Madrid tops Bayern to reach playoffs
Real Madrid booked its place in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs with 91-78 win over the visiting FC Bayern Munich on Friday in the Spanish capital. Madrid improved to an 18-5 record to retain third place in the standings, while Bayern dropped to 11-12 and slid two positions to ninth place. Madrid took the lead for good in the first quarter, but did not break the game open until the third, when it turned a 46-45 lead into an untouchable 71-52. Madrid never looked back as Sergio Llull paced Madrid with 15 points and 7 assists, while Walter Tavares controlled the paint with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Danilo Barthel had 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for Bayern.
Thanks to an early 1-9 run in which Maodo Lo made 2 baskets and Petteri Koponen hit a transition triple, Bayern went up 12-15. The hosts responded, finishing the quarter with a 10-2 spurt that Jaycee Carroll started with one triple and Gabriel Deck with another on the run to beat the buzzer at 22-17 after 10 minutes. Madrid continued its charge with 9 points in the first 65 seconds of the second quarter – including three-point shots from Jeffrey Taylor and Llull, and 3 points the hard way by Carroll – to open 31-17 margin. However, Bayern had no intentions of going away. Barthel and Koponen knocked down back-to-back triples before Lo added his own to cut the gap to 34-27. More triples, this time from Barthel and Braydon Hobbs, made it 40-39 in the final minute of the half before Tavares beat the buzzer with a dunk to put Madrid up 43-39 at halftime. The teams went basket for basket in the third quarter before a put-back dunk from Tavares started a run of 10 straight points that included fastbreak baskets from Deck and Anthony Randolph for a 56-45 Madrid lead. Back-to-back threes from Llull and Randolph made it 62-47 before a triple from Hobbs snapped Madrid's 16-2 spurt. But Tavares scored twice inside and Randolph had a four-point play for a 71-52 difference after 30 minutes. Hobbs and Koponen hit triples to spark hope for the visitors, but so did Llull before Taylor drove for a dunk to make it 78-62. Back-to-back threes from Nemanja Dangubic and Barthel eventually cut the difference to 78-68, but Bayern never got closer than that.
Taking CSKA with it
A win by Real Madrid meant not only that Los Blancos qualified for the playoffs, but CSKA Moscow, too. This is the seventh year in a row that Madrid is in the playoffs.
Randolph scored 11 of his 13 points in a 25-7 spurt to end the third quarter. His fastbreak dunk, a layup plus free throw and a three-point shot filled a 16-2 run to a 62-47 lead, then his triple-plus-free throw combination with 1.4 seconds left in the third quarter made it 71-52.
In double digits
Madrid had five players in double figures. Apart from Sergio Llull's 14 and Walter Tavares's 10 points, Randolph, Jaycee Carroll and Gabriel Deck each scored 13 points. Bayern had Barthel score 14, and three players – Petteri Koponen, Vladimir Lucic and Nihad Dedovic – with 10 apiece. Braydon Hobbs had 9 points and 7 assists.
A point away
Bayern got within 1 point four times in the game but never took the lead. A triple from Hobbs cut it to 40-39 late in the second quarter, then the visitors got within 42-41, 44-43 and 46-45 early in the third before Madrid went on its key 16-2 spurt.
Next week in Round 24 both teams will be on the road. Madrid goes on to visit its arch-rival FC Barcelona Lassa, while Bayern travels to coach Dejan Radonjic's hometown to face Buducnost VOLI Podgorica.
Friday, February 22, 2019