REPORT | 07/03/2019 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Pedro CastilloA superb display by the Whites gave the Turkish team no chance, as Llull, Randolph and Tavares all topped 20 in PIR.
- Matchday 25
Fenerbahçe flew out the blocks strong in offense, sinking every ball from the three-point line and dominating the rebound. This saw them steam into a 10-19 lead with 6 minutes gone. Randolph looked isolated in the madridista offense (8 of the 10 points for his team). That dominance was nipped in the bud though, as Laso called a time-out which brought the Whites to their senses. They upped their aggression in defense, closing out the rebound and the exterior threat. Llull, Randolph, who ended the quarter with 11 points and PIR of 14, and Tavares came to the fore as the key men in a 13-4 run to turn the scores around in three minutes (27-25, min. 9).
The Whites' bench has the edge
Real Madrid's second unit brought with them extra intensity and increased the pace, putting the Turkish offense under greater strain, with only Ali finding the net. Taylor was the visible leader of a fine defensive performance by the whole team (he caused two turnovers and took four rebounds), as the run continued to 24-6 at the start of the second quarter (34-25, min. 12). The hosts were almost flawless, producing a passing exhibition (17 assists to the visitors' 7), and with superb pace and a 70,8% success rate around the hoop, they overwhelmed Obradovic's men, though Melli kept them within touching distance. The maximum came up at 45-35 on 17’ and the Whites hit 52 against the tournament's best defense before half-time.
As the teams came out from the dressing rooms after the break, there was renewed calm in both offenses. Real Madrid maintained their advantage on a basis of a strong defense, responding well to any visiting forays, which almost always came through Sloukas. As minute 26 ticked around, the scores were at 62-56, Laso's men having netted 62 points... with only three treys! It was here that Llull took charge of the game and Real Madrid unleashed the knock-out blow on the league leaders. The point guard hit two consecutive triples, the second with foul included, and joined forces with the imposing Tavares in the paint (3 blocks). He laid on 6 assists in a third quarter which ended 25-16 to move the scores to 77-61 on 30’. 77 points and rising.
Madrid at their best
The Whites were enjoying themselves now and managed their advantage brilliantly to move almost 20 points clear in the final quarter. Fenerbahçe were able to evade the madridista defense somewhat but were helpless against their attack, which continued to punish, now through Carroll, Taylor and Ayón. The WiZink Center enjoyed the very best version of its team, a Real Madrid side who made a real statement of intent against the Euroleague leaders. The Whites are now just two wins behind the Turkish team, and one from securing home-court advantage (101-86, min. 40).