Madrid produce another impressive fightback to remain unbeaten at the WiZink Center

MATCH REPORT. 02/02/2022. Edu Bueno

They were 16 points behind Olympiacos but turned it around with a sublime second-half performance to clinch a 12th consecutive home win in the Euroleague.

Real Madrid were the victors in the 34th instalment of this historic Euroleague rivalry with Olympiacos, thanks to another memorable and magical European night. A hugely impressive win, especially given the opposition, and the fact it required a 16-point turnaround with a stunning second half. The final two minutes of the game were breathtaking, a 10-2 run which also serves to put basket average in our team's favour. Tavares (11 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks and a PIR of 24), Heurtel (20 points and 20 PIR) and Yabusele (11+9 and 17) led the side to an eighth successive win and the twelfth at the WiZink Center in the competition. We remain unbeaten at home in the Euroleague and top the table halfway through this week's double-header.

With both teams giving away very little in defense, the first quarter began with no real dominant force. Points were hard to come by, the pace was frenetic but accuracy was low. Olympiacos were making the most of the madridistas' turnovers to score on the counter, while Heurtel, with two triples, provided the antidote for the hosts. The level nature of the scores remained until the final minute of the period, when the Greeks posted 5 successive points to finish a 10-15 run in their favour.

Madrid were still struggling to score freely, damaged by some poor shooting percentages, especially on the inside, while Olympiacos were now hitting shots from all areas. Their dominance on the rebound and Sloukas' eight 8 points almost consecutively, alongside Vezenkov with another 5, saw the visitors build up a 16-point lead with just over 15 minutes gone (20-36). Our boys continued to try and cut the deficit before the break, tightening up the turnovers and improving on the offensive rebound to gain more attacks, even if they weren't all converted into points (24-38, min. 20).

Video.75-67: Madrid produce another impressive fightback to remain unbeaten at the WiZink Center

The madridistas came out more aggressive after the break, upping the pace and showing greater precision in offense, building on a defense that was showing very few cracks. Led by the inspired Heurtel and Tavares, Madrid showed admirable consistency to slowly claw back points, despite Olympiacos making an uphill task even more difficult through Dorsey's scoring. Our boys were well and truly back in the game now, though. Everyone began to chip in, headed by the French point-guard who posted 11 points in the quarter. A Williams-Goss 3+1 brought them to within a single point at 50-51 with 30 minutes on the clock, topping off a 26-13 run.

Madrid complete the big fightback
The hosts had the comeback within touching distance now and weren't about to let up in their attempts to seal it. A Causeur triple and a huge Yabusele dunk completed the job in the first two minutes of the final quarter, clinching a 9-0 to put the scores at 55-51 (min.32). The whole complexion of the game had changed now, Laso's boys were going for it. Tavares grew even more imposing in the paint and Abalde put his team 5 up with 5 minutes to go.

Double win
But Olympiacos were about to display their incredible competitive character. They pushed Madrid to the limit, bringing increased aggression to their play and managing to win several technical fouls in their favour (one from the hosts' bench and one by Poirier, the latter for complaining about a McKissic blow which knocked out a tooth), to level the game at 65 on 37´. The team weren't rattled though, as the closing stretch turned into an all-out battle which saw Laso's boys call on all of their winning DNA. One impressive defense after another saw the Greeks go more than two minutes without registering a point. In the same time, Llull and Rudy came to the fore with triples, which, added to Heurtel's free-throws, rounded off an incredible 10-2 to put the Palacio on their feet and wrest basket average in our favour by a single point (75-67, min.40). A good start to another tough week which sees a further two games in the next four days. First up, in less than 48 hours' time, is Zenit (Friday, 8:45pm CET)