Real Madrid seized the top spot in Group E of the Top 16 as it defeated visiting Climamio Bologna 92-76 at home in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid registered its second consecutive home win in the group and improved to 2-0 in the standings. Meanwhile, Climamio dropped to 1-1, ending its six-game Euroleague win streak, and now ties Maccabi Elite for second place in this group. Louis Bullock led the winners with 23 points. Igor Rakocevic added 22 on 10 of 10 free throws and 7 assists while Marko Tomas had 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting for Real Madrid. Dalibor Bagaric and Travis Watson each had 19 points for Climamio, as both players combined on 15-for-17 shooting. Kiwane Garris had 10 points for the guests, who shot 2-for-11 on three-pointers, the first of those coming after 32 minutes. Bagaric and Watson combined for 25 points in the opening two periods to give Climamio a 39-41 edge at the break. Rakocevic and Bullock fueled a 10-0 run which put Madrid ahead for good, as the hosts held off a late Climamio rally to register a big win.
Stefano Mancinelli stepped up early with a coast-to-coast layup and Bagaric scored in the low post for Climamio. Madrid went scoreless for more than 3 minutes, while Erazem Lorbek added a fastbreak layup and Bagaric hit a turnaround jumper that capped a 0-8 opening run for the guests. Madrid called timeout and Bullock came out of it to get the hosts on the board with a three-pointer. Bagaric followed a wild dunk with free throws to keep Climamio in charge, 5-12. Bagaric stepped up with a jump hook that Rakocevic erased with a long jumper. Garris hit a jumper to push the guests' lead to double digits, 8-18. Tomas tried to change things with a three-point play while Rakocevic and Felipe Reyes made free throws to bring Madrid as close as 15-20. Watson followed a close basket with a put-back layup, and even when Rakocevic hit a tough jumper, Watson's additional layup left Climamio up 19-26 after 10 minutes.
New Madrid player Alex Scales hit a corner three-pointer that Tomas followed with a fastbreak layup to bring Madrid within 24-26. Bagaric rescued Climamio with an acrobatic layup but Scales hit another triple to keep the hosts within 27-28. Tomas Ress stepped up with a six-meter jumper for Climamio, but Edu Hernandez-Sonseca tied it 30-30 with a dunk-plus-foul. Watson kept Climamio ahead with a tip-in, as Madrid tried to use short possessions now. Meanwhile, Marco Belinelli and a very active Watson hit free throws for a 30-36 Climamio lead. Rakocevic hit a wild three-pointer off the dribble, while a big block by Venson Hamilton enabled Bullock to run the break for a layup that forced a Climamio timeout at 35-36. Watson and Reyes exchanged layups, while Belinelli followed a free throw with a dunk. Bullock scored in penetration to bring Madrid within 39-41 at halftime.
Lorbek shined with a put-back dunk early in the third quarter, but Reyes hit a free throw and then followed Tomas's three with a fastbreak layup to give Madrid its first lead of the game, 45-43. Climamio called timeout to adjust its defense and Watson followed free throws with a short jumper, but soon he joined Lorbek on the bench, both with 4 fouls. Meanwhile, Rakocevic and Axel Hervelle fueled a 6-0 run that put Madrid in charge, 51-47. Watson scored in the paint and Sani Becirovic added a layup in transition, but Madrid did not panic. Hamilton dunked, igniting a 7-0 run that Rakocevic capped with free throws, good for a 58-51 Madrid lead. Garris hit free throws but Bullock hit a running three-pointer to keep Madrid fully in charge at 61-53. Scales added a corner three and Bullock free throws, while Bagaric dunked it to fix the score at 66-58 after 30 minutes.
Bagaric kept hurting Madrid with a jump hook early in the fourth quarter, but Hernandez-Sonseca and Bullock buried back-to-back threes to make it a 12-point game, 72-60. Climamio asked for a timeout, but Bullock put in free throws and a layup off a steal to finish a 10-0 run with a 76-60 Madrid margin. Garris hit Climamio's first three-pointer all night with 8 minutes to go. Rakocevic followed free throws with a bomb from downtown for an 81-63 Madrid lead with under 7 minutes to go. Climamio tried a 2-3 zone defense, while Garris and Becirovic fueled a 0-10 run. Bagaric punctuated it with a put-back dunk to make it 81-73, but Rakocevic and Bullock combined for 4 quick points and Hervelle dunked to all but decide it, 87-73, with 3 minutes remaining. Tomas nailed a three-pointer to seal the win in style, as Madrid left the court as the Group E leader.
Thursday, March 2, 2006