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Real Madrid fight back spectacularly to rack up 10th straight win

MATCH REPORT. 02/12/2021. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

Real Madrid fought back in a gruelling match against Maccabi which was decided with a basket by Yabusele three seconds from the buzzer.

Real Madrid picked up their tenth win in a row by beating Maccabi, a winning run that began on 31 October in Vitoria and has seen the team remain unbeaten for over a month. Today, the Whites secure the spoils against the Israelis in the 63rd meeting between the two sides, the most repeated matchup in EuroLeague history, where they have now clinched victory in six consecutive games this season. Our team had to dig deep to come through an extremely physical clash, in which they trailed by nine points with six minutes to go. A basket from Yabusele three seconds before the final buzzer secured the spoils for the hosts after a 16-7 run in the final stretch, spearheaded by Heurtel with seven crucial points. Pablo Laso reached yet another milestone, by taking charge of his 800th game as madridista coach on the same day that Abalde made his 100th appearance as a Madrid player.

Walter Tavares was presented with the November MVP trophy at the WiZink Center by one of Madrid's biggest legends, Clifford Luyk, and the home side got off to a flying start. The Whites were solid in defence, thanks to great work from Taylor and Tavares, and were clinical in attack (7 points from Yabusele and 5 from Hanga), as they took a 10-point lead in the 6th minute (18-8). Maccabi turned to their bench with Di Bartolomeo and Reynolds brought on to freshen up the team while the home side slowed down the pace of play, which allowed the visitors to edge closer at the end of the first quarter at 20-18.

An open game
The visitors continued to improve and after a three pointer from Wilbekin they managed to turn the score around at 24-25 at the start of the second quarter. Maccabi played very physically with Williams in the three position and two centers. Laso introduced Taylor again, with Rudy on the flanks, and Tavares and Poirier on the inside as a counterbalance. The contest then entered into a fierce battle for the initiative. With missed three-pointers and the opponent squeezing at the back, Madrid turned to November's MVP in attack. The hosts’ second three-pointer (one per quarter), by Rudy, brought the first half to a close at 37-38.

Video.72-70: Real Madrid fight back spectacularly to rack up 10th straight win

The second half got off to a faster start, but both sides struggled in offence. Maccabi eventually did better in attack, mainly in the final part of the third quarter, where they went on a 10-1 run with Evans and Blayzer leading the team. The Whites struggled to rack up the points and the visitors opened up their biggest lead of the game (nine points) at the end of the third quarter (50-59). Madrid improved with four small players on the court along with Poirier. The Frenchman made himself strong in the paint but the riposte came again through Wilbekin and Evans. The hosts couldn't reduce the deficit and with six minutes to go they trailed by nine points (56-63).

Real Madrid shine on big European nights
The challenge was enormous. Maccabi were pushing Madrid to the limit, but the home side was up for the challenge, remaining focussed and displaying the winning mentality this jersey carries. The Whites dug deep in defence led by a spectacular Causeur, at the same time as Heurtel put on a heroic performance - producing two three-pointer and, great defensive work to win back possession for the madridistas. Then another sublime basket from the point guard, who fired in a crucial seven points, rattled the opponent with a 12-4 run to go one up with just over a minute to go.

A three-pointer from Williams brought the score level at 70 with 13 seconds to play. Madrid had possession and they were not going to waste it. Yabusele drove unstoppably towards the hoop and fired home the winning basket, culminating a spectacular comeback and bringing the WiZink Center to its feet, after another magical night in Europe (72-70, min. 40). Real Madrid got off to a winning start in December. The leader returns to league action on Saturday after the international break with a visit to Zaragoza (8:45 pm CET).