Last Night's Insights: Championship Game

May 21, 2018 by Print
Last Night's Insights: Championship Game

Three-pointers spark Madrid again

Just as they did on Friday night, a flurry of three-pointers got Real Madrid rolling on the way to taking the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague title with an 85-80 victory against Fenerbahce Dogus Istanbul at Stark Arena in Belgrade.

Luka Doncic missed Madrid’s first long-range attempt as the 2017 champs made a strong start, but before long Fabien Causeur set the triple train rolling, soon followed by further strikes from Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Llull and Anthony Randolph before the end of the first quarter. When Fenerbahce fought back to take the lead in the second quarter, it was Jaycee Carroll’s turn to get his name on the board from beyond the arc, giving Madrid a healthy conversion rate of 56% (5 of 9) by the interval.

Crucially, Fabien Causeur struck again early in the third quarter to send Madrid back ahead and soon added another from behind the arc to protect that lead, before Doncic made a confident transition three to improve his team to 8-of-13 shooting (62%) from downtown midway through the third. Although there were no more triples from Madrid in the third quarter, a key moment of the night came with six minutes remaining when Los Blancos gained a double-digit advantage, 71-61, as Carroll hit his second from long-range, netting a clutch triple from the left corner.

"I believe we have a coach who gives us confidence to hit these shots," Causeur said afterward. "Our shot selection is not always the best, but we know we can hit these shots. Coach always tells us, you guys can hit these shots for sure. Today might have been me, but it was also Thompkins, on Friday it was Carroll, and Llull, and Doncic. Everyone. We always stress, we just have to find a chance to take the best shot possible. Today we hit some tough shots, and you have to make such shots to win these games."

The 10-point difference, which reached 11 shortly thereafter, proved to be too big a deficit for Fenerbahce to overcome. Madrid captured the title after two wins at the Belgrade Final Four which owed a lot to a flurry of three-pointers to overturn early deficits: first in Friday’s second quarter against CSKA Moscow, when 5 triples in less than three minutes sparked a huge run, and then again on Sunday with a burst of 4 long-range strikes to give Madrid its first lead of the night in the championship game.