Madrid starts strong, routs host Barcelona
Real Madrid got back on the winning track by downing archrivals FC Barcelona Lassa in blowout fashion, 74-101, on the road at Palau Blaugrana on Friday. Madrid took its record to 14-9, the same as Khimki Moscow Region, Panathinaikos Superfoods Athens and Zalgiris Kaunas, all of them competing for fourth place at the moment. Barcelona dropped to 7-16 with its fourth consecutive loss. Jaycee Carroll led six Madrid scorers in double digits with 18 points. Anthony Randolph had 16, Felipe Reyes added 13, Facu Campazzo got 11 while Gustavo Ayon and Fabien Causeur each contributed 10 for Madrid. Thomas Heurtel led Barcelona with 11 points. Adam Hanga and Petteri Koponen each added 10 for the hosts. Carroll, Randolph and Walter Tavares combined for 20 quick points and a three-point play by Ayon gave his team a 10-30 margin late in the first quarter. Ante Tomic and Adrien Moerman tried to change things for Barcelona but Reyes, Randolph and Ayon kept Madrid way ahead, 35-52, at halftime. Back-to-back three-pointers by Carroll made it a 25-point game, 39-64, right after the break. Madrid extended its margin to 57-83 after 30 minutes and never looked back.
A put-back layup by Jeffery Taylor and a close jumper by Randolph ignited a 0-9 opening run which Tavares capped with an inside basket. Heurtel stepped up for Barcelona with back-to-back jumpers but Campazzo struck from downtown and an unstoppable Randolph made it a double-digit game, 5-15. Carroll buried his second triple and followed Tavares's dunk with a floater to boost his team's lead to 7-23. Moerman buried a three-pointer but Carroll and Rudy Fernandez fueled a 0-7 run that Ayon capped with a layup-plus-free throw to make it a 20-point game, 10-30. A triple by Sasha Vezenkov brought Barcelona within 13-30 after 10 minutes. Moerman took over with a jump hook, a jumper and a layup but Reyes kept Madrid way ahead, 19-36. Heurtel downed a three-pointer before Reyes scored again and Ayon added a free throw for a 24-40 Madrid margin. Tomic followed a floater with a layup and a three-point play by Juan Carlos Navarro gave Barcelona hope at 33-43. Campazzo downed a three-pointer, however, and a layup by Taylor made Barcelona call timeout at 33-48. Ayon scored down low and Campazzo fed Randolph for a dunk to boost their team's lead to 35-52 at halftime.
A layup-plus-free throw by Randolph and back-to-back triples by Campazzo and Carroll made Barcelona stop the game, 39-61, soon after the break. Navarro followed a three-pointer with his trademark 'bomba', and Koponen also hit from beyond the arc at 47-66. Ayon and Taylor dunked, Luka Doncic found his first points and an alley-oop slam by Ayon restored a 53-78 Madrid margin. A jumper by Reyes and a triple by Causeur made it a 26-point game, 57-83, after 30 minutes. Nothing really changed in the fourth quarter, as Madrid started to run down the game clock by using longer possessions. By the time Causeur hit another three-pointer, Madrid led 62-92 and was putting the wraps on a hugely important road win against its archrival.
Next week, Barcelona visits Zalgiris Kaunas on Thursday and Madrid hosts reigning champion Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul on Friday.
Friday, February 23, 2018