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Real Madrid were unable to pull off another comeback

MATCH REPORT. 06/02/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

Narrow defeat against Valencia Basket in a game that was decided in the final seconds.  

Real Madrid beated by Valencia Basket in an evenly matched encounter that was decided in the dying seconds of the game. Our team were seven points behind with 37 minutes gone, but they drew level at 90 with just over a minute to play, but couldn't complete the comeback against a side who played at a very high level on offense. Llull (17 points) and Rudy (16) were the top performers for Laso's team, who continue to lead the league with 16 wins from 20 games.  

It was a whirlwind start to the game with both teams demonstrating their offensive prowess. Valencia Basket made the better start with the Dubljevic-Tobey pairing opening up the court (4-9, min. 3) but Real Madrid quickly adapted their defence and within minutes managed a 21-6 run led by Heurtel (11 points and 3 three-pointers) and Yabusele (11 points and 2 three-pointers). The 25-15 lead after 7 minutes gave the initiative to our side who ended the first quarter one point up (30-31) with another counter-attack and a very accurate Pradilla around the basket.

Madrid focused on attack
The pace of attack slowed down in the second quarter, although the speed of play didn't, as the game became an exchange of blows with Rudy and Poirier leading the way for the league leaders, and Dimitrijevic and Prepelic for the visitors. Madrid responded to every Valencia basket, looking more comfortable in attack than in defence. With the score tied at 42, Valencia Basket went on a 9-6 run in the final stretch of the first half to take a 48-51 lead into the break.

Video.93-94: Real Madrid were unable to pull off another comeback

Madrid were unable to put the brakes on their opponents, who continued to press forward comfortably and punish the home side's defensive balance. A 4-14 run at the start of the second half saw the difference increase to more than 10 points and sent our team into a tricky moment (52-65, min. 24). We had to fight hard and improve in defence to turn the game around. El Palacio was aware of the situation and rallied their players. The team responded by playing with much more intensity at the back. Poirier and Randolph did a great job with their rebounding and broke Valencia's offensive rhythm, reducing them to a trickle of points from the line. Madrid pushed forward led by Llull and Rudy. The first with his tireless work and the captain with his brilliance in attack. Two three-pointers from him reduced the deficit to three points at the end of the third quarter (71-74).

A nail-biting finale
A Rudy three-pointer at the start of the final quarter levelled the game at 74-74. Valencia Basket's response was swift, however, and a three-pointer from López-Aróstegui moved his team closer to the win at 83-90 with 37 minutes on the clock. Real Madrid again needed to find the inspiration for another epic performance like the one last Wednesday against another great team, Olympiacos, by coming back from 16 points down. They almost did it again today going into the final minute at 90-94 and had two possessions to level the game but neither Heurtel nor Tavares could make it. They never gave up and Llull's three-pointer made it 93-94 with 3.6 seconds to go. López-Arostegui had two chances from the line but he missed the first and shot off target with the second. Time ran out with our team now preparing for another demanding week with 3 games (Fenerbahçe, Barça and Unicaja).

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