Real Madrid clinched second place in regular season Group D by downing Efes Pilsen 80-69 in the Spanish capital on Wednesday night. Madrid finished Group D with a 6-4 record, right behind CSKA Moscow. Meanwhile, Efes Pilsen was fifth at 4-6 and therefore out of the Top 16, as Armani Jeans Milano and Partizan registered respective road wins against Panionios On Telecoms and CSKA to finish third and fourth at 5-5. Felipe Reyes led the winners with 16 points. Jeremiah Massey posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, Alex Mumbru had 12 points while Quinton Hosley added 11 for Madrid. Bootsy Thornton had 15 points for Efes while Kerem Gonlum added 13 for the guests, that led 26-27 midway through the second quarter. Massey and an outstanding Mumbru allowed Madrid to get a 35-27 margin at halftime. Louis Bullock and Mumbru shined in the third quarter to break the game open, 56-39. Ender Arslan struck three times from downtown to get Efes within 69-60 but the guests could not complete their comeback.
Coach Joan Plaza shocked everyone by placing a recovered Axel Hervelle in the starting lineup. Madrid went scoreless in the opening 2 minutes, as a tip-in by Kerem Gonlum gave Efes a 0-2 lead. Reyes shined with a backdoor layup that Kaya Peker erased with a floating basket. Madrid could not even find open shots now, while Thornton sank a corner triple for a 2-7 Efes lead. Bullock made free throws while a fast break basket by Hosley brought Madrid within 6-7. Smith buried one from downtown, as Efes kept trying to get its wing players involved. Thornton made foul shots that Reyes erased with a layup for a 9-12 score. Efes had started to miss open shots while Hosley shined with a layup in transition. Peker had a big block on Sanchez but a three-pointer by Hosley gave Madrid its first lead, 14-12. Peker took over with a tip-in that Reyes erased with another easy basket. Free throws by Milos Vujanic tied the game, 16-16, at the end of the first quarter.
Tomas Van den Spiegel hit a jump hook right at the start of the second period, as Madrid improved with its second unit on court now. Raul Lopez fed Massey for a power layup but a driving basket by Vujanic kept Efes within 20-18. Michalis Kakiouzis had its trademark basket in the low post, as Van den Spiegel picked up his third foul. Massey scored down low and then matched Charles Smith's jumper with a tip-in, good for a 24-22 Madrid edge. Gonlum took over with a put-back layup but Efes kept double-teaming Reyes and Massey kept taking advantage of that with an alleyoop layup. Thornton fed Gonlum for a three-point play but Massey scored again to put Madrid back ahead, 28-27. Mumbru nailed a seven-meter bomb and even when Efes called timeout, it did not manage to fix its offense. Meanwhile, Mumbru followed a put-back basket with a fast break layup to give Madrid a 35-27 halftime margin.
Reyes and Gonlum traded layups immediately after the break, as Efes tried to attack the basket without much success and tried to change the game momentum with Mario Kasun on court. Hosley shined with a power layup to make Madrid restore a double-digit lead, 39-29. Vujanic made free throws but Efes entered the foul bonus midway through the third quarter. Massey took over with another layup in transition while Hosley provided a highlight with a wild alleyoop dunk. Efes called timeout at 43-31 but Madrid kept dominating the boards and finding easy fast break points. Van den Spiegel dunked it while Bullock added an acrobatic layup. Kasun tried to change things with a three-point play and Thornton made free throws to give Efes some hope, 48-37. Mumbru nailed a triple and even Kasun scored again, Bullock followed free throws with a bomb from downtown for a 56-39 Madrid margin. Kasun and Thornton got Efes within 58-43 after 30 minutes.
Efes needed a quick comeback to get back in the game but Marko Tomas scored around the basket to make it a 17-point game, 60-43. Cliff Hammonds stepped up with free throws but Hervelle had a big block and quickly scored in the other end for a 62-45 Madrid margin. Predrag Drobnjak had a layup in transition but Efes only managed to trade baskets now. Reyes sank an off-balance jumper that Kasun matched in the other end. Gonlum shined with a floating layup to make Madrid call timeout at 64-51. Reyes showed his power with a wild put-back layup - and the free throw that came with it. Ender Arslan tried to change things with consecutive bombs from downtown for a 67-57 Efes deficit with 4 minutes remaining. Reyes stayed unstoppable, however, but Arslan buried another triple for a 69-60 score. Lopez answered from downtown and even when Efes kept trying, Madrid had already sealed the outcome and its fans could celebrate that their team is in good shape for the upcoming Top 16.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009