Reyes, Fernandez lead Madrid to big home win
In a battle between Turkish Airlines Euroleague giants, Real Madrid registered its fourth win in as many games in Group E by thrashing Panathinaikos Athens 83-65 in the Spanish capital on Thursday. Madrid improved to 4-0 in the Top 16, while Panathinaikos dropped to 2-2. Felipe Reyes led the winners with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Rudy Fernandez added 15 points, Sergio Llull had 14 while Sergio Rodriguez tallied 10 points and 7 assists for Madrid. Esteban Batista led Panathinaikos with 15 points and 9 rebounds. A.J. Slaughter added 12 points, while Janis Blums scored 10 for the Greens. A wild alley-oop slam by James Gist kept Panathinaikos within 10-9 midway through the first quarter. Llull took over right after that to boost Madrid's lead to 20-14 after 10 minutes. Fernandez and Rodriguez took over in the second quarter and a three-pointer by Andres Nocioni gave Los Blancos a double-digit margin, 39-29, at halftime. An outstanding Reyes helped Madrid to boost its margin to 60-48 after 30 minutes and a three-pointer by Jaycee Carroll sealed the outcome, 72-52, midway through the fourth quarter.
First quarter: Strong defense lifts home team
Reyes got Madrid going with a five-meter baseline jumper, but Antonis Fotsis beat the shot clock buzzer with a long two-pointer for a 2-2 tie. K.C. Rivers shined with a reverse layup and a floating jumper by Reyes gave Madrid a 6-2 lead. A.J. Slaughter struck from downtown and Reyes swished a mid-range jumper. Panathinaikos kept powering the offensive board without getting results on offense - 2-of-11 shooting. The guests tried a more athletic lineup with Fotsis and Gist together on court. Rudy Fernandez took over with a tip-in, Dimitris Diamantidis fed Gist for a layup and then again for an alley-oop slam that brought the Greens within 10-9. Fernandez kept pacing Madrid with a driving layup, which Llull followed with a three-pointer. Fotsis answered from downtown and DeMarcus Nelson scored in penetration, but Llull single-handily gave Madrid a 20-14 lead after 10 minutes.
Second quarter: Rodriguez shines, Madrid takes off
Fernandez joined the three-point shootout early in the quarter. Esteban Batista scored around the basket, but Sergio Rodriguez sent a wild no-look assist to Ioannois Bourousis for an easy slam. Blums nailed his trademark three-pointer off the dribble. Fernandez scored again, but a high-flying slam by Gist silenced the crowd at 27-21. Rodriguez quickly banked in a running shot in transition, which a red-hot Gist bettered with a three-pointer to make it 29-24. After Nocioni answered from downtown, Batista scored around the basket and followed a three-pointer with a fast break layup to make it a double-digit game, 36-26. Blums buried another three, as Madrid tried to improve its defense with Nocioni and Marcus Slaughter around the baskets. Nocioni struck from downtown to set a 39-29 Madrid margin at halftime.
Third quarter: Madrid keeps safe margin
Reyes scored down low immediately after the break. A.J. Slaughter countered with free throws. Llull took over with a corner three that ignited the crowd at 44-31. A.J. Slaughter answered from downtown. Reyes hit free throws – Madrid's first trip to the foul line – but Batista brought Panathinaikos a bit closer, 46-37. A.J. Slaughter nailed a three-pointer and a coast-to-coast layup by Nelson caused Madrid to call timeout at 46-42. Fernandez stepped up with an electric driving layup, which Reyes followed with a two-handed slam for a 50-42 Madrid edge. Fernandez fed Carroll for a layup, which saw the Greens call timeout at 52-42. Reyes sank 4 free throws. Fotsis answered with a backdoor layup, but a wild basket by Fernandez broke the game open, 58-44, after a 12-2 run. After Nelson scored around the basket, Reyes shined with a put-back layup. A buzzer-beating tip-in by Blums kept Panathinaikos within 60-48.
Fourth quarter: Madrid seals big home win
Batista banked in a close shot early in the quarter, but Fernandez quickly answered with an off-balance basket, good for a 62-50 Madrid margin. Rodriguez took over with a fast break layup and a wild dunk by Marcus Slaughter made it a 16-point game. Llull fired in his fourth three-pointer, but Diamantidis beat the shot clock buzzer with a jumper. A big triple by Carroll sealed the outcome, 72-52, with six minutes left. Rodriguez took over with a wild driving layup. Batista hit free throws, but an alley-oop slam by Marcus Slaughter kept Madrid way ahead, 76-54. Batista scored again and added a three-point play, as both teams fought for point difference. Carroll sank his trademark catch-and-shoot triple and even though Fotsis scored down low, everything was said and done already, as Madrid pleased its fans with a very convincing home win.
Thursday, January 22, 2015