Real Madrid needs another extension to defeat Valencia Basket

Real Madrid needs another extension to defeat Valencia Basket

Merengue triumph (96-86) in a WiZink Center subscribed to the epic


Real Madrid won this Thursday 96-86 at home against Valencia Basket, with an outstanding performance by Cape Verdean center Walter 'Edy' Tavares, in a match corresponding to matchday 21 of the Regular Phase of the Euroleague and which was resolved in extra time from free throws.

On the WiZink Center court, the more in tune visitors began, especially in shooting from mid-distance. The successes of Justin Anderson, Jared Harper and Chris Jones were combined with the work of Brandon Davies inside the paint, although without ruling out the outside shot.

On the Madrid side, Guerschon Yabusele and Walter Tavares responded in the low post, missing more aim from distance. And it took Real Madrid more than half a quarter to score their first triple, the work of Facu Campazzo in a forward position. Justin Anderson himself replied and that spurred Valencia, who gradually escaped.

Álex Mumbrú's pupils went up 11 (13-24), just before Sergio Llull opened his points tally, thanks to a triple that did not end the visitors' streak in the first quarter. That good 'taronja' image was continued thanks to Stefan Jovic, spotless from the free kick to put his team at +12 several times (16-28, 18-30).

The locals then entrusted themselves to Tavares, a raft afloat from a stuck attack. Campazzo also appeared from time to time, although he did not seem to have one of his magical evenings in the distribution of passes. He saved Chus Mateo's team from Xabi López-Arostegui's chain of errors from the light bulb; good selections from the former Joventut player, poor execution.

After a basket by Dzanan Musa, the duel faced its last minute of the first half at 33-36, a phase of quick exchanges that Jaime Pradilla closed with a hook at the 20th minute horn (35-40). Something had to change on the merengue side to counter their rival, and that happened at half-time with an unexpected element.

That intermission lasted almost twice the normal time, due to a failure in the stopwatch of a video scoreboard. The long break allowed the players of both teams to do several shooting exercises and to refine their warm-up. Upon returning to the court, once the mishap had been overcome, Real Madrid accumulated an 11-3 run thanks to Fabien Causeur's skill from outside.

A dunk from Anderson in the face of Tavares cut short the merengue reaction (46-45), although the third period never recovered the dynamism of the previous two. A lengthy referee review did not contribute either, 3:53 before reaching the 30th minute, due to an involuntary elbow from Yabusele to Damien Inglis in his 'spacing' movement to make a hook.

Yabusele himself immediately amended that situation with a triple, answered 'ipso facto' by another from Jovic (53-53). Not even from the free kick was it easy for the Madridistas to score, as they missed one from Tavares and then another from Campazzo. In fits and starts, Valencia remained close in the scoreboard (58-55) at the gates of the fourth quarter.

The alternation in leadership (61-65) occurred after two good actions by Davies and two more by Josep Puerto, including theft of the ball by Inglis. Mateo trusted there in Sergio Rodríguez and Sergio Llull, who on so many occasions during the last decade have raised missions against the current.

Not in vain, 'Chacho' reduced the gap with a triple (64-65) with 5:38 remaining. The choice of Mario Hezonja to play the decisive minutes was barely working, far from his stellar role in last Epiphany night against Anadolu Efes. Up front, Davies emerged as the main weapon facing the basket.

A triple by the Ugandan center made it 64-70 with 4:11 left in regulation time, to which Hezonja responded this time wanting to repeat his role. The Croatian forward adjusted his sights and scored a three-pointer from the side, with an additional free throw after Pradilla's foul, which was followed by a basket out of anger and a scoreboard from Tavares.

Tied on the WiZink scoreboard (70-70) and there were three minutes left. First with a triple and later with two free ones, Jones maintained a lead of +3 for Valencia (72-75). It was at that moment when the 'Sergios' dressed as heroes; 'Chacho' with a penetration and layup, followed by a key steal, and Llull with a trademark triple.

The 'tangerine' of the Mahón point guard, in full celebration for already being the player with the most appearances in the history of Real Madrid, established the score 77-75 at 1:28 from the last whistle. Inglis silenced the pavilion for a moment with a beautiful reverse, but the Madrid team had already begun another of his usual exploits.

A triple by Campazzo confirmed this (80-77), Davies missed on the next attack and the clock was headed towards an outcome where Tavares failed up to three times under the rim. Inglis grabbed that third rebound with all his might, with the purpose of mounting a swift attack in search of overtime.


The clock was running, with no fluid ideas among Mumbrú's pupils, and Jones received a foul from Llull at 4.3 to settle the match. Valencia's starting point guard scored his two free throws and everything was left, after a timeout, in the hands of Llull at the throw-in. Mahón's player passed to Hezonja, fouled by an omnipresent Jones.

The Dubrovnik forward made both shots from the line (82-79), with 3.1 left after another timeout. Jovic served from the side in the opposite field and the ball reached Harper, who outwitted the defense to score a colossal triple that provided extra time.

Llull opened the scoring of that overtime with a triple (85-82) and kept the distance when the visiting team scored (87-86) through, above all, Inglis. But two bad attacks in a row from Jones and Davies weighed down Valencia, who found themselves down 91-86 with 1:21 left in overtime.

Harper also failed on the next possession, in his case a triple, and Real Madrid left the victory on track from the free-kick line. Harper himself had time to miss another two times from beyond the arc, in a bitter outcome for the 'taronja' team, which has a balance of 10-11 in this competition. Meanwhile, the merengue team continues to be the traditional leader, according to a record of 19-2.


–RESULT: REAL MADRID, 96 – VALENCIA BASKET, 86 (35-40, at halftime).


REAL MADRID: Campazzo (19), Causeur (3), Musa (13), Yabusele (7) and Tavares (18) — the starting quintet –; Llull (16), Hezonja (10), Abalde (3), Alocen (-), Ndiaye (2) and S. Rodriguez (5).

VALENCIA BASKET: Jones (17), Harper (8), Anderson (9), Reuvers (2) and Touré (-) –starting quintet–; López-Arostegui (-), Davies (19), Inglis (8), Puerto (6), Pradilla (6), Robertson (-) and Jovic (11).

–PARTIALS: 16-24, 19-16, 23-15, 24-27 and 14-4.

–REFEREES: Lottermoser, Koljensic and Nikolic. No eliminated.

–PAVILLION: WiZink Center, 8,264 spectators.

–INCIDENTS: Before starting the match, Sergio Llull received a commemorative shirt for having become the player with the most appearances in the history of Real Madrid.