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Big win over Zalgiris on Euroleague return

MATCH REPORT. 23/02/2023. Edu Bueno

Real Madrid played out of their skins, with 7 players in double digits in the index ratings, to secure their fourth consecutive win and remain in the running for the top spot.

Real Madrid returned to the Euroleague with a brilliant and convincing victory over Zalgiris Kaunas at the WiZink Center in the last game of February. This victory means they are now in second place (with a game in hand over Olympiacos) ahead of a very tough and decisive March for the playoffs. After an even start, Chus Mateo's team got the game on track with a very good second quarter (31-14) to finish it off in the third (23-14), where they went on to win by 29 points. Outstanding performance as a whole, with Musa (17 points and 20 index point rating) leading 7 players in double digits in efficiency. Fourth consecutive win in Europe.

Twenty-two days later, the Euroleague returned to the WiZink Center and it did so with an emotional minute's silence in memory of Amancio Amaro and Jesús Pascual Babiloni. On the court, a good start from Zalgiris, with a good three-point shot, was repelled by Madrid, impeccable with their two-point shooting (5/5), in a very offensive first quarter with continuous alternations on the scoreboard. Williams-Goss (10 points) and Tavares (8) led our attack; Brazdeikis (9), led that of the Lithuanians, who scored more evenly (22-24).

Our boys secure a cushion
Madrid gave the game a new lease of life in the second quarter. They applied themselves in defence, leaving Zalgiris with just four points in eight minutes. From there, they began to build their first significant lead. They imposed more speed on the game and punished their opponents in transition with good minutes from Musa (11 points), Hezonja, Poirier and Yabusele. Chus Mateo's men had their best moments of the first half and with a 23-4 run (which would be 31-14 in this quarter) they were 17 points ahead. In the end they were two down after an attempted reaction by the visitors focused on Brazdeikis and the subsequent Madrid response with Deck at the helm. A great quarter from our team that gave us some peace of mind at half-time (53-38, min.20).

Video.96-69: Big win over Zalgiris on Euroleague return

The team came out determined to kill off the game in the second half. And that's exactly what they did. They maintained a very high level at both ends of the floor. They did not concede offensive rebounds to Zalgiris, forcing them to all but vanish. And in attack, they ran roughshod over the Lithuanians with a symphony orchestrated by Deck and Tavares, both already in double figures in scoring, along with Williams-Goss and Musa. Madrid disarmed their opponents and increased the difference to +29 with 74-45 in the 28th minute. Another good quarter (23-14) that left the victory well on track (76-52, min.20).

Team victory
Despite the lead, Madrid did not let up. There was no room for relaxation and Zalgiris were left clutching at straws. Chus Mateo was able to rotate the bench a lot in view of what is to come in March (12 games) and the team once again showed its mental strength and that it is still on top form. Musa finished as top scorer with 17 points, but four other players scored more than 10; added to which, seven players scored double digits in index rating points. The WiZink Center vibrated with their team, who were close to 100 points (96-69, min.40).