Real outlasts Zvezda from long range
A back-and-forth battle went down to the wire on Friday before Real Madrid eked out a 67-73 victory on the court of Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade to extend its winning streak to three games. Real raised its record to 4-4 while denying the same to Zvezda, which fell to 3-5. Trey Thompkins led Real with 14 points while Anthony Randolph followed with 13 for the winners. Jordan Loyd had 22 points and Corey Walden 16 for Zvezda, which had led by as many as 13 points in the first quarter and by 42-36 at halftime. With an 11-23 third quarter, Real rose to lead by a high of 8 points, at 46-54, but Zvezda whittled it down and went ahead 65-64 with 4 minutes left. Thompkins hit 2 triples while Zvezda went almost 4 minutes without scoring to settle the matter in the visitors' favor.
Ognjen Kuzmic scored 4 points and helped draw 2 quick fouls on Walter Tavares of Real, who took a seat within 2 minutes, after which Duop Reath, Loyd and Langston Hall quickly pushed Zvezda ahead 13. Loyd, Randolph and Corey Walden traded triples before Emanuel Terry's tip-in made it 21-8. Usman Garuba steadied Real before Jaycee Carroll and Thompkins drilled back-to-back threes at 21-19. Johnny O'Bryant stopped Zvezda's bleeding and Walden beat the buzzer from deep for a 26-21 Zvezda edge after 10 minutes. Loyd's 5 quick points led to a kept Zvezda in charge early in the second quarter and soon Reath and O'Bryant boosted the lead back to double digits, 38-27. Rudy Fernandez ended Real's nearly five-minute scoring drought from deep before Garuba and Campazzo hit their first baskets at 38-34. Dejan Davidovac's tip-in would send Zvezda to the half holding a 42-36 advantage. Randolph hit a triple and Tavares slammed a lob pass before Sergio Llull drove for a go-ahead layup at 42-43 for Real's first lead early in the second half. Campazzo and Llull then connected from long range as the Real run hit 4-15 for a 46-51 lead. Randolph kept it going from the corner before Loyd sliced for a layup and buried a catch-and-shoot triple at 51-54. Alberto Abalde had the answer for Real on the third-quarter buzzer for a 53-59 lead. Loyd and Davidovac got to the basket to open the final quarter by pulling Zvezda within 57-59. Fernandez and Tavares pushed the difference to 59-64 but Terry and Loyd cut it quickly and Corey Walden supplied a new lead change at 65-64 with 4 minutes left. Out of a timeout, Real found Thompkins for triples on either side of the court to just as suddenly jump back in front, 65-70, a lead that lasted into the final minute and proved good enough for the victory.
Zvezda led by 13 in the first quarter and Real by 8 in the third, but then the hosts came back to re-take a 65-64 advantage with 4 minutes left. Out of a timeout, it took less than a minute for Trey Thompkins to nail mirror-image threes from either wing on stellar assists from Facundo Campazzo. Real's defense did the rest, holding Zvezda without any more point until 11 seconds remained, which was too late for another comeback.
The two teams took almost exactly opposite paths to their final scores. Zvezda shot 39 two-point shots at a 53.9% rate and 21 three-pointers, making just 5, for 23.8%. Real launched 39 threes and made 14, for 35.9%, while trying just 18 shots inside the arc, although making 11 of them, or 61.1%. Free throws were not a major factor, so those higher percentages paid off for Real in the end.
Real's 39 three-point tries were the team's second-highest total this century, exceeded only by the 40 attempted less than a year ago, on December 26, 2019, in a 75-87 road win at Panathinaikos OPAP Athens.
Madrid opens its double-round next week on Wednesday by hosting Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in one of the time-honored rivalries of the sport of basketball. On the same night, Zvezda hits the road for a visit to AX Armani Exchange Milan.
Friday, November 13, 2020