REPORT | 10/01/2019 | Nacho Díaz | PHOTOGRAPHER: Antonio VillalbaThe Whites put in a great performance to take their fifteenth Euroleague win.
- Matchday 18
The match began with a turnover for Real Madrid but their sloppiness didn't last long. A break-neck early period followed in what was a gripping encounter from the off. Without the threat posed by Milutinov, the Greeks were reliant on his replacement, Bogris. They were looking sharp in the paint too, with eight consecutive points. Neither that, nor the following five netted by Spanoulis were enough to throw Madrid off their stride though, as they continued to enjoy a range of options in offense (points for seven different players): triples from the corner, seamless movement of the ball to find the space, or the Ayón-Reyes duo running riot in the paint. The quarter ended in fine fashion with a Campazzo triple (28-23).
First offensive surge for the Whites
The relentless point-scoring pace continued, with Madrid always just in front, edging up to a 70% three-point success-rate at times. The presence of Tavares was key for the madridistas (7 points without missing) while Olympiacos were staying in the game through their own impressive efforts from the 6.75, an athletic Leday and points from the hands of Williams-Goss. That was before the second unit, headed by Campazzo, Causeur and Thompkins, knocked the Greeks for six with a +13 (54-41), before a 7-0 run in the 18th minute. Blatt's men refused to fall though, and came back with a 0-5 to close out the first half (54-46).
Taylor and Laso called for better control of the rebound and increased intensity during the break. And Ayón certainly paid attention, coming out for a third quarter in which he battered the Greek team to take nine points and four rebounds. Printezis kept the visitors in it, moving them to within six points on a couple of occasions, but it was the connection between Campazzo and the Mexican ace which gave the Whites their top advantage once again (+13, 71-58). Olympiacos went into the final quarter ten down as the clash finally lost the incredible point-scoring pace of the first twenty minutes (72-63).
Real Madrid were keen to avoid any surprises against a team who knew they were coming into the closing stretch with options. Bogris and Williams-Goss pushed hard, but it was Randolph and Rudy who ensured the scales tipped in the Whites' favour. The American saved his best until last with a wonderful quarter (10 points, 2 triples), stifling Blatt's men's resistance with two recoveries in defense. The deficit continued to increase, from eleven to nineteen without respite, until Leday restored an element of pride for his team. Ultimately, the European champions ran out convincing winners with Campazzo' third triple (faultless on the night) to put the basket average over Olympiacos back in their favour (94-78).