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Victorious farewell to the year at the WiZink Center

MATCH REPORT. 22/12/2022. Edu Bueno

Real Madrid defeats Asvel Villeurbanne and notches up its tenth Euroleague win as Rudy and Deck return.

Real Madrid offered their fans a victory to close the year at the WiZink Center, their tenth in the EuroLeague, which keeps them at the top of the table. Chus Mateo's men, who will not play at home again until the Clásico on 2nd  January, clearly outplayed Asvel Villeurbanne in a very consistent game in attack and with two great quarters in defence that made the difference. In addition to the win, the best news from the game was the return of Rudy, coming back after three months out, and Deck. Seven players scored double figures, Poirier leading the way (19 points and 25).

Real Madrid got off to a dizzying start, with Musa (11 points) and Tavares (6) playing at a very high pace in attack, while Yabusele put on a show to lift the WiZink Center with a block on Jackson-Cartwright and a dunk over ex-Madrid player Tyus. We were up to 25 points in 9 minutes, coinciding with the maximum of this first quarter (+7) and with Rudy's emergence on court. The forward returned to action after almost three months out through an injury, which he picked up in the Super Cup final. But Asvel did not lose the offensive pulse of the game and 5 straight points from Diot were to make it 25-22 after 10 minutes.

Chus Mateo's team upped their defensive performance in the second quarter thanks to a huge aggressiveness in the passing lanes, allowing them to recover numerous balls. In addition, they controlled the defensive rebounds and did not give the French any second chances, whom they deflated offensively. Llull, with 8 minutes of top quality play on both sides of the court (5 points and 2 steals), started the first important part of the game, which Deck bumped up to 13-0. From 29-24 it was 42-24 in four minutes. The forward, recently named  best Argentinean player 2022, was also making his comeback from the injury he sustained on 4th December against Valencia Basket. What’s more he did it in style. He scored 10 straight points to put us 18 up, although another offensive from the visitors in the final stretch of the quarter, with De Colo consistently scoring his baskets, reduced the gap to 45-34 at the break.

Video.92-73: Victorious Farewell to the Year at the WiZink Center

The French point guard and Noua did their utmost to make Madrid uncomfortable, who were able to find the solution to stunt the inspiration of this attacking duo. Williams-Goss, Tavares, Musa, Yabusele, Poirier... Madrid exchanged blows with Asvel. It was enough to give them a cushion of around 10 points but not enough to break the game, as in defence they once again made it easy for their opponents. A very important three-pointer by Hezonja when the visitors had come within 8 points closed what was an equally offensive third quarter, which ended 25-25 and with our team 11 points up (70-59,30th minute).
Defence Leads us to Victory
The team regained its aggressiveness at the back and was key to finally getting the game back on track and put paid to the French champions' hopes. It just so happened that Rudy was on court, whose presence and intelligence at the back is essential to provide us with another dimension. Madrid thwarted De Colo, Noua and the entire opposition, who were unable to score for more than five minutes in the last quarter. This was when Poirier emerged in attack to lead a definitive 11-0 run. The centre, with 14 of his 19 points in the final quarter, launched the team to a 27-point lead. In the end it was a brilliant home win (92-73, 40th minute).