Llull, Rodriguez keeps Madrid undefeated in Top 16 Group E
Real Madrid stayed undefeated in Top 16 Group E by downing Alba Berlin 61-79 in the German capital on Thursday. Madrid improved to 3-0 and stayed as the only undefeated team in Group E while ALBA dropped to 1-2. Sergio Llull led the winners with 13 points. Sergio Rodriguez added 12 and 7 assists, K.C. Rivers had 11 points while Rudy Fernandez got 10 for Madrid. Alex Renfroe had 13 points for ALBA while Jamel McLean added 12. ALBA had a strong start but Rivers and Felipe Reyes allowed the guests to get a 15-16 edge after 10 minutes. A layup by Neils Giffey soon gave ALBA a 30-26 margin but a 0-10 run which Llull capped with a fast break layup allowed Madrid to regain the lead, 34-36, at halftime. Madrid used a rain of three-pointers by Llull, Rivers and Fernandez to break the game open, 44-55, after 30 minutes. ALBA never recovered, as Madrid cruised to a well-deserved road win.
First quarter: Madrid shakes off slow start
Gustavo Ayon got Madrid going with a turnaround jumper which Cliff Hammonds matched with a mid-range shot. ALBA found a go-to guy in Giffey, who scored off a steal and soon added a six-meter jumper for a 6-2 lead. Ayon kept pacing Madrid with a three-point play and a big dunk by McLean ignited the crowd at 8-5. Madrid kept struggling to get its backcourt players involved, until Rivers bettered McLean's layup with a bomb form downtown. Reyes scored in the low post and followed that with an off-balance basket to put Madrid back ahead, 10-12. ALBA tried to open the floor with Leon Radosevic and Alex King together on court, but Rivers hit another triple, and a free throw by Ioannis Bourousis made it a six-point game, 10-16. However, McLean made free throws, and a seven-meter bomb by Vojdan Stojanovski brought ALBA within 15-16 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Madrid uses 0-10 run to stay ahead
Rivers shined with a backdoor layup early in the second quarter. Reggie Redding quickly answered with a power basket which Bourousis erased with a layup. McLean rolled off a pick for a big basket, and after Jaycee Carroll hit a one-handed jumper in the lane, a running hook by Radosevic kept ALBA within 21-22. Carroll struck from downtown, McLean hit free throws before a three-pointer by Renfroe put ALBA back ahead, 26-25. Bourousis split foul shots but Banic gave the hosts a 28-26 edge. Giffey took over with a layup in transition, but a jumper by Reyes and a three-pointer by Rodriguez made ALBA call timeout at 30-32. Fernandez made free throws and Llull took over with a fastbreak layup which capped a 0-10 Madrid run. Renfroe got the crowd involved with a three-pointer, and a free throw by Hammonds fixed the halftime score at 34-36.
Third quarter: Defense, three-pointers make Madrid take off
Both teams struggled to score after the break for more than 3 minutes until Ayon beat the shot-clock buzzer with a put-back layup. Renfroe hit free throws, as ALBA head coach Sasa Obradovic brought McLean back on the court. He immediately delivered with a fastbreak slam which Redding followed with a layup for a 40-38 ALBA lead. Llull answered from downtown and Rivers soon added a corner three-pointer to give Madrid some fresh air at 40-44. Fernandez joined the three-point shootout to make the hosts call timeout at 40-47, after a 0-9 run. Radosevic scored around the basket, but Llull connected again from beyond the arc. Redding sank a one-handed floater, but Fernandez nailed yet another Madrid triple before Llull added free throws to make it a double-digit game, 44-55, at the end of the third quarter.
Fourth quarter: Madrid seals it early, improves to 3-0
Banic scored around the basket early in the fourth quarter but Rodriguez answered with an electric driving layup for a 46-57 Madrid lead. Slaughter made free throws and a three-pointer by Renfroe kept ALBA within 49-59. Madrid had started to use longer possessions to run the game clock down, playing with Rodriguez and Llull together on court. Banic kept pacing ALBA with a basket from close range, but Andres Nocioni took over with a three-point play and Rodriguez added free throws which sealed the outcome, 51-64. Renfroe and Stojanovski hit foul shots, but Carroll buried another three-pointer for a 54-67 Madrid margin. ALBA did not give up, as Radosevic made free throws and Akeem Vargas nailed a three-pointer, but Fernandez scored again and Madrid managed to keep full control of the game to get back home with a valuable road win.
Thursday, January 15, 2015