The talk about the importance of experience in sports is common and it becomes ubiquitous around the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four. So much so that one might begin to see it as cliché. But it's not cliché, and the proof of that is seen in the Real Madrid roster.
In the championship game against Olympiacos Piraeus, Real's best minutes came when its oldest and most experienced players were on the floor. And its struggles came when its youngest and least experienced players took the floor.
Rudy Fernandez is 38 years old, Sergio Rodriguez and Fabien Causeur will turn 37 and 36, respectively, next month, and Sergio Llull is 35. Not a single one of them started at the Final Four in Kaunas. Only one of them played more than 20 minutes in any game. Yet, with the championship on the line, the team played its best with these four on the count.
Rodriguez led all Real players in the final game in plus/minus – the statistic that measures the score difference when a player is on the court – with +15. Causeur was next at +13, followed by Fernandez (+11) and Llull (+8).
Extrapolating from those numbers in what was a one-point victory, 78-79, you can see that Real outscored Olympiacos by 15 points in the 28:13 minutes in which Rodriguez was on the floor. That also means that Olympiacos outscored Real by 14 points in the 11:47 in which Rodriguez was on the bench.