Real Madrid is 2018 EuroLeague champion
Real Madrid became the first team to win 10 EuroLeague titles by defeating Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul 85-80 in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game at Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia on Sunday. Fabien Causeur started and scored a team-high 17 points and Luka Doncic tallied 15 points and 4 assists to earn Final Four MVP honors. Trey Thompkins added 10 points in a true team effort that saw 11 different Madrid players score. Pablo Laso became the first Spanish coach in 37 years to win multiple EuroLeague titles, while Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Llull, Felipe Reyes, Facu Campazzo, Gustavo Ayon and Jaycee Carroll each won his second EuroLeague ring. Nicolo Melli paced Fenerbahce with 28 points, setting a new Championship Game scoring record in the Final Four era - Manu Ginobili, Antoine Rigaudeau, Dejan Bodiroga and Zoran Savic shared the previous record with 27 points apiece. Brad Wanamaker scored 14 and dished 5 assists in defeat. Fenerbahce led 38-40 at halftime, but Los Blancos scored the first 7 points if the second half and never trailed again. The lead peaked at 11 in the fourth quarter before Fenerbahce rallied late to get within 3, but Causeur iced the game from the line.
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Ahmet Duverioglu's layup opened the scoring and Nikola Kalinic added a triple to make it 0-5. Doncic started the Madrid tally with a fastbreak layup and followed it with a short jumper. But Duverioglu and Kalinic each scored from few feet away before Duverioglu’s dunk made it 6-11. Fabien Causeur knocked down a three for Madrid and after Duveriouglu got his personal tally to 8 points, Ayon made a long hook-shot, followed by back-to-back triples by Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llul to give Madrid an 18-15 edge. Kostas Sloukas snapped Fenerbahce’s three-minute drought without a field goal with a driving reverse layup, but Anthony Randolph nailed a last-second three to make it 21-17 after 10 minutes. Jeffery Taylor had a fastbreak dunk and Walter Tavares scored inside to extend it to 25-17 just 90 seconds into the second quarter. Fenerbahce needed another minute to score its first points, a triple from Melli, who also strung together a layup and a fastbreak dunk to close the gap, before a step-back jumper from Luigi Datome and another layup from Melli made it 29-28, prompting a Madrid timeout. A floater by Carroll and a long baseline jumper from Trey Thompkins gave Madrid some breathing room, but only briefly. Sloukas drove through the defense for a runner before Brad Wanamaker made free throws to restore Fenerbahce’s lead. In the final minute, Carroll and Sloukas traded three-pointers as Fenerbahce went into the break in front 38-40.
Madrid scored the first 7 points of the third quarter, with Causeur hitting a triple and Ayon putting a move on Jan Vesely inside, to lead 45-40. Melli got Fenerbahce going, first trading near-impossible baskets in the crowd with Felipe Reyes and then trading triples with Causeur. Wanamaker had a three-point play that cut the margin to 50-48 and also nailed a long jumper that Doncic bettered with a transition three-pointer. Causeur banked in a tough runner to open a 59-52 margin with more than two minutes left in the quarter. Kalinic had a monster dunk for Fenerbahce, but Tavares's put-back helped Madrid head into the fourth quarter with a 63-55 advantage. Llull committed his fourth personal foul early in the fourth quarter and Madrid was held without a field goal for more than three minutes to open the fourth quarter. Fenerbahce cut the deficit to 66-61 through Melli who had a three-point play and a three-pointer. But after Sloukas missed a pull-up three-pointer, Vesely’s unsportsmanlike foul resulted in free throws from Doncic and a triple from Carroll as the margin went up to 61-51 with exactly six minutes to go. In the next four minutes, Madrid only managed 3 free throws, but also pulled down 3 offensive rebounds, enough to extend the margin to 74-63. Melli hit a triple and Ali Muhammed made a tough layup to get within 74-69, but Tavares, Thompkins and Doncic each made a pair of free throws to extend the difference to 9 points with 1:23 to go. Fenerbahce was not going away, however, as Wanamaker got to the line twice and made all 4 fouls shots before Muhammed nailed a three-pointer with 22.4 seconds to go to bring Fenerbahce to 81-78. Causeur got to the line 4 seconds later and missed both of his free throws, but Thompkins was there for a put-back to make it a 5-point advantage, which Madrid preserved in the final seconds.
Sunday, May 20, 2018