Real Madrid handled Unicaja 68-56
The Spanish derby of Group B on Thursday night fell on hosting Real Madrid's side by 68-56 against visiting Unicaja in Week 2 of the Turkish Airline Euroleague regular season. Unicaja was ahead during the first 15 minutes as Real Madrid struggled in offense, but especially in the third quarter, the hosts made the winning effort to jump ahead for good. This result gives Real Madrid its first win of the season for the 1-1 while Unicaja drops to the same record after having won the first game. For Real Madrid, Felipe Reyes led all scorers with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Sergio Rodriguez added 14, Sergio Llull chipped in with 13 and Clay Tucker nailed 10. Ante Tomic pulled 14 rebounds for the winners. Meanwhile, for Unicaja, Berni Rodriguez had 18 points and Uros Tripkovic added 10.
Good ball circulation for Unicaja ended with Joel Freeland's first two baskets for a starting 0-4, but Felipe Reyes replied with class and a move for the
three-point play for Real Madrid. Carlos Jimenez kept Unicaja ahead from downtown and Berni Rodriguez joined in for the 8-12. Sergio Rodriguez had to drive
in traffic to keep Real Madrid in the fight and soon Reyes added free throws to tie the game at 12-12. Unicaja didn't panic however, and found good options
in offense thanks to the same good circulation and patience, while in defense the guests pushed hard reaching the four fouls soon while Real Madrid had none.
Berni scored again to make it a 4-point game for Unicaja but Clay Tucker and Carlos Suarez kept it going for the hosts. Real Madrid earned trips to the foul
line with every Unicaja foul so Rodriguez scored two for the 17-18 and two minutes to go in the period. Unicaja struggled in defense and rebounds now, and
the hosts had options to move ahed in the score, but the ball didn't go in and the guests got the same result when time ran out for the same 17-18 at the end
of the first quarter.
The lack of control in defensive rebounds for Unicaja allowed Real Madrid for repeated options but the hosts didn't take advantage of that and it was
Freeland who opened the score again in the quarter with one free throw for 17-19. D'Or Fischer's put-back tied the game finally at 19-19, as Real Madrid
outrebounded Unicaja 21-9 at this point. Tucker was struggling against Unicaja's defense and Berni stepped up for a huge three to put the guests ahead one
more time. Madrid needed one more pinch of confidence in offense as it was the only thing preventing them to jump ahead in the score, until Ante Tomic fed
Sergio Llull for a two-handed slam to make it 25-24. Jimenez and Reyes traded more points, but Berni was still Unicaja's engine in the first half. The guests
displayed pressure in defense but the ball went to the paint for Reyes to put it in the basket and later Tucker had his own basket-plus-foul play to keep the
game as tight as can be, 32-32. With Unicaja pushing hard for the offensive boards in the last minute, Reyes had the last say in the first half with his 10th
point for a 34-32 halftime score.
Llull opened the score in the second half for Real Madrid and Tomic soon took the lead up to 6 points for the hosts, 38-32. Rafa Freire stopped the bleeding
for Unicaja with a free throw but Sergio Rodriguez was protagonist for the hosts now running the court in trying to get his team beyond the 10-point mark.
When Reyes scored for 42-33 it didn't slow Unicaja down as Georgios Printezis blasted the three. Madrid held firmly in the conviction of running the court
and two fast baskets made it a 10-point game for the first time, 46-36. Terrell McIntyre did all he could to conduct his team in offense while Unicaja forced
a couple of straight Real Madrid turnovers for a 46-41 after the 0-5 burst. Between Llull and Tucker, however, Unicaja's hopes were smashed to pieces in a
flash. Uros Tripkovic and Tucker traded huge threes, being the first one for the hosts after nine attempts, to put an end to the third period with a 53-43
Real Madrid edge.
The last period started with a 24-second violation by Unicaja, allowing a Tucker feed for Reyes to make it 55-43 for the hosts. Tripkovic appeared again for the guests, but it was clear that Unicaja's offense was running out of ideas as Real Madrid's defense kept improving. On the other end, the hosts showed patience and good decisions on most plays even though in a rare event, Tucker missed three straight free throws and Unicaja didn't surrender as McIntyre's courage led him to find Tripkovic for an open three and the 58-48. The game entered the last five minutes with the same situation and Tomic did nothing but increase the lead a little more with a hook and Llull joined in with a bomb that made it a 16-point deal, the largest of the night yet, 64-48. At that point, Unicaja lowered its arms and Real Madrid only had to cruise to the first win of the season for the team, even increasing the lead a little more.
Thursday, October 28, 2010