Real holds firm to triumph in Berlin
Real Madrid survived a strong fightback from ALBA Berlin to take a 63-72 road win in the German capital on Friday night. Real took early control to establish a double-digit lead before the end of the first quarter, and that advantage was maintained until half-time, 30-40. Real protected its lead in the third period, but ALBA mounted an 11-0 fourth quarter run to get within 63-65 before Real pulled clear for good. Fabien Causeur led the winners with 13 points, and Carlos Alocen scored 12. Walter Tavares nearly grabbed a double-double with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, while Gabriel Deck added 9 points and 8 boards. ALBA’s Luka Sikma topped all scorers with 16 points, with Ben Lammers (11) and Marcus Eriksson (10) also in double figures. Real improves to 15-8 to protect its position in the top four, while ALBA drops to 8-15.
Real made a fast start through Causeur inside and Alberto Abalde from deep. Lammers got ALBA on the board before Alocen and Sikma traded classy close-range finishes, 4-7. Lammers and Causeur hit from deep before Simone Fontecchio added another triple for a 10-10 tie. Usman Garuba, Tavares and Abalde scored around the basket as Real opened up a big lead, and Deck also penetrated to layup before Eriksson ended a 0-10 run with a floater as the first quarter ended 14-22. Trey Thompkins scored twice early in the second quarter to keep Real comfortable despite triples from Maodo Lo and Louis Olinde. Tavares netted inside for a 19-30 advantage, before Sikma and Thompkins traded triples. An open dunk from Lammers brought ALBA closer, but Rudy Fernandez hit a triple to make it 30-40 at the break.
Causeur opened the second half scoring, just as he did in the first, but Eriksson and Sikma responded with triples to pull ALBA back to 36-42. Causeur steadied Real with his own three-pointer in a low-scoring passage of play. Alocen restored Real’s double-digit lead with a driving layup and then added a triple, but Olinde gave ALBA hope from beyond the arc. Alocen stayed hot with a three-point play, making it 42-54. Johannes Thiemann also struck from deep, but Alocen again scored in penetration and Deck made it 47-59 at the end of the third. Jeff Taylor scored in transition and added a reverse layup to stretch the lead at the start of the fourth, before Fontecchio and Eriksson gave ALBA hope. But Taylor added an alley-oop slam to keep the lead in double figures, 52-65, with 5 minutes left. Olinde struck a long two and Sikma added a corner three to give ALBA hope, and Jonas Mattiseck’s mid-range jumper followed by Lammers’ flicked finish made it 63-65 with 2 minutes left. But Tavares snapped the 11-0 run and scored Real’s first basket in 6 minutes with a layup and one, before Thompkins made a great steal and Deck scored inside to seal the deal.
Real dominates rebounding battle
Real crashed the boards from the opening tip, grabbing no less than 14 rebounds in the first quarter alone including 4 on the offensive end. The visiting team ended up winning the rebounding battle 31-42.
Gulf in two-point accuracy
The inside dominance enjoyed by Real was also reflected in the shooting stats: the Spanish team made 22 of its 34 two-point shots (64.7%), while ALBA could only convert 13-of-39 from inside the arc (33.3%). That helped Real overcome committing 17 turnovers, 6 more than ALBA.
Ten in a row for Real
The victory maintains a perfect record against ALBA for Real, which has now won all ten games between the teams this century.
Real heads home to welcome TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in an all-Spanish affair next Friday, while ALBA will be on the road at FC Bayern Munich on the same night.
Friday, January 29, 2021