REPORT | 17/05/2019 | Edu Bueno (Vitoria) | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor CarreteroThe Whites were leading by 14 points in the third quarter, only to be outdone by CSKA, who converted 18 free throws.
- Semi Final
Intensity, toughness and tension from the off. We could expect nothing less from a semi-final between two teams with 17 titles between them. Real Madrid took the initiative thanks to their dominating the rebound thanks to a powerful Tavares (6 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and a PIR of 15 in the first quarter) and Randolph looking sprightly (5 and 4 rebounds). The pair did well in the paint against the Russian side. They held off De Colo and despite picking up a lot of fouls early on, the Whites took an early lead on minute 8, making it 11-22.
Real Madrid go up against Chacho
CSKA's reaction took the form of Sergio Rodríguez coming on. The Spanish guard was a breath of fresh air for his team, as he caused real trouble for the Whites. His 12 points in seven minutes, thanks to the help of Hines, started a comeback against Real Madrid who were choking on the three, netting just 3 of 9 (29-28, min. 15). Causeur and Thompkins went on a rampage, scoring 16 points (9 for the former and 7 for the latter) to go 6 up just a minute before the break. In the meantime, Clyburn sank several key shots, including a buzzer beating three to make it 43-45.
The third quarter was an out and out battle. The teams were trading blows as they looked to take the lead. CSKA pushed Real Madrid to the limit, as the referee's decisions simply would not fall for the Whites. Rudy received a technical following his fourth foul, but the team fought back to make it 48-51 against CSKA who were playing through De Colo. The fans backed the team to the hilt, and Laso's side showed grit and character, turning up the defensive efforts. Campazzo, Randolph and Causeur showed signs of their form back in Belgrade, with Causeur netting 7 points in a row to take Real Madrid to their biggest lead of the night at 51-65 on minute 27. The Whites ended up going +8, netting 28 points compared to 22 for their rivals.
A tough battle
Real Madrid held off CSKA thanks to Llull in the opening exchanges of the final quarter. It all looked to be under control but the Russian side pushed on through De Colo, Hunter and Clyburn to level the game at 80 with three minutes to go. The referees made life harder for the Whites. Laso picked up a technical and Campazzo was dismissed for a fifth foul With 32 personal fouls against them and 18 free throws less than their rivals, the Whites went three up, making it 82-85. De Colo cancelled that out, and the Whites tried in vain to turn it around until the final possession. Llull was unable to score the three that would have taken in to extra time (95-90, min. 40).