REPORT | 04/05/2021 | Edu Bueno | PHOTOGRAPHER: Euroleague.netThe team was downed in the final seconds of Game 5 of the playoff series against Anadolu Efes in Istanbul.
- 5 (Playoff)
- Tue, 04 May
Real Madrid came out all guns blazing at Istanbul's Sinan Erdem. Thompkins and Tavares were amongst the 12 and the same starting quintet began the match as in Game 4. Both teams made a high-octane start in offense with Micic and Singleton starring for the hosts and Alocén and Carroll shining for the guests. The Aragonese playmaker was performing excellently (seven points in a row, three assists and two rebounds), supported by the shooting guard (a further seven), and the team countered the Turks' initial surge and hit the front in the fifth minute at 14-17. The visitors held on to the advantage for the remainder of the first stanza thanks to the team's defensive intensity with alternating possession and Laso continually rotating his team (18-21).
Madrid on front foot
Both teams continued to try to gain control but failed in their efforts. Simon enjoyed a good spell and his seven straight points put the hosts in front (31-27, min.15), but Madrid was doing a lot of good things and all of the players were doing their jobs perfectly. Garuba, Tavares and Taylor were dominating on defensive rebounds, whilst Llull, Rudy, Thompkins and Laprovittola were pacing the team in attack from the perimeter (five treys in the second quarter). Five points from the power forward and excellent defensive work on Simon and Larkin, who failed to score any points before the interval, inspired a first major run. A 2-12 run following a 2+1 from the Argentine saw Madrid register the biggest lead of the night +6 (33-39) and take the quarter (36-41.min.20).
The Turks produced a swift response. With Micic pacing the team and the emergence of Beaubois, the home team managed to turn the scoreline around at the start of the third stanza against a Real Madrid team that was now making more mistakes. The Whites found themselves 12 points down in virtually no time at 57-45 in the 26th minute and facing a tough situation. However, the team once again showed all of its character and pride. The guests rediscovered defensive strength with Tavares an intimidating presence and between Llull and Thompkins, the latter sunk two triples, they hauled themselves back following another trey from Laprovittola in a 5-17 run in the next five minutes (62-62, min.32).
Decisive last minute
The points made by Singleton sought to play havoc with Madrid’s focus, but Garuba, Rudy and Laprovittola countered Anadolu Efes’ surges. In the 24th minute, Real Madrid completed the comeback to make it 68-69 and set up a thrilling end to the series. The teams traded triples with Larkin now pacing Ataman’s troops, but Madrid was producing a real team effort. Abalde and Tavares drew Madrid level in the 80th minute with a minute remaining, but a triple from distance from Simon put Efes three points ahead at 83-80 with 38 seconds to play. That was a real blow. In the next plays, Llull missed with a triple and the hosts put the game to bed from the free-throw line (88-83, min. 40). It wasn’t meant to be, but everyone connected to Real Madrid can be proud of a team that always stands up and is counted. It’s now a case of focusing on the league and continuing to rewrite the history books, starting with Sunday’s match-up against Valencia Basket (6:30pm CET).