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Real Madrid take EuroLeague playoff lead

MATCH REPORT. 20/04/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Pedro Castillo

Laso’s charges produced a three-pointer feast (16) to defeat Maccabi in the first matchup.

Real Madrid made it 1-0 in the first EuroLeague playoff against Maccabi after clinching victory on a dazzling night of European basketball at the WiZink Center. Pablo Laso’s men overcame the Israelis courtesy of a sublime team display, with Causeur (20 points and PIR of 21) spearheading five players who recorded double-digit scoring. The Whites produced a three-point exhibition, recording 16 with 55% precision, which proved to be decisive for the team’s crucial victory.
This was the 65th time these two sides have gone head-to-head, and the matchup began with Real Madrid controlling the rhythm of play in the first period, showing both defensive togetherness and fluid attacking play to record stunning three-point shooting percentages (9/16). Causeur was the standout performer with 12 points, but was backed up by Hanga (7), Rudy (6) and a stellar Williams-Goss driving the team (6 assists). The Whites won the first two quarters. The first comfortably (25-19) despite the efforts of Wilbekin (12). And the second, following a sharp reaction to an important Maccabi break led by Nunnally, which tied the game at 34 in the 18th minute. However, in the space of less than a minute, Laso's men struck three triples to restore their advantage before the break (47-38).

Video.84-74 Real Madrid take EuroLeague playoff lead

Madrid hold onto lead
Laso’s troops remained focussed, putting pressure on the Israelis' passing channels thanks to some outstanding work from the inside players. The visitors once again looked to Wilbekin and Reynolds, who produced several worthwhile moves close to the hoop to keep his team in the match. However, they were unable to close the gap and this was a credit to Madrid for the whole 40 minutes. The madridistas held on to the nine-point buffer thanks to their fine form from the three-point line, with Yabusele netting two, one from Williams-Goss and another from the game’s standout performer, Causeur, who ended the third stanza on 20 points (65-56).
Positive vibes
Maccabi, paced by Sorkin, pushed hard in the final quarter, whilst Rudy led the madridista resistance with two treys, but the center’s emergence put Madrid, who failed to put the match behind the guest’s reach, against the ropes. With the scoreboard displaying 76-71 on 38’, our boys produced the decisive surge by showcasing all of their competitive spirit. Two fine pieces of work in defense culminated in counter-attacks that were finished off by Hanga and Williams-Goss to tear up a 8-3 run in the final exchanges and hand Madrid the first point of the series (84-74). The WiZink Center will play host to the second instalment of the tussle in 48 hours’ time (Friday, 8:45pm CET).