Real Madrid came out on top against Coosur Betis on the road as they rounded off a perfect week with three wins inside five days following the two Euroleague victories over Maccabi. Our team were already mathematically assured a place in the league playoffs before tip-off but they came through a potential banana skin in Seville. They were forced so produce an impressive comeback in the second half, before ultimately going on to win it in the final seconds. Tavares, who played a key role with a crucial block and free-throw at the death (10 points, 14 rebounds and 25 PIR) and Yabusele (10, 9 and 22), were outstanding for Laso's team, who now head to Tel Aviv looking to seal place in the Final Four.
Juan Núñez was in the starting five for the first quarter as the madridistas had to deal with an impressive Coosur Betis from the three-point line (4). They responded to the hosts' accuracy with patience, moving the ball well. Williams-Goss (7 points) and Yabusele (5 and 6 rebounds) were both putting points on the board in the opening minutes (16-18). But the hosts seemed to have the edge in terms of aggression and freshness, as they extended their run from 6.75 m to break away at the start of the second quarter with Madrid losing the ball time and again. Johnson, Wiley and Brown helped their team to a decent lead at the break (36-27).
Video.69-71: Real Madrid round off perfect week
Our boys step it up
Madrid remained calm though and switched their focus to defense. Hanga brought added energy to the back line and pressure on the pass lines brought down the hosts numbers and stifled their offense, who were unable to post a point for almost half the period, ending the quarter with just nine. Laso's boys slowly began to find their rhythm and increased effectiveness in offense thanks to their control of the defensive rebound and their counters, with Yabusele leading from the front. A 9-29 run in our favour put us ahead and changed the nature of the game heading into the final quarter (45-47).
The final push
With the comeback on, Madrid retained an impressive intensity in defense and stepped up the offensive rebound (17 at the end). Another strong start to the final period with a 0-9 run led by Abalde (the star of the quarter with 9 points), made it 45-56 with 33 minutes on the clock, going on to 9-29 in eight minutes. But the game wasn't over yet and the hosts came back once more from the three-point line. Three in a row plus a Brown basket put them back in front at 69-67 with 30 seconds to play. Madrid stood up to the onslaught and Hanga found a three of his own to make it 69-70. Two great defensive plays on Coosur Betis' next two attacks with a Tavares block on Brown and another to time-out possession, meant the Cape Verde center's free-throw was enough to clinch a 21st league win for Real Madrid (69-71).