Carroll shines as Madrid beats Khimki in showdown for playoff berth
In a do-or-die battle to make it to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague playoffs, Real Madrid locked up fourth place in Top 16 Group F by downing Khimki Moscow Region 83-70 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Both Madrid and Khimki finished the Top 16 with 7-7 records, but Madrid's two wins against Khimki allowed the reigning Euroleague champion to finish fourth. Madrid will face Fenerbahce Istanbul in the playoffs, while Khimki’s Euroleague campaign has come to an end. Jaycee Carroll led the winners with 23 points on 5-for-8 shooting from downtown. Felipe Reyes added 18 points, Sergio Llull had 11 while Sergio Rodriguez tallied 10 points and 10 assists. Tyrese Rice led Khimki with 24 points - but only 2 of them came after halftime. Petteri Koponen added 13 while James Augustine had 11 for the visitors. It was anybody’s game at halftime, at which point the hosts led 54-49. Llull managed to stop Rice after the break and also contributed on offense to boost Los Blancos' lead to 66-58 after 30 minutes. Back-to-back three-pointers by Carroll and Rodriguez sealed the outcome, 81-66, midway through the fourth quarter, as Khimki never recovered.
First quarter: Run-and-gun show!
Rice got Khimki going with his trademark one-handed floater, but Reyes erased it with a layup and Llull added a dunk off a steal for a 4-2 Madrid lead. Sergey Monya stepped up with a fast break layup and Rice added another floater, but back-to-back three-pointer by an unstoppable Llull gave Madrid a 10-6 margin. Paul Davis buried a mid-range jumper and a fast break layup by Zoran Dragic tied it at 10-10. Rudy Fernandez joined the three-point shootout, but Augustine scored in the low post and an alley-oop layup by Davis restored a 13-14 Khimki lead. Augustine and Reyes exchanged layups and Rice banked in a close jumper for a 3-point Khimki advantage. Reyes fired in a triple and brought the crowd to its feet with a wild four-point play. Fernandez nailed a seven-meter bomb from the top of the key, which prompted the visitors to call timeout at 25-18. Davis rescued Khimki with a layup-plus-foul, which Rice followed with another floater for a 25-23 score. After Rice and Jaycee Carroll exchanged three-pointers, Fernandez made free throws and Rodriguez bettered Petteri Koponen's jumper with a buzzer-beating triple to give Madrid a 33-28 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Carroll keeps Madrid in charge
Carroll shined with a driving layup early in the quarter and soon banked in a one-handed floater that boosted Madrid's lead to 9. Rodriguez found Willy Hernangomez for a reverse dunk, that saw Khimki stop the game at 39-28. An unstoppable Rice picked up a loose ball and went back to bury a three-pointer, and soon added a driving basket to keep his team within 39-33. Madrid called timeout, but Rice insisted from downtown and bettered Carroll's floater with another triple to cut Khimki’s deficit to 2. Shved joined the three-point shootout, but Carroll buried back-to-back shots from beyond the arc for a 47-42 Madrid margin. Hernangomez scored around the basket and a free throw by Reyes made it an 8-point game. Koponen sank a mid-range jumper, but Reyes matched that with a layup. Dragic took over with a three-point play and Augustine added a backdoor layup. Free throws by Josh Boone and Rodriguez fixed the halftime score at 54-49.
Third quarter: A defensive battle!
Gustavo Ayon dunked immediately after the break, as Madrid held Khimki scoreless for three minutes. Meanwhile, Jonas Maciulis buried his trademark corner three-pointer that made it a double-digit game, 59-49. Augustine split free throws and Reyes made both attempts. Koponen buried a six-meter jumper, but Ayon quickly answered with a layup and Llull buried a corner triple to break the game open at 66-52. Khimki could not find the way to the basket, as Rice struggled to organize his team's offense due to Llull's outstanding one-on-one defense. Shved split free throws off a timeout and an alley-oop layup by Davis gave Khimki hope at 66-55. Madrid kept struggling to score and a running three-pointer by Koponen brought the guests within single digits, 66-58.
Fourth quarter: Madrid wins the game, locks playoffs spot
Both teams exchanged missed shots and turnovers for almost two minutes until Carroll took over with a running jumper in the lane. Carroll soon added a bomb from downtown that prompted Khimki to call timeout at 71-58. Rice made free throws and an alley-oop slam by Augustine gave Khimki a bit of hope. Rodriguez stepped up with a six-meter jumper and Andres Nocioni buried a shot in transition to give Madrid some fresh air at 75-62. Koponen nailed a jumper off the dribble, which a red-hot Carroll improved on with a big triple. Koponen insisted with free throws, but Rodriguez struck from downtown to seal the outcome, 81-66, with over four minutes to go. Khimki needed a wild comeback to keep its options alive, but a layup by Reyes made it a 17-point game. Everything was said and done as the Madrid fans celebrated that their team will keep fighting for Turkish Airlines Euroleague glory!
Thursday, April 7, 2016