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Real Madrid extends unbeaten run at WiZink Center

MATCH REPORT. 15/10/2021. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

Panathinaikos defeated to complete 100% record from Euroleague double-header. Tavares, 31 in PIR.

Real Madrid continued its unbeaten run at the WiZinK Center after defeating Panathinaikos to claim a third EuroLeague victory, and a second of the week after prevailing against Monaco just 48 hours before. The Whites got off to a blistering start in attack, producing a 35-18 run in the first 14 minutes, which once again proved to be decisive along with another solid defensive display, conceding just 65 points to the Greeks. Tavares, with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 31 in PIR, led the team with a sublime display, along with Abalde (16), Yabusele (14) and Poirier (10), who also produced double-digit scoring. It’s now a total of six wins out of six in combined league and EuroLeague action. The players must now turn their attention to the domestic competition for Sunday’s visit to Río Breogán (5 pm CET).
 
Another superb start from Real Madrid set the pace of the match. Pablo Laso had spoken in the pre-match press conference about the need for concentration and his players responded well to the demand to show solidity in defence, whilst being sharp on the rebound and quick to hit the Greeks on the counter-attack. These three components allowed the team to move into a 14-3 lead in the third minute of play to stun Panathinaikos, whilst sending the visitors’ star forward, Papapetrou, to the bench. The Whites were fluent in attack as they sublimely passed the ball (7 assists) and racked up the points from the three-point line (4/6). Abalde put on a stellar display in the first quarter with 12 points, while Yabusele scored 8 and Madrid ended the first quarter 30-18 up after a three-pointer by Llull on the buzzer.
 
Madridistas in control
Pablo Laso’s charges were now in total control of the game. With Poirier and Tavares on the court, the hosts dominated the play and the coach’s continuous rotations allowed the team to play with high intensity in defence and at a blistering pace on the counter-attack. They prevented Panathinaikos from scoring for an entire six minutes at the start of the second quarter, as Madrid went 35-18 clear. The lead could have been increased even more had it been for more precision in attack. The Greeks, who had found some joy from the home side’s ball losses, fought back with Papagiannis, Nedovic and Perry producing the goods in attack to get back to 12 points from Madrid (42-30).

Video.88-65: Real Madrid extends unbeaten run at WiZink Center

After the re-start, the pace of the match resembled that of the game against Monaco. Panathinaikos was more aggressive and Madrid more lethargic in attack. The visitors broke the ten-point barrier to get to 47-39 mid-way through the third quarter. But the hosts kept the focus in defence and the side soon upped its game in attack. A slam-dunk by Yabusele and then one by Tavares, after fine link-up play with Heurtel, installed more confidence in the team and in turn more drive in offence. Seven consecutive points from Causeur nullified a fine Macon Jr., who had rallied the Greek side, as the teams ended the third quarter with the same difference keeping them apart (62-50).
 
Madrid pulls clear in final quarter
The Athens side’s hopes of a comeback were spurred on in the 31st minute.  An unsportsmanlike foul by Williams-Goss handed the visitors two free throws that were converted by Perry to move them to 62-52. However, Madrid made sure that was as close as they would get. Llull and Rudy showed they were once again unphased by the pressure by hitting a series of three-pointers. The captain’s three-pointer followed by two more from the small forward, along with fine work by Poirier and Tavares in the paint and sublime defensive work put the hosts 17 points ahead with five minutes to play (74-57). The Whites then cruised through the final minutes to defeat Panathinaikos by 23 points in what was another sensational team display (88-65, min. 40).

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