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League leaders march on at the Bilbao Arena

MATCH REPORT. 27/12/2022. Alberto Navarro

Tavares (15 points) was the top scorer for our team, which earned a hard-fought victory.

Real Madrid cemented their lead at the top of the league standings after a hard-fought victory in Bilbao. An evenly-balanced contest was decided in the final quarter by Chus Mateo‘s men who defended with everything and were more clinical than their opponents in attack, as the visitors secured a crucial win right at the end. Tavares was the team’s top point scorer (15 points).
The madridistas dominated the first quarter, only falling behind once on the scoreboard. Tavares' physical prowess exerted havoc under the hoop and 7 of Madrid's 13 points came from his hand, before he had to be substituted following two fouls. After the center's departure, a three-pointer by Yabusele and another from Rudy put the Whites ahead at the end of the quarter (16-21).

An evenly balanced contest
Chus Mateo's men got off to a perfect start in the second quarter, stringing together an 8-0 run with three-pointers from Rudy and Llull, with Hezonja also chipping in to take the lead to 16-29. After that, Surne Bilbao stepped up a gear and closed down the rebounding in defence to reduce the deficit to 27-31. The hosts managed to edge ahead at 40-38 with 1:35 to go. But Musa's three-pointer and a point from Cornelie restored the lead and the game went into half-time all square after Sulejmanovic's dunk on the buzzer (42-42).

Video.80-85: League leaders march on at the Bilbao Arena

Hakanson, who headed into the locker room with 17 points, was instrumental in the Basque resurgence. The madridistas came out fast off the blocks again at the start of the quarter, this time spearheaded by Musa's scoring. But as in the previous period, the home side bounced back to take the lead. A buzzer-beating three-pointer from Llull moved Madrid one point ahead at the end of the third quarter (58-59).

The fourth quarter saw an early exchange of points that restored Bilbao's lead (69-66) with six minutes to go, but Yabusele nailed a three-pointer to draw level again and Deck scored on the next attack to make it 69-71. With five minutes left, everything was up for grabs at the Bilbao Arena. Adam Smith brought the clash level again, but Llull and Deck showed their experience to decide the contest in the final minutes. Madrid sign off the 2022 league season sitting pretty at the top of the standings.