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Real Madrid draw level in semi-finals

MATCH REPORT. 08/06/2023. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero

A superb Yabusele spearheads the victory over Joventut in the second game of the playoffs at the WiZink Center.

Real Madrid beat Joventut at the WiZink Center in the second game of the League semi-final playoffs. Our team will travel with the series tied at one to Badalona, where the next two games will be played (Saturday 10th and Monday 12th). Chus Mateo's team responded with a very well-rounded game in both attack and defence, which they improved in the second half with a 54-33 win. An undisputed victory sponsored by Yabusele. The power forward had his best game as a Madrid player with 37 points (27 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals). He was joined by Tavares (11 points, 10 rebounds and 26 index) and Hezonja (15 points, 7 rebounds and 16 index). In addition, we recovered Poirier, who made his return after more than a month out injured.
The team made a very good start to the game. They found the balance between attack and defence from the start, and showed energy, concentration and aggressiveness. They cancelled out Guy, with great work from Hanga, and left Penya on 14 points, almost all of them from Parra, who held his team at the start (8 points). In addition, they imposed a high, constant and at times spectacular scoring rhythm, spurred on by an unstoppable Yabusele, who lifted the WiZink Center with dunks and blocks for 12 points (of his 15 in the first half) and 15 in index rating. A first quarter that ended 22-14 and with Poirier on the court fourteen games later.
Back to square one
The madridistas controlled the game by dominating the rebounding at their own hoop and quick transitions that were culminated mostly by Hezonja (7 points). They maintained a comfortable lead until the midway point of the second quarter. At 31-22 everything changed. The eight turnovers we committed and the lack of success in the triple gave a boost to the visitors, who began to string together baskets under the emerging Feliz (15). Little by little they began to eat away at our team until they turned the score around before the break (36-40).

Video.90-73: Real Madrid draw level in semi-finals

Madrid regained their attacking spirit after coming out of the dressing room and it had an immediate impact on the development of the game. Hanga opened up a 10-2 run in three minutes that Tavares and Yabusele increased to 18-8 to put us six up at 54-48. With Guy well watched, other secondary players appeared in Penya, such as Busquets and Ellenson. However, Chus Mateo's men were mentally strong and gave another 7-0 spurt in the form of quality minutes from Poirier, Sergio Rodríguez and Rudy, ending the third quarter 63-59 up.
Take-off to victory
If the previous quarter had been the reaction, the last one was the confirmation of a great night. Madrid no longer allowed Joventut to dream of victory. They left their best basketball for the final quarter. Sergio Rodríguez brought dynamism to an attack in which more and more players joined in, but always with the reference of Yabusele. The Frenchman had his best game in our jersey, finishing with 37 points. Tavares, who came close to a double-double, was again the master of the paint (11+10) and the team took a step forward in defence, reflected in Guy's 5 points in the whole game. He stopped the other scoring routes and achieved a definitive 27-14 run in the last quarter and a +21 in the second half (90-73, min. 40). In less than 48 hours, the third game of the series will be played in Badalona (Saturday 6:30pm CEST).