Real Madrid drew on experience and defensive self-denial to escape the labyrinth in which they entered against Fenerbahçe. Laso’s team, against the foot from the start, maintained their patience and concentration to solve the crossword puzzle in time against the Turkish team and claim their fourth victory in five days of the Euroleague. An hour before the game, Tavares was absent due to his imminent paternity and, without the intimidation or the production of the Cape Verdean, the duel was a birth for the whites. But Alocen’s drive, Rudy’s competitiveness, Causeur’s success (16 points) and Porier’s struggle (17 rebounds) enlightened Madrid to escape at the end of the impasse (70-69). Shayok’s last triple crashed into the ring and left Djordjevic’s team without a prize, cheered by the Madrid parish in the presentation.
With more losses (16) than assists (13), Madrid overcame the absence of Tavares, and also Llull (injured in the left shoulder), the bad day of Yabusele after weeks of percussion, and the generalized thickness of everything its cast, to maintain its impregnable condition in the Palace. The Whites were victorious against Fenerbahçe and successfully completed the sequence of three consecutive home games, four in the first five days of the Euroleague. A path of demanding rivals, but of manageable wear and tear. Everything saved in air miles has been used by Laso’s team to consolidate their reconstruction and make money boxes of victories before the cold arrives. This time suffering until the final honk.
Whether it was due to the significant casualties, and the consequent imbalances, or the solidity of Fenerbahçe’s defensive network, Madrid was unable to unleash the run with which they overwhelmed Monaco and Panathinaikos. The white team this time went into a quagmire of mistakes and anxiety and was only able to score two baskets in the first six minutes, a triple from Hanga and another from Heurtel. Of the 30 points in the first act against the French and Greeks, to the Pyrrhics 10 against the Turks (10-15, m. 10).
The struggle between Vesely and Polonara allowed Djordjevic’s team to take the initiative and, in search of solutions, Laso gave the alternative to another youth squad: Eli John Ndiaye. The 17-year-old power forward, 2.04m, born in Guediawaye (Senegal) and trained in Valdebebas since childhood, became the 17th young debutante in the 11 seasons of the Vitorian coach’s tenure. But the boy’s verve (two points, a rebound and a steal in his first six minutes in the Euroleague) did not end up spurring his team on. Neither did the departure of Tristan Vukcevic, recruited again due to the lack of personnel in the paint.
Barely Abalde was able to find a crack in the Turkish defense to alleviate Madrid’s collapse. Fenerbahçe moved the ball better (12 assists at halftime by six of the whites), took advantage of the imbalances of their rival, and had more success from the triple (5 of 8 in that section, with 2 of 3 for Polonara). But, precisely from the perimeter, Madrid found an emergency solution with a name and surname: Fabien Causeur. Three bingoes for the Frenchman in his four pitches since 6.75, allowed Laso’s team to reach the intermission with a manageable disadvantage. From 25-36 from minute 18 to 35-41 at the end of the first half. Causeur’s 11 points made up for the eight losses and the Whites’ defensive imbalance. The locals went to the locker room with a feeling of lesser evil after the torture and Fenerbahçe thinking that their good work had little spread.
At the restart, Laso tried to reunite Heurtel and Alocen on the track to balance the statistical blur of having more losses than assists. But Madrid did not improve either fluidity or tuning: 37 points in 24 minutes with 7 of 20 in triples. Until a hit by Hanga acted as a bugle call, on the parquet and in the stands. Alocen (who had passed Williams-Goss in the rotation after the American received a blow to the hand) found the measure between haste and vertigo, Rudy (exerting as four) and Hanga tightened the rope on defense, and Poirier took hold on the rebound (not the score). An arreón that definitively straightened the whites. Another triple on the horn of Causeur adjusted the scores before entering the home straight (50-52, m. 30).
Fenerbahçe discovered both fatigue and doubts. Madrid found the formula, with four short on track around Poirier, and optimism. De Colo and Vesely (measuring themselves with four fouls) tried to shore up the building, but Alocén, indefatigable, continued in his efforts until tying the match with a triple with six minutes to go (58-58, m. 34). And, immediately afterwards, Rudy completed the partial comeback (61-60). A referee review three minutes from the end allowed the two pillars of the Madrid reaction to breathe after their acceleration. And from the top of the referees it was an unsportsmanlike one to Mahmutoglu and a post technique to Djordjevic. However, from the string of free throws, Madrid came out with only two points of advantage. There was Vesely to tie and also Pierria Henry who, with a triple, placed the outcome on the ledge (64-67 at 1m 48s). The last ball was managed by De Colo, but the Madrid defense forced Shayok to play it, who failed in his attempted sentence. Laso’s team escaped victorious from a labyrinthine match.
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