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Into the league playoff semi-finals

MATCH REPORT. 31/05/2023. Edu Bueno

Real Madrid made it 2-0 in the playoff series against Gran Canaria and will now face Joventut for a place in the final (preview).

Real Madrid booked their place in the semi-finals of the Liga Endesa playoffs, their fourteenth consecutive appearance, with an away win over Gran Canaria in the second game of the quarter-final playoffs to make it 2-0 in the series. The madridistas faced a side who were playing for everything and who caused them even more problems than the other day. However, Chus Mateo's team were solid and when the moment of truth came, with the score tied at 79-79 with three minutes remaining, the Whites produced a 2-10 run to secure the victory and settle the tie. Musa was the top scorer with 22 points in 23 minutes; Tavares posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and 23 in PIR, while Sergio Rodríguez (13 and 19) and Llull (14 and 11) were instrumental in the second half. Joventut, who knocked out Baskonia, will challenge our team in the semi-finals beginning on Tuesday 6 June.
Both teams started with plenty of pace and intensity in an opening period dominated by both sides' outside shooting. Madrid began and ended the first quarter better thanks to the pairing of Musa (9 points) and Tavares (6). The centre had just become Madrid's third all-time leading rebounder with his 5 rebounds. In the midst of the visitors' early dominance, Gran Canaria went on an 8-0 run to level the score, but the Whites responded by firing five straight points, which allowed them to win the first quarter (18-21, min.10).
No-man’s land
There were no significant runs before half-time. In the second quarter, the shooting percentages of each team declined considerably and the game plunged into continuous alternations on the scoreboard. Madrid pulled six points clear again with a three-pointer from Rudy right at the start of the period. Nevertheless, without Tavares, Gran Canaria began to loosen up in the paint. AJ Slaughter, Salvó and Balcerowski were the offensive benchmarks for Lakovic's team, while Llull and Hezonja pushed Madrid on. The Croatian small forward defused the deadlock on the last play before half-time. With 3.7 seconds left, he raced down the court and hit a lay-up to make it 37-39 at the end of the first half.

Video.81-89: Into the league playoff semi-finals

Madrid looked in control at the start of the second half even though this was not reflected on the scoreboard. When they tightened up at the back, and did not play rashly, they regained the lead. Their dominance in rebounding enabled them to move forward and score more evenly to widen the gap to nine points (37-46, min.21). Gran Canaria sought to turn the game on its head and AJ Slaughter and Balcerowski combined to put them one up on the 27th minute (54-53).
It was with this tempo that the decisive moment of the game arrived. In the next three minutes, Madrid delivered a huge blow to Gran Canaria in the shape of a 2-14 run. The Whites made no concessions at their hoop and were led firstly by a superb Musa (4/5 in three pointers and 22 points), and the unbelievable Llull (10 in 12 minutes), Madrid took an 11-point lead after a huge third quarter. The visitors posted 28 points after the move of the game by Sergio Rodríguez. The point guard swiped a ball and then hit an eight-metre three-pointer on the buzzer (56-67, min.30).
Sergio Rodríguez and Llull put team on course for semi-finals
That move was for his first points of the match, but he was not about to settle for that. Rodríguez was in outstanding form and in two minutes the point guard netted 10 straight points, with two three-pointers and a 3+1, to increase the lead to 16 points. With the score at 58-74 it all seemed to be settled, but Gran Canaria produced their last rally spearheaded by Nikolic, AJ Slaughter and Diop. The hosts managed to level the game on 77 points with three minutes to go and put Madrid against the ropes. But Chus Mateo's troops have gained plenty of experience in playing in these situations and they did not panic. Llull once again stepped up and with the help of Williams-Goss and Yabusele closed out the victory with a 2-10 run (81-89, min.40).