Real Madrid routs Efes, claims playoff advantage
High-flying Real Madrid beat Anadolu Efes Istanbul 86-66 in the Spanish capital on Thursday to claim second place in Group E and the home-court advantage in its upcoming playoffs duel with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv. The result snapped Madrid’s three-game losing skid and boosted its record to 10-4. Meanwhile, Efes lost its third consecutive game and dropped to 9-5, to place third place in the group by the virtue of holding a tiebreaker over 9-5 Panathinaikos Athens. Efes will play reigning champion Olympiacos Piraeus in the playoffs. Madrid started pulling away in the first quarter with three triples from Rudy Fernandez to open up an 11-point lead. Jaycee Carroll scored 9 quick points in the second as the margin reached 20 points. Efes made couple of 0-7 runs in the third quarter to cut the deficit, but Sergio Llull finished the quarter stringing together 8 points to extend the margin to 65-48 and Madrid cruised after that. Lull scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, and dished out 6 assists in the process, while Fernandez scored 11 of his 15 points in the first quarter. Carroll netted 14 points, Nikola Mirotic collected 11 points plus 7 rebounds and Marcus Slaughter scored 10 for the hosts. Jordan Farmar finished with 11 points for Efes, Jamon Lucas 10 and Kerem Gonlum had 8 points plus 9 rebounds in defeat.
First quarter: Triples from Fernandez open up early 11-point margin
Jamon Lucas opened the game with a jumper, but Fernandez answered right back with a triple to get the hosts going. Jordan Farmar sank a baseline jumper for Efes, but Mirza Begic scored a close-range basket, then converted a layup-plus foul to put Madrid up 8-4. After a layup from Lucas, Fernandez and Sergio Llull made back-to-back triples for a 14-8 lead. The visitors responded with baskets inside from Lucas and Semih Erden, but at the other end, Nikola Mirotic hustled hard to make a tip-in, then drove the baseline for a monster dunk. That was not all from Madrid in the first quarter, as Fernandez added a three-pointer on a fast break, his third triple in as many attempts, making it 25-14 after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Carroll fuels Madrid’s run as lead reaches 20
At the start of the second quarter, Jaycee Carroll strung together 7 points, including a triple, to extend the lead to 32-16. Stanko Barac and Kerem Tunceri scored for Efes in between Carroll’s baskets, and Kerem Gonlum made a put-back. But an alley-oop dunk from Marcus Slaughter off a half-court pass from Sergio Rodriguez, followed up with a fast break layup from Carroll, helped the hosts open up a 41-21 advantage. After Farmar’s driving layup, Slaughter and Rodriguez hooked up for another alley-oop slam. The highlights kept on coming, as Josh Shipp came up with a one-handed monster dunk, and Gonlum finished a rare Efes fast break with a layup. Farmar scored first Efes’s three-pointer in the final minute of the half, but after a timeout there was enough time for Rodriguez to throw an alley-oop pass for a one-handed baseline dunk from Fernandez and 47-30 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Llull takes charge as Los Blancos refuse to let up
Efes scored on the opening three possession of the third quarter. After baskets from Dogus Balbay and Farmar, a triple from Dusko Savanovic cut it to 47-37. However, Llull sparked a run of 8 unanswered points, ending with a dunk from Begic that got the hosts to 55-37. In a fast-paced game, streaks continued as Lucas snapped the hosts’ run with a runner, then Balbay’s layup-plus-foul and a basket from Savanovic made it 55-44. But before quarter’s end, Nikola Mirotic made an easy layup, and Llull strung together 8 more points making it 65-48 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Madrid celebrates key win long before final buzzer
Lull continued his personal run to start the fourth quarter, before Felipe Reyes joined in on the fun and Carroll sank a floater as lead reached 74-52. With the game clearly out of hand, Barac and Shipp scored for the visitors, but an alley-oop dunk from Rodriguez to Slaughter made it 80-56. After Gonlum’s free throws and a layup, in the final minutes Carroll sank a triple, and Mirotic added a three-pointer of his own, before Shipp rounded out the scoring.
Thursday, April 4, 2013