Real Madrid came up short in their postponed Euroleague matchday 18 meeting with Fenerbahçe. It was a fierce clash in Istanbul, with our team displaying impressive levels in defense but failing to find their groove in offense, meaning they were trailing for the full 40 minutes, despite an improved final period. Tavares, with 14 points, 9 rebounds and a PIR of 27, was the best performer for Laso's boys, who have to move on quickly ahead of the European Clásico clash at the WiZink Center in 72 hours' time.
Madrid arrived in Istanbul with four big absentees (Heurtel, Taylor, Hanga and Deck) for what was their seventh game inside 15 days. No big deal. And of course, they were in for another hard-fought clash which got underway with real intensity and the defenses the dominant force in the paint. Our team were the first to break through with two swift Llull triples to make it 2-8 with 4 minutes gone, but from that point on, our accuracy dried up (just 3 baskets in 10 minutes). Fenerbahçe grew into the game, putting together a 17-0-run led by Guduric, who ensured the scores would read 19-8 at the end of the first period.
Defenses on top
The league leaders saw the game was slipping away and looked to match the Turkish team's aggression, shackling them well and ensuring they were unable to score a single point in the first 5 minutes of quarter two. The only issue was finding their range at the other, which meant they were unable to reduce the deficit during that spell. In the pursuing minutes though, they did finally craft some fine offensive play and improve their shooting percentages to clinch a 2-8 run and move back within 5 points. But the mistakes just wouldn't disappear and Fenerbahçe made the most of that to go in at +10 at half-time (27-17) following a second period which saw the two teams share 17 points.
Video.66-51: Defeat on the road at Fenerbahçe
The Turks appeared to find another gear at the start of the second half and punished a sluggish Madrid team who continued to miss easy shots. Fenerbahçe were scoring with quick transitions and thanks to an offensive rebound manned by Henry, Melih, Pierre and Booker. A sniff of a visiting response at 16 down was met by an immediate reaction from the hosts (48-30, min.30).
Madrid keep going to the end
The game was looking all but lost now, both on the scoreboard and due to the fact Madrid were still not looking comfortable on court. Despite being up against it though, they fought to hard, giving it everything they had. Juan Núñez, Alocén and Rudy brought a welcome energy boost and Tavares enjoyed a purple patch under both posts. There were 11 points in it with 34 on the clock after a triple by the forward from the Balearic Islands but there was little left in the tank now and the home fans got behind their team enough to prevent any madridista turnaround (66-51, min.40).