Madrid downs Zalgiris, gets first win
In a battle of Turkish Airlines Euroleague classics, Real Madrid defeated Zalgiris Kaunas 80-71 in the Spanish capital to get its first win in Group A. Felipe Reyes paced the winners with 11 points. Gustavo Ayon added 10 for Madrid. James Anderson led Zalgiris with 19 points while Arturas Milaknis added 13. Paulius Jankunas and Anderson shined early to give Zalgiris an 8-13 margin. Madrid improved its defense and a three-point play by Reyes gave the hosts a 18-14 lead early in the second quarter. Zalgiris improved its ball circulation through an outstanding Lukas Lekavicius, who got help from Anderson and Robertas Javtokas to give Zalgiris a 32-35 margin at halftime. Madrid improved its offense after the break, as Ioannis Bourousis and Rudy Fernandez led an 11-0 run that gave the hosts a 45-39 margin. Madrid extended its margin to 56-49 at the end of the third quarter but Milaknis and Anderson kept Zalgiris as close as 66-61 with over 4 minutes left. Andres Nocioni, Jaycee Carroll and reigning Euroleague MVP Sergio Rodriguez shined in crunch time to lead Madrid to its first Euroleague win of the season.
First quarter: Anderson, Jankunas put Zalgiris ahead
Both teams struggled to score early until Ayon stepped up with a jump hook. Lekavicius shined with a driving basket and a coast-to-coast layup by Anderson gave Zalgiris its first lead, 2-4. Anderson kept pacing the guests with a three-pointer but Sergio Llull answered from downtown to keep Madrid within 5-7. Paulius Jankunas nailed a fadeaway jumper which K.C. Rivers bettered with a triple. Arturas Gudaitis had a big block on Fernandez which allowed Jankunas to bank in a close shot. A five-meter jumper by Darius Songaila soon gave the guests an 8-13 margin. Fernandez and Vaidas Karinaiuskas split free throws and a driving layup by Llull brought Madrid within 11-14. Jonas Maciulis made foul shots to bring the hosts a bit closer, 13-14, at the end of the first quarter.
Second quarter: Zalgiris keeps slim margin
Carroll banked in a running shot which put Madrid back ahead, 15-14, early in the second quarter. Rodriguez found Reyes for a wild three-point play which Anderson erased with a bomb from downtown. Rodriguez split free throws and a six-meter jumper by Jankunas tied it at 19-19. Maciulis hit 1-of-2 from the foul line and a three-pointer by Milaknis restored a 20-22 Zalgiris edge. Anderson scored in penetration, Reyes made free throws and a layup by Tomas Dimsa gave Zalgiris a 22-26 edge. Rodriguez and Anderson struck from downtown and a floating layup by Lekavicius made Madrid call timeout at 25-31. Bourousis and Rodriguez split free throws and a three-pointer by Nocioni brought Madrid within 30-31. Lekavicius hit a stop-and-pop jumper that Nocioni erased with a driving layup. Free throws by Robertas Javtokas gave Zalgiris a 32-35 edge at halftime.
Third quarter: Madrid improves offense, takes the lead
Anderson hit a one-handed floater in the lane right after the break which Ayon erased with a baseline jumper. Javtokas finished a patient Zalgiris offense with a layup but free throws by Llull kept Madrid as close as 36-39. Bourousis stepped up with a three-point play and a fadeaway jumper by Fernandez made Madrid regain the lead, 41-39. Zalgiris kept struggling to score and a power layup by Bourousis made the guests call timeout at 43-39. Rivers shined with a driving layup which capped an 11-0 Madrid run. Milaknis tried to change things with a jumper that Bourousis matched with a fast break dunk. Milaknis kept pacing Zalgiris with a three-pointer and free throws by Anderson got Zalgiris within 47-46. Fernandez made free throws and Ayon scored twice around the basket to give Madrid fresh air at 53-47. Edgaras Ulanovas, Reyes and Gudaitis split free throws and a fast break layup by Facu Campazzo fixed the score at 56-49 after 30 minutes.
Fourth quarter: Nocioni, Reyes lead Madrid in crunch time
A catch-and-shoot three-pointer by Maciulis made it a double-digit game, 69-59, early in the fourth quarter. Gudaitis tried to change things with a put-back layup which Reyes bettered with a three-point play. Lekavicius scored in penetration but an unstoppable Reyes allowed Madrid to make it an 11-point game, 64-53. Anderson provided a highlight with an off-balance basket, Carroll banked in a running shot and a layup by Karinaiuskas kept Zalgiris within 66-58. Milaknis swished a step-back triple but Maciulis quickly answered from downtown. Gudaitis took over with a tip-in, Rodriguez ignited the crowd with a driving layup and free throws by Kariniauskas gave Zalgiris hope at 71-65. Nocioni and Carroll hit consecutive jumpers but Songaila and Milaknis brought the guests within 75-69 with less than 2 minutes left. Fernandez sent a wild no-look pass to Rodriguez, whose layup seal the outcome, 78-69. Zalgiris never gave up but Madrid cruised to a well-deserved win.
Friday, October 17, 2014