Madrid rallies past Gran Canaria on the road
In an all-Spanish showdown in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season, Real Madrid rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to top Herbalife Gran Canaria 67-75 on the road on Tuesday. Madrid improved to 14-3 and remains second in the standings while Gran Canaria dropped to 6-11 and is 13th overall. Sergio Llull led the winners with 16 points. Rudy Fernandez added 11 while Anthony Randolph and Gustavo Ayon each had 10 for Madrid. Albert Oliver and Eulis Baez led Gran Canaria with 12 points apiece. Oriol Pauli added 11 for the hosts, who led 34-27 at halftime and kept a 56-52 margin after 30 minutes. Fernandez and Edy Tavares took over in the final quarter, allowing Madrid to add another win.
Randolph got Madrid going with a corner triple and Fabien Causeur added a driving layup for a 0-5 lead. Xavi Rabaseda scored twice off consecutive steals, igniting an 8-0 run that Oliver capped with free throws. Jeffery Taylor struck from downtown but Baez followed a three-point play with a power basket and fed Ondrej Balvin for a reverse layup, good for a 15-8 Gran Canaria lead. Randolph downed a basket and Llull followed a triple with a layup-plus-foul for a 15-16 Madrid lead after 10 minutes. A layup by Anzejs Pasecniks restored a 17-16 Gran Canaria lead early in the second quarter. Rudy Fernandez and Gustavo Ayon stepped up for Madrid but Pauli and Balvin helped Gran Canaria tie it at 21-21. Gabriel Deck answered with a backdoor layup but Marcus Eriksson hit a triple, Oliver added a finger-roll layup and a huge dunk by Rabaseda made Madrid call timeout at 28-25. Oliver ignited the crowd with a three-point play and a bomb from downtown to boost the hosts' lead to 34-27 at halftime. A driving layup by Pauli and an alley-oop dunk by Balvin made it a double-digit game, 38-28, soon after the break. Ayon and Randolph tried to change things for Madrid but an outstanding Pauli kept the hosts way ahead, 43-35. Pasecniks hit a triple and Pauli scored again but Llull struck twice from downtown to give Madrid hope at 48-42. Baez hit free throws but a 0-7 run that Llull capped with a huge three-pointer made Gran Canaria stop the game at 51-49. Eriksson answered from beyond the arc, helping Gran Canaria get a 56-52 margin after 30 minutes. Campazzo and Tavares scored around the basket to tie the game, 58-58, early in the fourth quarter. Baez hit free throws but a three-point play by Tavares completed Madrid's comeback, 60-61, with 6 minutes left. Oliver gave Gran Canaria its last lead, 62-61, as Fernandez hit free throws and added consecutive triples for a 63-69 Madrid margin with under 3 minutes left. A layup by Taylor allowed Madrid to keep a safe margin for good.
Llull had a really solid game, leading Madrid's third-quarter comeback. He finished the game with 16 points, 4 assists and a steal for a game-high PIR of 18.
Oliver hit free throws to give Gran Canaria its last lead, 62-61. Madrid found a go-to guy in Fernandez, who scored all points in a 1-8 run that dynamited the game, 63-69. Madrid kept its cool in the final 2 minutes and walked away with a win.
Madrid picked up 12 turnovers in the first half, but just one in the second half and none in the final 18 minutes of the game. A better control on offense made the difference in a very defensive game.
Did you notice?
Speaking on turnovers, Gran Canaria only had 3 in this game. It is a new club record for lowest turnovers, by far - it previously had 7 against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. It is also this season's record for least turnovers - AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan previous had 4 against Madrid. Neither Milan not Gran Canaria beat Madrid despite taking great care of the ball.
Both teams return to action later on this week - Madrid hosts Olympiacos Pireaus on Thursday, January 10 at 21:00 CET. It is a rematch of the 1995, 2013 and 2015 EuroLeague Championship Games. Gran Canaria visits KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz on Friday, January 11 at 20:30 CET.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019