REPORT | 29/04/2021 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Víctor CarreteroThe team defeated Anadolu Efes with a 23-4 run from 13 points down with 7 minutes left to play. Garuba was imperious (24 points, 12 rebounds and PIR of 30).
- 4 (Playoff)
- Thu, 29 Apr
Real Madrid have completed a stunning turnaround in the Euroleague play-off in the space of 48 hours, winning the fourth match against Anadolu Efes at the WiZink Center to level the tie and force a fifth and deciding game in Istanbul (Tuesday 4, 7:30pm CEST). The team showed what they were made of once more, proving that the greater the challenge, the higher they rise. They were forced to produce a heroic comeback yet again, overturning a 13-point deficit in the final 7 minutes thanks to a 23-4 run. The madridistas had started the game strongly but fell behind as the minutes ticked by, only for an inspired Garuba to pick them up with his best performance in a Whites' jersey (24 points, 12 rebounds and PIR of 30). Carroll was another key man, with 20 points of his own. A place in the Final Four will be decided in Istanbul.
Well aware of what was at stake, the team flew at the blocks as if it were quite literally life or death, to deliver a quite spectacular first five minutes. They raced into a 17-0 lead, displaying remarkable energy with their zonal defense and with Carroll purring in offense. Seven consecutive points (11 in the quarter) for the guard and another 5 for Garuba had Anadolu Efes on the ropes early on. The madridistas' trance-like state wasn't to last much longer though and the gas seemed to run out following such a blistering opening spell. The Turkish side sensed their chance and began to grow into the game towards the end of the first period (19-13, min. 10).
The visitors take control
The opposition really stepped up as Laso's men looked deflated in a second quarter defined by a stellar Beaubois display, finishing the first half with 19 points, alongside Anadolu Efes' impressive three-point success rate (7). Madrid were struggling to keep pace with their rivals' offensive rhythm, in no small part due to their turnovers. Rudy hit two triples at the start of the quarter, dragging the team up in offense alongside Tyus to cut the opposition's 16-point lead just before the break to 36-47 thanks to a 5-0 run on the buzzer.
Real Madrid rediscovered their mojo at the start of the third quarter with Carroll and Garuba leading from the front once again. At 40-53 with 22 on the clock, two triples for the American and two Garuba dunks breathed life into the team, sending them on an 11-2 run to move within 4 points (51-55, min.24). But they were playing at the limit now (without Tavares again) and that's just when Micic, quiet on the night, came to the fore to stave off the fightback. The Whites' character and sense of pride mean they're never likely to throw in the towel, though, and two consecutive three-pointers from Abalde and Thompkins closed out the quarter at 57-66.
Another unbelievable comeback
The team continued to row against the tide, as Larkin led the opposition to a 13-point lead at 59-72 on 33'. But Ataman's men knew that when it comes to Real Madrid, all is never lost. And so it proved yet again. This team's faith knows no bounds, they never know when they are beaten. It comes with this jersey, this badge. Even an injury to Thompkins wasn't enough to throw them off as Garuba stepped up. The 19-year-old academy graduate (in his best performance for the team, a PIR of 30) took charge of the paint and made light work of Dunston. Spearheaded by their inspired youngster, alongside Rudy's intelligence, Abalde's grit and Llull's leadership, the Whites pulled off another remarkable comeback. History repeated itself with a 23-4 run inside seven minutes, completed from the free throw line, to see Madrid run out 82-76 winners. Forty minutes now separate Laso's men from the Final Four - time to make history in Istanbul on Tuesday.