| Real Madrid improved to 3-2 and took a step closer to its initial goal of reaching the Top 16 from Group D by downing Efes Pilsen 81-95 on the road in Istanbul, Turkey, on Wednesday night. Efes dropped its third straight game as it fell to 2-3 in the group. Quinton Hosley led the winners with a season-high 24 points on 6-for-7 two-point and 3-for-4 three-point shooting. Jeremiah Massey added 17, Sergio Llull and Louis Bullock each had 11 while Alex Mumbru and Felipe Reyes got 10 apiece for Madrid. Charles Smith led Efes with 22 points against his former team. Milos Vujanic added 18, Bootsy Thornton had 14 and Kaya Peker 10. Hosley had 10 points in the first quarter and got some help from Massey to help Madrid take a 15-21 edge after 10 minutes. Three-pointers by Vujanic and Michalis Kakiouzis brought Efes as close as 38-39, but Hosley and Reyes stepped up to keep Madrid ahead, 40-46, at halftime. Massey took over late in the third quarter to make it a double-digit game, 61-71, at the end of this period. Efes did not recover and Madrid stayed focused to cruised to a pivotal win.
Madrid dominated the defensive board in the opening minutes, but missed several open shots. Meanwhile, Thornton got Efes going with free throws and Smith scored in penetration for a 4-2 lead. Hosley sank a mid-range jumper and soon added an outstanding fast break dunk to give Madrid its first lead, 4-6. Massey took over with an off-balance layup that Peker bettered with a three-point play. Massey answered from downtown, but Thornton kept Efes as close as 9-11. Reyes sank a six-meter jumper and even when Smith scored again, Hosley gave Madrid a four-point lead. A big offensive rebound by Massey allowed Hosley to add another layup, causing Efes to call timeout at 11-17. Reyes buried another long jumper while Mumbru added a layup off a steal to cap a 0-8 Madrid run. Smith hit a three-pointer from the corner and Vujanic added a free throw to get Efes within 15-21 after 10 minutes.
Raul Lopez took over with a driving layup at the start of the second quarter, as Efes kept committing turnovers. Vujanic stepped up with a big basket that Mumbru erased with a put-back layup, good for a 17-25 Madrid margin. Lopez scored again in penetration while Vujanic and a put-back dunk by Thornton brought Efes back to life, 21-27. Mumbru fed Venson Hamilton for an easy layup but Vujanic struck twice from downtown to make it a two-point game. Bullock answered with a long two-pointer and Hosley nailed a triple to restore a 27-34 Madrid margin. Preston Shumpert made free throws before Thornton scored off a steal to get the crowd involved. Axel Hervelle shined with a fast break layup, which Shumpert matched at the other end. Hosley and Massey made free throws only for another dunk by Thornton and a triple by Kakiouzis to keep Efes as close as 38-39. Hosley answered from downtown and soon added a wild reverse dunk in a 0-7 Madrid run that Reyes capped with a layup. Vujanic beat the buzzer with a floating layup for a 40-46 halftime score.
Peker nailed a turnaround jumper right after the break but Mumbru bettered that with a three-pointer to give Madrid a 42-49 margin. Peker and Reyes traded baskets, as Efes tried to play more aggressive at both ends. Smith made free throws, but Bullock joined the three-point shootout to give Madrid some fresh air at 46-54. Smith dunked it off a steal in a 5-9 Efes run that Peker capped with a second-chance layup that made Madrid call timeout at 51-54. The guests tried to slow down the game tempo, while Bullock made free throws that Massey followed with a fast break dunk for a 51-59 Madrid lead. Gonlum stepped up with a layup-plus-foul but Hosley stayed on fire while Massey added an acrobatic layup to restore an eight-point Madrid margin, 54-62. Efes kept attacking the basket, as Vujanic, Kakiouzis and Smith combined for 6-of-6 foul shots but Massey silenced the crowd with a bomb from downtown. Free throws by Sergio Llull and Marko Tomas, as well as a layup by Massey boosted the guests' lead to double-digits, 61-71, after 30 minutes.
Lopez fed Hamilton for an easy basket early in the fourth quarter but Smith answered in the other end to keep Efes within 63-73. The hosts needed a quick comeback right away and Thornton tried to ignite one with a jumper. Mumbru nailed a seven-meter bomb, but Smith stepped up with a reverse layup for a 67-76 Efes deficit. Madrid called timeout and Bullock fired in a key three-pointer that Massey followed with another basket to keep the guests far ahead, 70-81. Efes tried to speed up the game tempo, trying to use short possessions to avoid running out of time. Madrid kept full control, however, finding good shots on 20-second offenses. Thornton made free throws, but Reyes matched them with a turnaround jumper while a three-pointer by Hosley sealed the outcome, 73-86, with under three minutes to go. Everything was said and done as Madrid began celebrating a very important road win.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008