REPORT | 26/12/2019 | Edu BuenoThe Whites were superior to Panathinaikos, putting in a superb performance. Tavares (32 PIR) and Randolph (24) were standout players.
- Matchday 16
Real Madrid closed out the year in the Euroleague in spectacular fashion with an eleventh consecutive win as they thrashed Panathinaikos in Athens. Laso's men came out on top in a tough clash at the OAKA with a solid display, stretching their lead to 19 points at more than one stage and restricting the competition's best offense. The duo of Tavares (14 points, 14 rebounds and 32 PIR, equalling his best Whites' performance)-Randolph (22 points and 24 PIR) led a fine team performance, as Causeur and Taylor also hit double digits.
Intensity, emotion, a hard-fought clash which has become a classic in recent years. The first quarter had no real dominant force. Panathinaikos started strongly with 8 points from Fredette to make it 16-11 halfway through. But Real Madrid held up under pressure. Tavares was the standout man for his team, conditioning the Greeks' game by his mere presence (6 points, 5 rebounds and 15 PIR) and generating second chances on the offensive rebound. Laprovittola came on for Campazzo and Randolph upped the level in attack (8 points with 2 triples) to wrest the initiative from the hosts and see Laso's men put together a 2-11 run and take the scores to 18-24, min. 11.
Solidity from Madrid
The Whites would remain ahead for the rest of the first half on the basis of industrious teamwork. They continued with their superb defensive efforts against the competition's best attack, restricting them to just 34 points at the break. Fredette pulled Pitino's side back into the game but it wasn't enough against a free-scoring Real Madrid team. Well led by Laprovittola, who also notched points himself (7 points), they moved the ball to find the best option time and again. Thompkins (8 points in the quarter) also stepped up, alongside Causeur, Rudy and Mickey in the paint. The American was a luxury sub for Tavares. The visitors stretched their advantage to +12, but it fell to 10 after a Calathes basket on the buzzer (34-44).
Campazzo and Taylor joined the ranks after the restart with Real Madrid beginning to display the depth of their squad as their point-scoring pace continued, up to a dominant 39-57 with 24 on the clock. Panathinaikos' pride was wounded, and Calathes forced a reaction. The Whites had to contend with him and a fine spell for the Greeks up top, coupled with a fan base which added extra spice to an already hotly contested clash. The lead was cut to just 8 points at the end of the third quarter (58-66, min. 30).
The Whites confirm their superiority
Coming away from the OAKA is never easy. Only Milan and Alba Berlin had managed it in this campaign. Roared on by their fans, Panathinaikos did their best to up the pressure. Try as they might though, they came up time and again against a disciplined Real Madrid, fully focused at the back and with an answer to anything the hosts had to throw at them. Randolph sunk a triple followed by a spectacular dunk; Tavares was strong on the offensive rebound and owning the paint (14 rebounds) and Causeur (another two triples) scored for fun, to round off an impressive win in the year's final Euroleague encounter. Next up, El Clásico at the Palau.