Real Madrid easies past ALBA and into playoffs
Real Madrid never trailed and beat depleted ALBA Berlin 93-62 to become first team this season to clinch a place in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Playoffs. Madrid improved to 9-1 atop of Group E, while ALBA dropped to 4-6 and fifth place. Madrid opened a double-digit lead in the first quarter, but the visitors hit four triples in the second to be within 46-39 at halftime. However, Madrid picked it up on defense after the break, while often running fastbreaks and breaking the game open. Jaycee Carroll finished with 13 points to lead Los Blancosin victory. Sergio Llull scored 12 points, Rudy Fernandez collected 11 points plus 8 assists, while Gustavo Ayon and Andres Nocioni scored 10 apiece. ALBA, which was without Jamel McLean, Cliff Hammonds and Leon Radosevic, saw Reggie Redding score 14 points and Alex King net 10 in defeat.
First quarter: Rudy helps Madrid pull away early
After receiving his award as the February bwin MVP before the game, Rudy opened the game with a three-point play. Marko Banic split free throws to open ALBA's tally, and Jonas Wohlfarth banked in a shot to tie the score at 3-3. Ayon scored a pair of baskets inside, and fought for a pair of offensive rebounds for Madrid, but Banic made a put-back and Redding finished a fast break with a layup to even things at 7-7. After Fernandez sank a three-pointer, Redding answered with a jumper, but a runner from Llull helped Madrid open 14-9 margin. After a timeout, Llull drove the full length of the floor for a layup, and after King scored from close range, Fernandez sank his second triple and Felipe Reyes scored on a fastbreak for a 21-11 lead. K.C. Rivers and Wohlfarth traded baskets, but Ismet Akpinar knocked down a three for ALBA pointer and Banic followed by driving the baseline for a reverse layup to get within 24-18. However, Carroll made a layup-plus-free throw in the final seconds of the quarter for a 27-18 lead.
Second quarter: ALBA hits from downtown to hang in
Nocioni got things going in the second quarter with a corner triple, which extended the margin to 12 points, but a Wohlfarth tip-in and a triple from Niels Giffey cut it back to 30-23. Alex Renfroe traded a pair of driving layups with a put-back from Reyes and a mid-range jumper from Carroll. Carroll and Renfore also traded three-pointers, before King hit one from downtown to make it 39-33 and prompting the hosts to call timeout. Sergio Rodriguez drove through a crowd for a layup, but King hit another three that made it a 5-point game. However, a pair of fouls shots from Jonas Maciulis and a three-pointer from Rodriguez extended the lead before Redding beat the buzzer with a put-back for a 46-39 halftime score.
Third quarter: 14-3 run breaks the game open
Rivers started the second half with a three-pointer, and finished a fast break with a layup. Ayon’s free throws and a layup extended it to 55-39 before Redding sank a triple to snap a 9-0 run. But Llull made a three-point play, and Madrid’s defense held the visitors to a single made basket during more than six minutes before Wohlfarth split free throws. A layup from Ayon broke the 20-point barrier, and Llull’s fastbreak layup made it 66-43. Giffey buried a three for the visitors, but before the end of the quarter, Llull and Rodriguez extended the margin to 70-46.
Fourth quarter: Madrid closes it out
King opened the scoring in the final quarter, and Redding drove for a layup, but Rodriguez fed Slaughter with a behind-the-back pass for the game’s first dunk. Redding and Maciulis traded triples, before Wohlfarth’s put-back dunk. Carroll sank a jumper and Ioannis Bourousis scored inside to make it 83-55. Akpinar hit a triple for ALBA, but Carroll knocked down another one for the hosts, and Nocioni’s fastbreak layup-plus-free throw made it 91-58. As the second were winding down, Martin Seiferth scored a pair of layups for his first-ever Euroleague points.
Thursday, March 12, 2015