NEWS | 04/05/2021 | Edu BuenoThe team goes in search of victory in the fifth and final game in Istanbul to complete an unprecedented comeback in EuroLeague playoff history (6:45pm CET).
Following a tough season that has been full of setbacks, Pablo Laso's charges are just one win away from clinching a spot in the Final Four. Just 13 days ago, the Whites were pretty much out of the competition and now have the chance to round off a heroic playoff campaign. On the two occasions in which the madridistas have been involved in a series that has gone to a fifth match, they have prevailed, against Olympiacos in the 2013/14 season and Power Electronics Valencia in 2010/11. The guests have now shifted all of the pressure on to the Turks, who made the final two seasons ago and was ranked as favourites last time out before the pandemic broke out.
How will the fifth game pan out? It’s difficult to say. Both teams know each other inside out, but there’s always room for a surprise. Anadolu Efes was heavily dominant in the first two contests, before Real Madrid reacted by producing a host of magical moments to regain its confidence. The key to this match-up will be the intensity levels, a facet that for Laso is a basic element of any performance. The rest will all come down to just how inspired the big names are, the likes of Llull, Rudy, Carroll, Larkin, Micic and Beaubouis, etc. Whilst it remains to be seen whether Thompkins, who was injured in Game 4, will be involved and a possible return for Tavares, Garuba is set to once again play a key role. His massive rise in this series, in which he has averaged 12 points and 7.3 rebounds, has been pivotal in the Whites’ fightback. However, we mustn’t forget Tyus, whose disciplined approach and power has helped to make up for the Cape Verde man’s absence in the paint.
Experience should shine through
At this stage and with the teams level pegging, elements like experience can be crucial in the fifth game. There’ll be no nerves in the Real Madrid camp. The club has contested 51 playoff matches to Anadolu Efes’ 28 and has posted the second-highest number of wins in such matches, behind CSKA Moscow (29), with this evening’s opponents having won 11. Madrid now needs one final push to keep on rewriting the history books and add to the legacy of Europe’s most decorated club.