Unbeaten Real Madrid dominates as it claims Top 16 spot
Unbeaten Real Madrid conducted another offensive clinic in defeating Zalgiris Kaunas 95-67 and claiming a spot in the Top 16. With a 6-0 record Madrid sits atop Group B, while Zalgiris dropped to 2-4 in a share of the fourth place. Madrid pulled away early, first led by Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Nikola Mirotic, before Sergio Rodriguez took over in the second quarter. Making several big runs, the hosts built 56-32 halftime margin and led big rest of the way. Mirotic finished with 17 points, Fernandez had 16, Rodriguez netted 15, while Llull added 10 in victory. Justin Dentmon paced the visitors with 16 points, Arturas Milaknis netted 14, and Martynas Pocius had 9 in defeat.
First quarter: Llull gives Madrid rhythm and lead
After a jumper from Ioannis Bourousis opened the scoring, Dentmon nailed a jumper and a triple to get the visitors going. Madrid’s offense, orchestrated by Llull, however, found its rhythm immediately. Mirotic made a jumper and Llull and Tremmell Darden nailed three-pointers for a 12-5 advantage, before a fastbreak dunk from Darden capped a 12-0 run. Coming out of a Zalgiris timeout, Dentmon and Fernandez traded threes, before Siim-Sander Vene hit a pull-up jump shot. But Mirotic added a layup for the hosts, before Darden’s blocked shot launched Llull for a fastbreak dunk and a 23-10 lead. Zalgiris countered with Sarunas Jasikevicius hitting a jumper, but Darden answered with a triple, and Mirotic ended the first quarter scoring with a dunk that made it 28-14.
Second quarter: Madrid dominates, pulls away
Madrid continued its dominance in the second quarter. Rodriguez opened it with a jumper, and after Javtokas made a layup-plus-foul, Rodriguez went on a little run of his own with a steal, a fastbreak layup, and a jumper to make it 34-17. Salah Mejri added a layup to the tally, before a reverse layup from Javtokas and triples from Milaknis and Dentmon cut it to 38-26. Dentmon was 3 of 3 behind the arc at that point, after going 6 of 6 last week. But Bourousis made a basket-plus-foul for the hosts, and after a Vytenis Lipkevicius layup, Dentmon missed from long range, snapping its run, only for Jaycee Carroll to nail one from downtown on the other end, 46-28. Dentmon responded with a layup, and a floater, almost single-handedly keeping Zalgiris with hope, however, Madrid finished the quarter with a 10-0 run. A triple from Fernandez, a put-back dunk from Bourousis, and eventually Rodriguez sinking one from long range, gave the hosts a 56-32 halftime lead.
Third quarter: Home team cruises
Marcus Slaughter began the third quarter with put-back, and Mirotic followed with a three-pointer. A layup from Rudy, and a fastbreak dunk from Mirotic extended it to 65-33. Back-to-back three-pointers from Pocius cut it to 67-39. Slaughter had a fastbreak dunk, and Mirotic added a layup for the hosts, meanwhile, Vytenis Cizauskas and Pocius scored layups, and Milaknis hit a three-pointer for 73-46. Llull and Jankunas followed by trading threes, and after another Slaughter bucket inside, Jankunas and Cizauskas made layups to make it 79-53 after three quarters.
Fourth quarter: Margin reaches 35 points as Los Blancos roll
The tempo and scoring slowed down in the fourth quarter, as neither team scored points for almost three minutes before Milaknis hit a triple for Zalgiris. But Rodriguez answered with back-to-back shots from downtown, then Daniel Diez hit one as well as the margin reached 89-56. Carroll and Mejri extended it to the largest of the night, 93-58, before in the closing stages, Milaknis hit his fourth triple for the visitors, sparking a quick 0-7 run, and Lavrinovic rounded out the scoring with a fastbreak layup.
Friday, November 22, 2013