In a high-scoring, fun-to-watch showdown that went down to the wire, Turkish Airlines EuroLeague powerhouse Real Madrid rallied from 22 points behind to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 142-137 at Barclaycard Center in the Spanish capital on Monday. Powered by guards Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City used a great first half to take full control at 31-53 on a three-point shot by Ersan Ilyasova. An outstanding shooting exhibition by Trey Thompkins helped Madrid get within single digits, 79-88, late in the third quarter. A brilliant performance by Jaycee Carroll and Luka Doncic led to Madrid taking its first lead, 112-111 with 5 minutes left, on a three-pointer by Rudy Fernandez. Enes Kanter and Alex Abrines seemed to decide the game as Madrid was down 121-126 with just 4.1 seconds left, but Andres Nocioni made 2 of 3 free throws before the rebound reached Llull, who struck from downtown to force overtime, 126-126. Othello Hunter followed a big triple with a huge dunk to seal the outcome in the extra period. Carroll led the winners with 24 points. Among Llull's 22 points were buzzer-beating triples at the end of the second, third and fourth quarters. Hunter had 19 while Nocioni and Thompkins got 16 each for Madrid. Oladipo led Oklahoma City with 34 points.
Early three-pointers by Fernandez and Carroll kept Madrid within 8-11 early on. Oklahoma City found its go-to guy in Oladipo, who got help from Russell Westbrook to give the visitors a double-digit lead, 12-24. Carroll kept pacing Madrid but an unstoppable Westbrook – with 9 points and 4 assists already – gave Oklahoma City a 22-35 lead after 12 minutes. A three-pointer by Abrines put his new team up 24-40in the second quarter. A layup by Kanter gave Oklahoma City a 20-point lead, 28-48. Nocioni brought Madrid a bit closer and a wild buzzer-beating three-pointer by Llull fixed the halftime score at 50-65.
Although Fernandez struck from downtown after the break, Kanter and Oladipo fueled a 0-8 run that kept Oklahoma City in charge, 53-73. Thompkins changed, however, with 3 triples that got Madrid within 66-78. Thompkins found help from Hunter before Anthony Randolph and Llull - again, at the buzzer - got Madrid back in the game at 87-95 after 36 minutes.
Jonas Maciulis and Carroll joined the three-point shootout as Madrid drew closer, 94-99, with 10:48 left. Oladipo kept finding easy baskets, singlehandedly keeping Oklahoma City ahead. Madrid, now with Doncic at point guard, kept fighting back as another triple by Carroll made it 107-111. Fernandez connected from downtown to complete Madrid's comeback, 112-111, with 4 minutes left. Back-to-back three-pointers by Abrines seemed to seal the outcome, 119-125, with a minute left. But Nocioni drew a foul while shooting a three-point shot with 4.1 seconds left and Madrid down 121-126. He made the first pair, but missed his third attempt, allowing Llull to beat the buzzer for the third time and send the game to overtime.
Llull kept pacing Madrid and got help from Randolph to take a 133-132 lead with 2 minutes left in overtime. Randolph's block on Kanter allowed Carroll to make free throws at 135-132 with 1:24 to go. Then Hunter hit a three-pointer and Carooll fed him for a dunk to seal the outcome, 140-134, with 34.8 seconds left. Oklahoma City never recovered, allowing Madrid fans to celebrate their second victory in eight tries against NBA teams with the start of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season coming next week.
Oklahoma City wraps up its visit to Spain with a game against Turkish Airlines EuroLeague powerhouse FC Barcelona Lassa in Barcelona, Spain on Wednesday.
Pablo Laso, Head Coach, Real Madrid
"First of all, I want to congratulate my players for this victory. I think we did a great job of hanging in the game. Our first half was not very good, let's put it this way. But we were able to stay in the game, and in the second half, our performance was much better. We had a lucky play in the end to go to overtime, stayed together after that and finally got a big victory. In the end, we beat an NBA team and our fans probaby feel very proud about their team after this win. Oklahoma has a great team and will get better, for sure, but we are very proud of this victory and how we competed."
Sergio Llull, Guard, Real Madrid
"We are happy with this win. Playing against an NBA team motivates anyone. We kind of gave away the first half: we were respecting our opponent maybe too much. We were ourselves in the second half, had fun on the court and our fans also enjoyed, which is important. As far as the buzzer-beaters (against Toronto in 2007 and against Oklahoma City tonight), when time is running out, I always try to help my team by taking that responsibility, taking that shot. I had the luck to hit a bunch of them at the end of some quarters."
Trey Thompkins, Forward, Real Madrid
"We have a great groiup of guys and it is easy to catch that vibe, like we did in the second half. We have good leaders in Sergio (Llull) and Felipe (Reyes), and good young guys like Luka (Doncic). We take it personal to have fun every time we step on the court. It starts from our coaching and triggers down to the rest of our team."
Rudy Fernandez, Guard, Real Madrid
"Even when this is preseason for them, it has been a great game, which is what our fans wanted. The difference between our first and second halves was big. We were wondering what was going on at halftime, in the locker room. We knew we were not playing with high intensity, so we raised our level. It is just one more game but it helps our self-esteem. We played a great fourth quarter in which everyone did well. Little by little, as weeks go by, we will play with higher intensity."
Billy Donovan, Head Coach, Oklahoma City Thunder
"First want to thank the city of Madrid. We had a great, great experience here. It was really enjoyable. I thought the game today was great for our guys. I thought in the first half, we played a really, really good game. We played to an identity that we were looking to create. But clearly, I thought our defense in the second half was not where it needed to be, both defending the three-point line and then obviously guarding them off the dribble...They nearly scored 95 points in the second half and overtime. So to me it's much, much more about us being able to sustain a defensive intensity for the full 48 minutes. This is obviously the first time we had a chance to play them. I thought their team battled and fought. We appreciated the crowd. I had a chance to spend some time with Coach Laso last night. They're great guys."
Russell Westbrook, Guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
"We definitely have a lot of new faces but I think we have some things to learn, obviously. We will get there, right now it is preseason and we are trying to get ready for the season, to make sure we click once the season starts."