Louis Bullock's layup with 3.8 seconds remaining lifted Real Madrid to a hard-fought 70-69 win over Armani Jeans Milano at the Palacio Vistalgre in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Milano used a late 0-10 run thanks to Felipe Reyes’s unsportsmanlike foul on Mile Hall to take a 64-69 lead after a Luca Vitali three-pointer with 51 seconds remaining. But the visitors faltered down the stretch, turning the ball over on a 5-second violation and failing to create a good shot on offense as Madrid rallied for the win. The hosts bounced back from back-to-back losses to improve to 2-2, while Milano remains winless through four games. Reyes finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds and fouls drawn for Madrid, while Jeremiah Massey scored 15 as well. Sergio Llull added 11 and Axel Hervelle had 10 for the winners. Hall paced Milano with 21 points and 9 rebounds and David Hawkins added 13.
Madrid won the opening tip and got on the scoreboard first as Alex Mumbru sliced through the Milano defense for a layup. Some crisp passing led to a basket inside and a three from the wing by Massey as Madrid took a 7-0 lead before Hall got the visitors started. Massey threw down a monster slam on the break to assert his dominance. Jobey Thomas and Bullock swapped triples, and then Hawkins scored for Milano before Bullock added another three. Then Pepe Sanchez fed Massey again on the break to give the hosts their first double-digit lead. Baskets by Hawkins and then Thomas brought Milano within 19-12, but Massey continued his strong opening period with a power basket. Hall hit twice from the line and then buried a three to cut the gap to 4. The pace slowed a bit, but in the final minute, Luca Vitali buried a long three for his first points of the season to bring the visitors within 21-20 after 10 minutes.
Milano continued its momentum into the second period as Mindaugas Katelynas scored down low to give the visitors their first lead. Free throws and then a basket by Hall completed a 0-14 charge – during which Hall scored 9 – that put Milano ahead 21-26. Reyes hit a jumper from the top of the key to end the Madrid drought, but Massimo Bulleri and Marco Mordente chimed in with back-to-back threes to increase the lead to 9. Hervelle answered with a triple of his own from the corner and after Milano’s Mason Rocca scored a basket, free throws by Marko Tomas and Hervelle plus a Llull layup carried Madrid within 3. Hawkins scored only to see Llull fire in a triple that made it 34-36. Hall answered with a basket, but Hervelle had the last word with a three-pointer that narrowed the gap even further as Madrid went to the locker room at the half trailing 37-38.
Reyes restored Madrid’s advantage on the first play of the second half, but was answered by a nifty move from Yohann Sangare. The game was moving at a fast pace, but the shots weren’t falling for either team. Massey finally got the hosts going with a pair of baskets inside. Hawkins kept Milano close with a short jumper. Madrid threatened to pull away when a Mumbru slam made it 47-42, but Hall stepped up with a triple. Thomas kept Milano close by answering Reyes and Llull’s free throws with jumpers and then Vitali fed Joey Beard to tie the game at 51-51. Reyes powered his way through Hall for a basket-plus-foul and that gave the home team a 56-53 lead heading into the fourth period.
Reyes extended the home team’s advantage with free throws, but Katelynas kept Milano in the game with a bucket in the paint. Llull dished to Tomas for a pretty reverse-alley-oop. Rocca connected twice from the line, but Hervelle corrected his own miss to keep Madrid’s 5-point lead intact. Hall scored on the offensive glass to get Milano within 62-59. Sanchez went down awkwardly after attempting a layup and needed to be helped off the floor. Llull stepped up with a jumper, but Hawkins kept Milano’s hopes alive with a basket. Thomas then missed a three that would have tied the game. But after a Madrid turnover, Hawkins buried a three that tied the game at 64-64 with 1:35 remaining. The game took an unexpected turn when Reyes was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Hall, who made both free throws. Vitali then hit a huge three with 51 seconds on the clock to give Milano a 64-69 advantage. Madrid took a timeout after which Llull scored a quick basket. Madrid’s press then resulted in a 5-second violation on Vitali. Reyes then trimmed the gap to 1 with a pair of free throws. Hawkins missed a tough three-point attempt with 20 seconds remaining. Madrid took the ball down and Bullock drove for a layup with 3.8 seconds to go that prove to be the winner.
Thursday, November 13, 2008