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Madrid produce exhibition in the first game of the quarter-finals

MATCH REPORT. 25/05/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Pedro Castillo

Laso's boys beat Baxi Manresa at the WiZink Center in an impressive display to make it 1-0 in the series. Causeur was the standout performer (23 PIR in 21 minutes).

Real Madrid got the league quarter-final playoffs underway with a convincing win over Baxi Manresa at the WiZink Center, showing their iron will once again to deliver a complete performance in both offense and defense. The remarkable first half all but put the game to bed before the break, ending at 48-29 before the madridistas went on to enjoy a 24-point lead in the third quarter. Causeur, with 17 points, 8 rebounds and a PIR of 23 in just 21:52 minutes, headed 5 players in double digits for PIR (Poirier, 21; Yabusele, 18; Llull, 14; and Hanga, 11). Laso's boys finished up with a total 52 rebounds and PIR of 132.

Madrid put paid to any doubts surrounding physical and mental fatigue with a blistering start to the clash. The past was behind them and this was clearly a new challenge. The game was being played exactly how Laso's outfit would have wanted, with complete dominance in the paint and on the rebound (6 points and 8 rebounds for Poirier and 8 points for Yabusele) and aggressive defense which saw them shackle the league's best offense to build up an 8-point lead in the first quarter (19-11, min. 8).

The advantage continued to grow as the minutes ticked by, with the home team showing incredible levels at the back, running harder now and finding the basket from outside. Llull's two triples opened the scores up before Deck and Causeur all but killed the clash before the break with a 24-7 run from 11´ to 19´. It was a near-perfect first half from our boys, who came close to posting 50 points (49) and restricted the championship's best offense to a mere 29.

Video.93-76: Madrid produce exhibition in the first game of the quarter-finals

Madrid allow no respite
Pedro Martínez's men came out and looked to bring increased pace to their game, managing to do so to a degree, but all the while playing second best to a Madrid who showed no signs of slowing up, standing strong as Francisco and Thomasson looked to drag their side back into the match. It wasn't to be in the face of a truly relentless Real Madrid though. Llull, who eclipsed Epi as the sixth-highest rated player in playoff history, and Causeur, in another of his infamous point/PIR per minute performances (17 and 23 in 21´), stretched the advantage to its greatest at the end of the third quarter, 71-47.
 
Having essentially tied the game up, Madrid maintained an incredible pace thanks to continuous rotations. A Juan Núñez triple took his contribution to 6 points and made it 11 madridistas to have troubled the scorers. Laso's team are now just one win away from a semifinal spot. Next up, the Nou Congost in 72 hours' time (Saturday, 4:30pm CEST).

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