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Madrid notches up 20th Euroleague win

MATCH REPORT. 16/03/2023. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Antonio Villalba

An outstanding Musa leads the team to victory against EA7 Emporio Armani Milan at the WiZink Center with 27 points and 38 index rating points in his best game with us so far.

Real Madrid is on the verge of reaching the Euroleague playoffs after defeating EA7 Emporio Armani Milan at the WiZink Center on matchday 29. Chus Mateo's team beat one of the most in-form teams in the competition in a very difficult and evenly matched game, which ended in the last minute with a superb performance by Musa. The Bosnian was unstoppable and signed his best performance as a Madrid player with 27 points and 38 index rating points. Tavares also stood out (17 points and 8 rebounds). Our team now has 20 wins and is still in the fight for the final leadership of the Regular Season.
It was a complex start for Madrid, who saw how the Italians entered the game with a lot of resolve. With the help of Baron and Melli, and causing damage in quick transitions, they took an 8-point lead in the 7th minute (12-20). Until then, only Tavares and Musa had scored for our team. It was when Rudy and Yabusele stepped on court, the first in defense and the second in offense, when we began to have more harmony. The Bosnian, who was MVP in the Milan game, continued to do his thing and showed his credentials again at the start (9 points and 12 index rating points). A 12-3 run allowed us to finish winning the first quarter by 24-23.
Alternating runs
At the beginning of the second quarter, Madrid adjusted its defense and closed its rebounding to put the rival attack in trouble. Preventing the Italians from scoring for three minutes gave Madrid the chance to continue to add to the lead with two consecutive three-pointers by Causeur. Our team was clearly beating the second best defense of the championship with 30 points in 12 minutes. But, at seven up, the scoring pace dropped considerably and the visitors began to punish our defensive balance. They took advantage through Tonut and Napier, to turn the score around. Tavares prevented things from going any further with his dominance in offensive rebounding (4 and 12 points), while Rudy's intelligence, forcing Pangos into a turnover, and a subsequent basket by Musa, made it possible for Madrid to go into halftime up (42-40).

Video.91-87: Madrid notches up 20th Euroleague win

The restart changed the style, but not the content of the game. There were no more big breaks and what was left was an exchange of blows and alternations on the scoreboard without a clear winner. In the third quarter, Madrid's offensive weight was carried by Musa and Hezonja, the latter scoring 10 points in two spectacular minutes. For their part, Messina's team relied on the trio of Melli, Napier and Davies. The game was neck and neck stuff going into the final stretch (67-66, min.30).
Decisive minute

With the future uncertain and tension in the game, the last quarter was another back-and-forth affair. Madrid took a 6-point lead with three minutes left, which seemed almost definitive as the situation stood. The success in free throws from an unstoppable Musa (who put in his best performance as a Madrid player) and the emergence of Yabusele, put us 83-76 up in the 37th minute. But the visitors managed to tie the score at 84 with 55 seconds left after a three-pointer by Napier. At the moment of truth, Madrid stepped up. Tavares and Musa led a 4-0 run, which they were able to defend in the final seconds from the free throw line with free throws by Deck and Yabusele. Great game on offense reaching 91 points against a defense that only concedes an average of 76 (91-87, min.40).