It’s difficult to know how to begin analyzing Real Madrid’s pulsating 97-103 victory over ALBA Berlin on Thursday night.
Perhaps the obvious place to start is with Facundo Campazzo, who tied an all-time competition record (and thereby set a new club record) by dishing 19 assists. The Argentine reached that mark after making a blistering start, reaching double figures in assists before the end of the first quarter, and he surely would have broken the record if he hadn’t committed his fifth foul with 2 minutes remaining. As it turned out, though, Campazzo now sits atop the pile alongside Stefan Jovic, who had 19 assists for Crvena Zvezda against FC Bayern Munich in November 2015.
Two of Campazzo’s teammates also deserve special mention, with Anthony Randolph and Jaycee Carroll both scoring 27 points and both making 5 of their 8 three-point attempts. Randolph was unstoppable in the first quarter, which saw him score 19 points while making all seven of his field-goal attempts.
For Carroll, the 27-point haul was the fourth-best of his 239-game EuroLeague career and his best since April 2017 when he netted 29 against Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Randolph’s 27 points were the best he has achieved in a Real Madrid uniform, having twice scored 28 during his time with Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar.
The combined efforts of Campazzo, Carroll and Randolph were enough to create a record-breaking first quarter for Real, which made 15 of its 17 field goal attempts on the way to scoring 41 points in the opening 10 minutes – the highest tally ever recorded by Real in any EuroLeague quarter.
Having led by as many as 26, though, Real somehow found itself trailing by 10 at halftime – yes, there was a swing of 36 points in 12 minutes of action – after an almost equally sensational second quarter from ALBA. The German team scored 35 points in the second quarter, the highest single-quarter total in the club’s EuroLeague history, and subjected Real to its worst-ever quarter partial score of 35-9, minus 26.
In fact, that was the second-biggest point difference in a quarter ever encountered in the EuroLeague: Kinder Bologna put up a 27-point margin on Estudiantes in February 2001, winning the second quarter 39-12. The Estudiantes team on that occasion featured a young Felipe Reyes, who was spared the ignominy of appearing in the worst two quarters in competition history by being left out of Real’s 12-man roster for this game.
More than any of those facts and stats, however, perhaps the craziest aspect of Thursday’s game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena was the number and scale of the runs put together by both teams. Runs, of course, are part and parcel of basketball, and it is perfectly normal for a game to feature two or three high-scoring passages of play for one of the contestants. But not like this.
Real started things off with a relatively normal 0-7 run (6-6 to 6-13). Then came a 0-8 charge (10-15 to 10-23) and another 0-7 spurt (14-29 to 14-36), meaning that Pablo Laso’s men had scored 22 points without reply during three separate phases of the first quarter.
ALBA came back, rallying from 27-43 to 40-43 with a 13-0 run at the start of the second quarter, before taking the lead with a 10-1 tear to head into the locker rooms at 60-50. After the break, it was Real’s turn again, as the visitors moved back in front with a 0-14 run (68-57 to 68-71). Then, finally, came a 0-13 powerplay to establish a game-winning lead (71-71 to 71-84).
So, to recap, one game produced: a tie for the single-game assists record; two club record scoring quarters; the competition’s second-biggest quarter points difference, and runs of 7-0, 8-0, 7-0, 13-0, 10-1, 14-0 and 13-0.
That's just…well, let's leave it to the record-tying Campazzo, who summed up the contest showing the same accuracy with which he slung passes: "We played a weird game."