Real Madrid edged FC Barcelona 83-86 to make it to the 2022 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game. Real's French players – Fabien Causeur, Vincent Poirier and Gueschon Yabusele – paved the way to this important win.
Real's French connection seals it
Yabusele scored his team's first 8 points on consecutive three-pointers and a fastbreak slam. He was also the last player to score, on a free throw with 2.4 seconds remaining that fixed the final score. He finished the game with 18 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting, 8 rebounds and a team-high performance index rating of 24. His first-half efforts allowed Los Blancos to stay in the game.
"I'm just proud of the team. We showed a lot of team effort today from beginning until the end," Yabusele said after the game. "We took care of the job and got the win. That was a really intense game. It's a clasico, so it was really tough. We deserved it and I'm really happy about the win."
Poirier arguably had the most critical defensive play of the night, a huge block on Nico Laprovittola that prevented Barca from taking the lead with 52 seconds remaining. Poirier scored all of his 6 points on dunks in the final 8 minutes. He added 5 rebounds and 3 blocks to round out a really solid performance, giving Real much-needed frontcourt options to balance its offense when it mattered most.
Once again, Causeur delivered for Los Blancos in a Final Four in Belgrade. He had 17 points and a PIR of 21 in the 2018 championship game at Stark Arena. Back in the Serbian capital for a Final Four game, Causeur had another stellar performance: 18 points, 3 steals and a PIR of 18. With the game tied at 75-75, Causeur buried a go-ahead three-pointer and soon scored off a steal to give Real a 75-80 lead with 2 minutes remaining that Los Blancos managed really well until the final buzzer.
Real's French connection will now try to be ready to deliver in Saturday's championship game against defending champion Anadolu Efes Istanbul at 19:00 CET.