Unbeaten Real Madrid KOs Strasbourg
Real Madrid remained unbeaten with a 79-66 victory over Strasbourg in the Spanish capital on Friday night. Madrid improved to 9-0 atop the Group B standings, while Strasbourg dropped to 2-7 and was eliminated from the Top 16 race. Strasbourg ill instead continue its European season in the Eurocup Last 32. Madrid, which never trailed, pulled away in the second quarter behind a pair of 13-3 runs. Nikola Mirotic and Sergio Rodriguez led the charge, as the hosts scored 34 points in the second stanza and opened a 53-32 halftime lead. Mirotic finished with 22 points plus 6 rebounds, Rodriguez had 14 points, while Felipe Reyes chipped in with 10 points and 6 rebounds. Antoine Diot netted 17 for Strasbroug. Tim Abromaitis scored 11, Romain Duport had 10 points plus 7 rebounds, while Paul Lacombe and Alexis Ajinca also scored 10 apiece in defeat.
First quarter: Diot's triples keep Strasbourg in touch early
Dontaye Draper got his first, and Salah Mejri his second start of the season for the hosts. Sergio Llull went coast-to-coast for a layup to open the scoring and Mejri made a jump-hook over Ajinca to make it 5-0. Diot hit a three-pointer for Strasbourg, and after Mirotic made a basket-plus-foul, Tim Abromaitis scored a layup and Diot nailed another triple to even the score, 8-8. But Rudy Fernandez made a pair of free throws and a jumper, and Mejri scored inside as Madrid pulled away to 16-8. After a Strasbourg timeout, Duport hit a pair of mid-range jump shots, and Louis Campbell scored a fastbreak layup, cutting it to 16-14. Mirotic answered with a triple, before Lacombe ended the first quarter with a layup to close within 19-16.
Second quarter: Los Blancos fly away
Tremmell Darden started second quarter with a jumper, and Rodriguez made a steal and raced for a fastbreak layup, helping the hosts to a 6-0 run. Diot hit 3 free throws for the visitors, but full-court press from Madrid did not allow Strasbourg much offense. Meanwhile, Llull hit behind the arc, and Marcus Slaughter made a steal and finished a fastbreak on his own, 32-19. Abromaitis snapped a 13-3 run with a dunk, Strasbourg's first field goal in the quarter, and Diot hit his third triple to make it 34-24, but Madrid soon ran away with it. Slaughter made a put-back and Rodriguez scored an easy layup and a triple, before Felipe Reyes added a put-back of his own to make it 47-28. A baseline jumper from Jeremy Leloup snapped another 13-3 spurt, but an easy dunk from Mirotic helped the hosts take a 53-32 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Madrid carries lead to 28
Ajinca scored the first basket of the third quarter, before Rodriguez connected on back-to-back alley-oop dunks, first with Mejri, then Fernandez. Rodriguez followed that with a triple, before Daniel Diez scored a layup for a 62-34 lead, the biggest of the night. Strasbroug was held without a single point for more than five minutes before Duport made a put-back and a jumper. Lacombe also hit a jump shot to trim the gap to 63-60, but Mirotic answered with a triple, before Axel Toupane cut it to 67-42 at the end of the third.
Fourth quarter: Strasbourg cuts deficit with strong finish
Lacombe drove for a pair of layups to start the fourth quarter, before Rodriguez sank a long jumper. But Strasbourg continued its run with jumpers from Duport and Abromaitis, and Lacombe scored inside to make it 69-52. The visitors' defense forced 3 consecutive turnovers, but did not convert on them until Abromaitis nailed a triple, getting them within 14 points, but Darden hit a triple-plus-free throw to snap 2-13 run and make it 73-55. Diot added to Strasbourg's tally with 5 more points, including a layup-plus-foul, and Ajinca muscled his way for a layup, helping cut it to 75-64 with two minutes to go. That is as close as the visitors got, as Mirotic hit 4 free throws before Ajinca banked in a shot to round out the scoring.
Friday, December 13, 2013