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Real Madrid - Valencia Basket

79-66: Real Madrid move to within one win of the final

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REPORT | 08/06/2019 | Nacho Díaz | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor Carretero

The Whites came from thirteen down to beat Valencia Basket once again and take the second point in the play-off.
  • Playoff Liga Endesa
  • Semi Final (Game 2)
  • 08/06/2019
WiZink Center
Nobody said it would be as easy as the first clash; and it was not. Real Madrid had to dig very deep (thirteen points down at the start of the second quarter), to clinch the second point in the tie and move to within one win of a place in another Endesa League final. The play-off now heads to La Fonteta (Monday, 9:00pm CEST) with all the pressure on Valencia Basket after they looked stronger than Thursday at the WiZink Center but ultimately collapsed against the Whites' onslaught led by the tremendous Llull in the second quarter.

The game started at a much slower pace than on Thursday and that hurt Madrid more than Valencia. The visitors looked the more focused of the two sides and took the initiative until a 7-0 Whites' run led by Rudy  (5 points, 1 steal) put Laso's men ahead. Far from being daunted though, the away team came back with a blast and romped to a 2-13 run which saw them finish the first ten minutes with a considerable lead (14-22).

Llull proves his worth
It was a spell of offensive stagnation for the Whites, continuing to reach the game's highest deficit, +13 (14-27). Laso saw he had to call on all his attacking firepower, bringing on Llull, Carroll and Thompkins, to try and break the opposition defense from the outside. The latter paved the way with a super triple and Llull followed his lead. Two baskets from the Mallorca-born man reduced the gap but Valencia Basket, who were struggling for freshness now, refused to buckle. There was then another Thompkins triple, one for TaylorAyón then came to the fore, before Llull took it up a whole other level. A level which saw three triples head a 21-4 run which stunned Valencia and sent the WiZink Center wild (42-36).

Reyes played his 1,000th Madrid match.

The visitors continued to leak points as Real Madrid went for the jugular. The Whites' defense were sticking to their task well and the team began to find more space to run into. Another great run to kick off the quarter (13-2), this time led by Campazzo, Randolph, Tavares and Taylor, resulted in the scores moving to +17 (55-38). Valencia Basket did recover somewhat as they looked to go into the final period with a chance. They did get closer but with Ayón extremely active in Tavares' absence following four fouls and a Campazzo triple on the buzzer, it looked all but out of the visitors' reach (68-52).

Reyes hits the 1,000 mark
Real Madrid were not overconfident and carried out with their breakneck pace up top. Now it was time for a hyperactive Carroll to step into the Whites' offense to maintain the advantage at over fifteen points. And as the coaches range the changes, one would go down in Whites' history and that of Spanish basketball. With 4:52 to go, Reyes took to the court to make his 1,000th appearance in a Real Madrid jersey. It's a figure he can continue to add to next Monday at La Fonteta, where Laso's side could clinch a place in the League final.