| Real Madrid rallied from a seven-point deficit in the final 2 minutes to edge Alba Berlin 83-82 in the Spanish capital in Group F on Thursday night. Real Madrid finished second in Group F with a 5-1 record due to its tie-break disadvantage with archrivals Regal FC Barcelona and will face Group E winners Olympiacos in the best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs. Meanwhile, Alba finished the Top 16 fourth in Group F with a 0-6 record. Raul Lopez became the game hero by hitting an unbelievable game-winning jumper with 0.1 remaining. Axel Hervelle paced the winners with 18 points. Jeremiah Massey added 14 while Lopez and Alex Mumbru each had 12 for Madrid. Blagota Sekulic led Alba with 21 points and 8 rebounds against his former team. Julius Jenkins added 17 for Alba. Dragan Dojcin and Jenkins combined for all points in a 0-10 run that gave Alba a 73-80 edge. Three-pointers by Lopez and Louis Bullock brought Madrid back to life, 81-82. Casey Jacobsen missed a shot while Lopez stepped up with a wild turnaround jumper to win the game at the buzzer.
Adam Chubb got Alba going with a layup, as Madrid tried to feed its big men in the opening minutes. Felipe Reyes scored in the paint while Hervelle followed a layup with a wild alleyoop dunk for a 6-2 Madrid run. Alba did not panic, however, as Chubb scored in the low post while a put-back basket by Ansu Sesay tied it at 6-6. Madrid kept missing open shots while Sesay took over with a layup-plus-foul. Free throws by Chubb capped a 0-9 Alba run, as Reyes brought Madrid within 8-11. Alba kept following its game plan, with a patient offense and aggressive man-to-man defense. Both teams went scoreless for more than 2 minutes until Hervelle sank a turnaround jumper. He soon added a bomb from downtown that Marko Tomas followed with a fast break layup for a 15-11 Madrid edge. Jenkins nailed a three-pointer but Kennedy Winston stepped up with a power layup for a 17-14 Madrid edge at the end of the first quarter.
Jacobsen took over with a driving layup - and the free throw that came with it - early in the second period while Sekulic scored down low for a 17-19 Alba edge. Sekulic kept pacing Alba with another three-point play and then matched Tomas Van den Spiegel's dunk with an easy layup, good for a 19-24 edge. Mumbru fired in one from downtown while a foul shot by Van den Spiegel got Madrid within 23-24. Massey downed a three-pointer and provided a highlight with an alleyoop dunk to cap a 9-0 Madrid run. Jenkins buried a corner triple but Tomas got the crowd involved with an outstanding block. Sekulic hit a put-back layup off an Alba timeout and soon added a tip-in to put Alba back ahead, 29-31. Mumbru made free throws that McElroy matched with a six-meter jumper. Sekulic shined with another put-back layup. Massey sank a jumper off a Madrid timeout while Reyes scored in transition for a 35-35 tie. McElroy and Mumbru traded layups while Jenkins and Massey exchanged three-pointers for a 40-40 tie at halftime.
Sekulic hit a close jumper immediately after the break that Bullock matched it with a long two-pointer. Sesay buried a five-meter shot but Hervelle banked it a fallaway jumper for a 44-44 tie. Rashad Wright nailed a step-back triple but Lopez scored in a quick transition. Sekulic stayed unstoppable with foul shots while another three-pointer by Wright boosted the guests' margin to 46-52. Hervelle rescued Madrid with a layup-plus-foul, as Madrid improved its defense with Van den Spiegel on court. He fed Hervelle for an easy dunk but a driving layup by Jacobsen gave Alba a 51-54 edge. Aleksandar Nadjfeji stepped up with a layup that Lopez bettered with free throws. Jenkins and Mumbru traded triples, as Madrid tried to get Bullock involved without much success. Mumbru beat the shot clock with an easy basket that Dojcin erased in the other end. Bullock made free throws to tie the game again, 61-61, after 30 minutes.
Massey hit a five-meter jumper early in the fourth quarter but Nadjfeji quickly answered with a driving basket. Sergio Llull took over with a three-pointer while free throws by Massey restored a 68-63 Madrid edge. The hosts had improved their defense but Wright found space for an open three-pointer. Llull dunked it off a steal to give Madrid a 71-66 edge with under 7 minutes remaining. Jacobsen hit foul shots while Sekulic scored again to keep Alba within 71-70. Hervelle made free throws but Dojcin answered from downtown and added free throws for a 73-75 Alba edge. Jenkins nailed an off-balance three-pointer and followed it with a fast break layup to make Madrid call timeout, 73-80, after a 0-10 run. Lopez made foul shots but Sekulic banked in a jumper that seemed to seal the outcome, 75-82, with under 2 minutes to go. Lopez and Bullock struck from downtown, however, for a 81-82 Madrid deficit with 45 seconds remaining. Jacobsen missed a shot and it all came down to the final seconds, in which Lopez sank an unbelievable turnaround jumper to complete the guests' comeback, 83-82, almost at the buzzer.
Thursday, March 12, 2009