REPORT | 14/01/2020 | Edu BuenoThe Whites waned as the game progressed in a contest that was decided in the final minute.
- Matchday 19
The Whites made a solid start right from the off. Aggressive defending (fine work from Campazzo on James with Tavares providing an intimidating presence), dominating on rebounds and sinking treys (four in the opening stanza) saw the team capitalise on three of its strengths. This strong start led to the guests calling the shots with Thompkins and Campazzo pacing the attack (9 and 7 points respectively). The first quarter ended 14-21 and the valoration of 6-24 reflected the madridistas' superiority. Another good piece of news in this half was the return of Deck and Llull.
Madrid always on top
The game plan executed by Laso's men was working, although had the offense delivered in the second quarter the difference would have been significant because defensively the team continued to look really strong. CKSA was limited to just 26 points in the first half, 10 of which came from free-throws. Hilliard was pacing the hosts. A Reyes trey saw Madrid establish the biggest lead of the night, a +11 in the 12th minute (14-26), which would be repeated in a stanza clearly dominated by the defenses: 12-12 (26-33, min. 20). The match was proving to be a low-scoring contest between two of the competition's leading scorers.
In the midst of this lack of clarity in offense from both teams, James stepped up to the plate for CSKA. He made eight points as a part of a 10-0 run that saw Itoudis's charges turn the match around at the halfway stage of the third stanza against a Real Madrid team that failed to put points on the board between the18th and 25th minutes (36-33). From then on, the pace of the game increased. The Whites began to hit back in reply to the Russians' baskets, with Thompkins, Madrid's leading scorer at this stage (14), again posting points, to head into the final throws with the scores tied (43-43, min, 30).
Outcome decided in final minute
The remainder of the contest was a hard-fought battle that featured more desire than quality. The script wasn't about to change at this stage of the game and whichever team got things right now would go on to take victory. Real Madrid put up a fight with a good spell from Laprovittola to go into the final minute at 55-54. Campazzo failed to make a triple and in the very next play, Hilliard sunk a trey for CSKA, who ended up putting the result beyond reach from the personal-foul line (60-55, min. 40).