If the balance of Game 1 was not enough, Game 2 proved to be even more exciting in the Playoff all-Spanish series between Real Madrid and Power Electronics Valencia. When the dust settled. the guests had pulled a valuable road win by 75-81 to tie the bet-of-five series at 1-1. Now, the series moves to Valencia for the next two games next week. Real Madrid dominated for the first half, even though the game showed different trends throughout. In the third quarter however, Valencia jumped ahead and depite the hosts taking the lead a few times, the guests kept their cool and fixed the mistakes of Game 1 to finally escape with the win. Omar Cook was huge leading the winners with 20 points including 5 of 5 triples and 6 assists, Jeremy Richardson added 17 with three triples of his own. Rafa Martinez and Dusko Savanovic also chipped in with 12 points each. For Real Madrid, only Sergio Llull scored in double digits with his 18 points.
The game started with both teams immediately looking for their big mean on each side. Felipe Reyes opened the scoreboard for Real Madrid and soon Ante Tomic
joined him in offense. Power Electronics Valencia looked for Sehiy Lishchuk inside also, but the points came from the outside through Jeremy Richardson and
Omar Cook. A starting 6-4 when Sergio Llull fed Reyes, gave way to an 11-10 when Carlos Suarez and Rafa Martinez traded threes. Reyes was in the bench since
he had committed his second foul in minute 3, but his team didn't miss him that much as the hosts bursted for a 6-0 run that made it 17-10 after Clay
Tucker's bucket. Valencia reacted through free throws, one of its weak points in Game 1, while it also controlled the defensive rebound better. Nando De Colo
hit twice from the line to make it 19-15, and Dusko Savanovic joined him with a basket that left things at 19-17 after 10 minutes.
The first minutes of the second period belonged to Real Madrid. Novica Velickovic stroke first for the hosts and then Llull drove with no opposition to the
rim for the 24-21. Valencia was far from done as Javtokas fought his way into the paint to keep his team alive, but Velickovic appeared twice in a row
including a three to make it 31-22 in no time, as the hosts' defense was also making it harder and harder for Valencia to score. Sergi Vidal had its first
minutes in the series by stepping in, but curisously enough that sparked a fast 2-8 run for Valencia mainly powered by Cook's two threes, which he added to
his already impressive display of court vision up to that point. With a 33-30, Real Madrid called for a timeout to try to cut the bleeding, but that didn't
happen as Richardson and Lishchuk combined for five straight points that tied the game 35-35, entering the last minute. It was Vidal, in the very last
seconds of the period, who pulled up for a three that found the bottom of the net to leave Real Madrid in charge after two period, 38-35.
THings looked good for Real Madrid in the first plays of the third quarter with a 5-0 run capped by Llull's three. If that was not enought, Lishchuk had to leave the court dur to an early fourth foul but Valencia didn't panic, and threes by Cook, Savanovic and Richardson all of a sudden sparked a 2-14 run from 43-35 to 45-49 that put the guests ahead. Pablo Prigioni stopped the curse with his own three, and then the game entered a phase of brilliant plays one after the other. Tucker fed D'Or Fischer for an alley-oop and De Colo replied with a monster three. Nikola Mirotic decided it was his turn then with an unbelievable basket that was swiftly followed by Martinez's three-point play, 52-55. If that wasn't enough, De Colo scored again to make it a 5-point game for Valencia. In the last minute, Llull scored twice from the line after an unsportsmanlike foul by De Colo, but that was all as Javtokas still had time for a final basket that made it 54-59 for the guests after 30 minutes.
The decisive period started with a three full of pride by Tucker to send a message: Real Madrid was a live and kicking. If that wasn't enough, the defense of the hosts put Valencia in trouble again play after play, and when Llull had one of his trademark penetrations with layup to tie the game at 59-59, it was a brand new game with 8 minutes left. Tucker appeared again to put Madrid ahead once more. More threes fell on each side by Savanovic and Llull respectively, and Martinez joined the party masterfully finding a space for a last-second jumper to tie the game at 64-64. In a turn of events regarding Game 1, it was Valencia now who benefitted more from the offensive rebounds and also made up from poor performance from the stripe again with better three-point shooting. as Richardson didn't hesitate to remind everyone with a bomb for 66-69 and 4 minutes left. Valencia was playing with a little more patience in offense now, while Real Madrid relied on Llull on the other end, at least trying to draw more and more fouls from the rival. Prigioni pulled up from 8 meters to hit from literally downtown as Real Madrid was ahead once more, 72-71. In Valencia's side it was becoming Savanovic's business almost exclusively. Almost because Cook was still alive to enter the last two minutes with a 72-75. An awful three by Llull was put back by Mirotic but again, the hero of the game, Cook blasted his fifth three with no miss of the night to make it 74-78 with 30 seconds left. Prigioni missed Real Madrid's attack and Cook went to the line. He missed the first one, but the second one went in for 74-79. A last timeout provided Madrid with the chance of free throws. Mirotic hit only one with 22 seconds to play, and then Martinez hit his two attempts for 75-81 which would be the final score when Real Madrid turned the ball over in the last chance. The series now moves to Valencia with a 1-1.
Thursday, March 24, 2011