Real Madrid outlasted Emporio Armani Milan 85-78
Real Madrid took the showdown between undefeated teams in Group C by downing EA7 Emporio Armani Milano 85-78 in front of a sellout crowd of almost 11,000 fans at the Caja Magica in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid became the only defeated team atop the Group C standings at 2-0 while Milano dropped to 2-2. Jaycee Carroll led the winners with 21 points on 4-of-4 triples. Rudy Fernandez added 17, Segrio Llull had 13 while Marty Pocius got 11 for Madrid. Drew Nicholas led Milano with 24 points. Malik Hairston added 14 while Danilo Gallinari had 12 for the guests. Milano led for the best part of the game, getting a 14-18 edge after 10 minutes and keeping a 36-39 margin at halftime. Nicholas had all points in a 0-13 run that boosted the guests' lead to 40-53 midway through the third quarter. Pocius, Fernandez and Llull fueled the hosts' comeback and a jumper by Carroll gave Madrid a 63-62 after 30 minutes. A jumper by Nicholas gave Milano its last lead, 71-72. Carroll and Pocius stepped up for Madrid, as the hosts quickly built a 83-76 lead and cruised to a well-deserved win. Above all, the game had all the ingredients to be remembered for a while - great individual performances on both sides, many lead changes, defense and an outstanding basketball atmosphere.
Ioannis Bourousis got Milano going with free throws that Mirza Begic matched with his trademark jump hook. Fernandez struck from downtown, as Milano struggled to score in the opening minutes. Meanwhile, Sergio Rodriguez fed Fernandez for an alleyoop dunk, good for a 7-2 Madrid lead. Coach Sergio Scariolo brought Hairston off the bench and he immediately delivered with a two-handed slam. Nikola Mirotic split free throws but a dunk by Antonis Fotsis kept Milano within 8-6. Hairston kept pacing the guests with a three-point play and Gallinari added a fallaway jumper to give Milano an 8-11 lead. Begic scored down low and free throws by Fernandez restored a 12-11 Madrid edge. Milano tried to run its offense through Gallinari, who took over with an off-balance basket and a wide open three-pointer. Leon Radosevic made free throws off a timeout but Llull matched those with a wild driving basket to keep Madrid within 14-18 after 10 minutes.
Pocius shined with an acrobatic driving layup early in the second quarter, as Madrid tried to speed up the game tempo and stopped allowing open shots. Llull sank a floating jumper to tie the game at 18-18. Stefano Mancinelli rescued Milano with a three-point play and a layup by Hairston gave his team a 18-23 edge. Llull downed a bomb from downtown, as Milano tried to play more aggressive with Mancinelli and Mason Rocca under the baskets. Carroll scored in penetration and improved Nicholas' six-meter jumper with a triple, good for a 26-25 Madrid lead. Pocius stayed on fire with an electric driving layup but Rocca scored twice in the paint to put Milano back ahead, 28-29. Carroll buried a three-pointer and Rodriguez added a driving basket but Nicholas shined with a three-point play and an off-balance basket and Omar Cook struck from downtown in a 0-8 run that boosted Milano's lead to 33-39. Carroll sank his second three-pointer to bring Madrid within 36-39 at halftime.
Gallinari split free throws right after the break but Madrid quickly found a new go-to guy. Tomic took over with a two-handed alleyoop slam and soon added a mid-range jumper that tied it at 40-40. Madrid entered the foul bonus early in the third quarter, however, forcing the hosts to change their strategy. Nicholas hit free throws and added back-to-back three-pointers to make Madrid call timeout at 40-48. Nicholas stayed on fire with free throws and another triple that boosted the guests' lead to 40-53, after a personal 0-13 run. Fernandez answered from downtown and found Tomic for an alleyoop dunk, as Madrid improved its defense right when needed. Llull downed a rainbow triple but a power basket by Hairston gave Milano some fresh air at 48-55. Bourousis shined with a dunk but Begic and Felipe Reyes kept Madrid within 51-57. Fernandez struck from downtown, as Milano tried a matchup zone defense. Pocius punished it with another triple that completed the hosts' comeback, 58-57. Gallinari hit free throws that Llull bettered with another shot from downtown. Hairston took over with a three-point play but a jumper by Carroll put Madrid back ahead, 63-62, after 30 minutes.
Mancinelli sank a floating layup early in the fourth quarter but a turnaround jumper by Begic provided another lead change, 65-64. Pocius hit free throws but Hairston improved that with a three-point play to tie it at 67-67. Carroll stepped up with a floating layup but Hairston - who else? - beat the buzzer with a wild three-pointer. Rodriguez sank his trademark stop-and-pop jumper but Nicholas soon put Milano back ahead, 71-72. Mirotic scored down low and a three-pointer by a red hot Carroll made Madrid get a four-point lead, 76-72, with over 4 minutes to go. Bourousis scored in transition but Pocius and Fernandez nailed free throws to keep Madrid out of trouble, 80-74. Milano struggled to score right when it mattered, as Madrid was all over the place in defense. Nicholas rescued the guests with free throws but Carroll and Fernandez allowed Madrid to seal the outcome, helpeing all Madrid fans to start celebrating a big win at the end of an incredible game!
Thursday, October 27, 2011