Second-half surge takes Madrid past Maccabi
Great starts to the third and fourth quarters sent Real Madrid to a 91-79 home win over Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv on Thursday in the first game of the new year for both teams. Madrid remains in second place with a 13-3 record, while Maccabi stays 13th at 5-11. Gustavo Ayon led six Madrid scorers in double digits with 18 points to go with his game-high 9 rebounds. Rudy Fernandez added 13 points, Trey Thompkins 12, Sergio Llull, Anthony Randolph and Facundo Campazzo 11 each. Llull had 10 assists of Madrid's 23 assists. Maccabi got 23 points on 6-for-7 three-point shooting from Michael Roll. Alex Tyus added 17 points and Angelo Caloiaro 13 in Maccabi's eighth consecutive loss on Madrid's court. Maccabi was led at times in the first half, which ended in a 44-44 tie, but Madrid runs of 20-6 right after the break and 18-7 run to start the final quarter were too much for the visitors to overcome.
Caloiaro's 6 quick points staked an early 3-7 lead for Maccabi. After drawing 5 fouls in 2 minutes, Maccabi stayed aggressive as Tyus exploded dunked to make it 7-12. Fernandez and Randolph struck from deep in an 8-0 surge that gave Madrid a 15-12 lead that Maccabi trimmed to 21-19 after one quarter. The teams traded shots and leads, including Nimrod Levi's first EuroLeague points on triple. Johnny O'Bryant tied it 31-31, but Thompkins broke it with his third three-pointer of the quarter. Maccabi was not buying, however, and soon Roll fed Tyus for a go-ahead dunk at 38-39. Roll was back with his fourth triple in as many tries to assure a 44-44 halftime tie. Llull, scoreless until then, drilled 5 points and Campazzo had a four-point play in a 15-6 run after the break as Madrid soared in front by 59-50. Llull added another triple and assist as the lead hit a high of 64-50. Maccabi rallied behind Roll for a 10-0 run before Madrid took a 69-62 advantage into the fourth quarter. Fernandez stepped up with a steal and a three-point play to restore a 75-65 advantage as Madrid opened the final quarter with an 18-7 run to decide the game once and for all.
Having been held to single-figure scoring in three of his last four games, Sergio Llull looked as though his slump would continue when he went scoreless in the first half. After the break, however, he led Madrid's surge with 8 points, 3 assists and a steal in the first 9 minutes of the third quarter, with his second-three-pointer supplying the game's high lead, 64-50. He would go on to record his first double-double – 11 points and 10 assists – since getting the same numbers at home on March 10, 2017 against Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade.
With a 2-0 sweep of Maccabi this season, Madrid has now won 12 of their last 15 games dating to December of 2011, including eight consecutively at home. One of Maccabi's wins, however, was in overtime of the 2014 championship game. For that, Madrid continues getting its revenge.
Roll's super stroke
Until he missed his first three-pointer on his seventh try with 28 seconds left to play, Maccabi guard Michael Roll was working the EuroLeague's most perfect shooting night from deep in almost three years. He finished 6 for 7 from downtown, which nonetheless matched the second-highest total ever reached by a Maccabi player and the highest percentage with so many triples made in the club's 410 games EuroLeague games this century.
Real Madrid stays in Spain but nonetheless changes time zones for a road trip to Herbalife Gran Canaria in Round 17. Maccabi goes back to Tel Aviv to try to regroup against Buducnost VOLI Podrogica.
Thursday, January 3, 2019