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On to the Semi Final of the Copa del Rey

MATCH REPORT. 16/02/2023. Edu Bueno (Badalona). Photographer: Víctor Carretero

Real Madrid beat Valencia Basket and will play the winner of Saturday's Barça-Unicaja game.

Real Madrid qualified for the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey 2023 after beating Valencia Basket in a tough quarter-final. But this team's winning mentality knows no bounds. After taking a 16-point lead in a great first quarter, they found themselves two down with two and a half minutes to go. They responded with unwavering belief and took the win with some tremendous last-play defence. Deck (19 points and 26 index rating points) and Tavares (11 and 23) led our team to the semi-finals for the tenth time in a row. We also equalled the best winning streak of the season (8). Llull retired injured in the second quarter.

The intensity with which both teams started the match was a forewarning of how the game would unfold. Madrid were prepared and psyched up for battle. And they came out very serious. Chus Mateo played almost the entire first quarter with his starting five, who responded perfectly. Deck, Yabusele and Tavares dominated the rebounding, Williams-Goss did a great defensive job on Chris Jones, and Musa joined a very fluid attack that punished Valencia near the rim. The strength of this team was evident in the first 10 minutes, where the starting five finished with 9 points each and opened their scoring accounts. Madrid, with +8 in their favour (21-13, min. 10).

Madrid in Control
The Whites started the second quarter at the same level, with the second unit also showing its scoring capacity. Four different players scored in a 10-2 run that established the highest lead in the 13th minute (31-15). Valencia Basket was held in check by a Madrid team that gave no concessions and allowed no second options. In that time, only Rivero was able to produce with several actions of merit to withstand the pace applied by Madrid. Hezonja brought out his repertoire (10 points) and the team stretched the gap back to 41-28 with a minute to go before half-time. The feeling of control was absolute but this is the Cup and the Taronjas held on with two consecutive three-pointers to reduce the difference to 7 points (41-34).

Video.86-85: On to the Semi Final of the Copa del Rey

Winning Genes
Valencia Basket made the game tougher after the break. Changing the dynamic of the game was their trump card. It worked out well for them and with Chris Jones at the helm, they began to eat away at a Madrid team that was not as intense at the back. But our team kept a cool head and always found an answer to stop the rival's pressure. First in the form of a 7-0 run with dunks from Musa and Yabusele, and then, at 62-60, spurred on by Deck (63-58, min. 29).

But the game could have become even more complicated. Valencia Basket pushed it to the limit and forced a change in the script. In the last quarter there was an exchange of blows and Valencia took the lead with two and a half minutes to go at 79-81. The game was hanging in the balance at this point. Not only did Madrid not give up, but they also showed their best side. With grit and courage, embodied by Deck, who scored five crucial points, they turned the situation around to take a four-point lead that they would not relinquish despite Valencia Basket's final charge. At 86-85, a great Madrid defence on the last play prevented Chris Jones' final shot and gave the Whites their ticket to the semi-finals.