taylor on Hannah. During this spell, Madrid ripped up a 13-0 run through Randolph and Campazzo to establish the biggest lead of the night on 27' (60-49). The Canary Islanders were given some respite with the contribution of Báez ahead of the decisive fourth stanza. (62-57 min. 30).

Real commitment
Real Madrid regained its focus in defense at the start of the final quarter and claimed a run of 13-5 to make it 75-62 in the 36th minute. CarrollPrepelicRudy (6 rebounds), a Randolph recording a double-double (20 points and 10 rebounds)… Everyone was putting a shift to the great delight of the WiZink Center faithful, who were revelling in their team's performance. Paulí tried to give Gran Canaria a lift, but the pacesetters overcame its opponents with a final run of 29-19 to record an eighth EuroLeague win (89-76, min. 40). In 48 hours' time, the Whites face off against Olympiacos in Greece.

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