Tavares delivers defensive exhibition as Madrid go 2-0

MATCH REPORT. 04/06/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

The center was unplayable in the paint and the team's good work at the back made sure of the win in game two of the semi-finals against Bitci Baskonia.

Real Madrid will head to Vitoria with a chance to book their place in the League final after getting the better of Bitci Baskonia once again at the WiZink Center to make it 2-0 in the best-of-five series. Our boys came through despite significant absentees at point guard (Alocén, Williams-Goss and Llull), plus Abalde, thanks to a disciplined defensive display and superb work on the rebound, especially in offense. Tavares was frighteningly dominant (15 points, 8 rebounds and PIR of 22) while Hanga (18 points) performed well in the game, which got underway with an emotional tribute to Jaycee Carroll. 

Our team were faced with the additional challenge of a shortage at point guard today as Llull failed to make it back in time and Laso was forced to reinvent the team once again. No bother though, as they kicked off with Tavares looking extremely lively in the paint. It was a flawless display by the center: 10 points, 4 rebounds and 13 PIR to lead a 18-15 run in the first quarter, though the opposition held on by sharing the points round evenly.
Rudy finds his range from distance
His appearance in the second quarter got underway with a basket and a triple, before Hanga did the same, emulating Llull on the shot-clock buzzer, and Randolph got in on the act as the madridistas enjoyed their best spell of the first half. From 10´to 15´, they stormed to a 13-0 run on the base of a solid defense and absolute dominance on the rebound (31-15). The visitors then responded once again, making the most of a series of misses by our boys and improving on the rebound themselves to get back to within six points. That was until the madridistas got back to their defensive duties. Juan Núñez then exploded in offense (5 points) on the day he turned 18 to ensure a comfortable lead at the break (40-30).

Video.83-71: Tavares delivers defensive exhibition as Madrid go 2-0

Victory from the back
Madrid had been consistent in defense but were about to take a step up even further in the third quarter, giving their opposition no sniff of the quick runs that had kept them in the game. They unleashed their full potential, led by Hanga, who did superbly to fill in where a point guard was lacking. Causeur also helped to dictate the play (5 assists) alongside the intelligence of who else but Rudy, who netted from three once again to become the fourth-highest all-time three-point scorer in the ACB, eclipsing Rafa Martínez.
A 12-4 run at the start of the final period gave Madrid a considerable lead which broke the 20-point mark and ultimately crushed their rivals' spirits. As the minutes ticked by the advantage moved up towards 30, with Randolph enjoying himself in offense. Our team ended the game with three point guards on court - two academy prospects in Klavzar and Juan Nuñez, alongside Heurtel. The WiZink Center enjoyed a sublime team performance (83-71, min.40) before Real Madrid look to become the first league finalist next Tuesday (9:00pm CEST).