Real Madrid bested Power Electronics Valencia 66-75
Despite having been trailing for most of the game, Real Madrid managed to pull a valuable road win at Power Electronics Valencia by 66-75 to make it 2-1 in its favor in the all-Spanish Playoff series. A 0-11 run bridging the third and fourth quarters started by Felipe Reyes and then culminated by D'or Fischer, who scored 13 points in the last period for the winners, proved to be decisive as Valencia's offense was completely shut down in the last minutes and the guests cruised to the win. The fourth game will be now played in the same arena on Thursday with a Final Four ticket waiting for Real Madrid in case itmanages to beat Valencia. Fischer led all scorers with 19 points and added 8 rebounds, Ante Tomic added 15 and Clay Tucker had 13 for the winners. For the hosts, Dusko Savanovic had 21 points, Rafa Martinez added 11 and Omar Cook contributed 10.
As if pumped by the crowd, Power Electronics Valencia started with strong defense as it soon forced two Real Madrid turnovers to make it 5-1 after Omar
Cook's three. However, early in the game Serhiy Lishchuk committed his second foul and that made him go to the bench. The guests were looking for inside game
and Ante Tomic was soon up to three points thanks to his work in the paint. It was the moment for Rafa Martinez however, who quickly blasted two threes and a
basket for eight points of his own and he had to be replied by Clay Tucker and Pablo Prigioni beyond the arc to keep Real Madrid close at 15-13. Ante Tomi
was a total nightmare for the hosts as he soon was up to 9 points with his moves in the paint, but luckily for Valencia, Florent Pietrus came to the rescue
with four straight points including a dunk off the offensive board that closed a fast-paced first quarter at 19-17 for the hosts.
Things looked good for Valencia at the start of the second period. Dusko Savanovic hit his team's first free throws and Nando De Colo appeared on court to
score for his team and switch to an even higher gear. The hosts' defense kept Real Madrid scoreless for almost three minutes until Sergio Llull fed D'Or
Fischer for a layup that made it 23-19, but De Colo risked an unbelievable three that went un to bring the house down and make it a 7-point game, 26-19. The
Orange defense kept pressing hard in all Madrid plays and that allowed for easy baskets like the one by Savanovic that put a double-digit lead on the score
for the first time, 30-19. Tomic, who else, would be the one to come to his team's rescue with four straight points to make it 13 for him and a 30-23 score.
The scoring run of the Whites went on up to 2-10 after threes by Clay Tucker and Prigioni that pulled Real Madrid within 32-29. Jeremy Richardson finally
appeared for the hosts to keep some distance but Nikola Mirotic had time to shoot while falling on the ground and scored on the halftime buzzer for a 34-31
at the break.
With the start of the second half, things also changed for Real Madrid. Tomic was teh first to open fire but then, Carlos Suarez hit a bomb from downtown to
finally put the guests ahead at 34-36 and right after that he added another. Valencia relied on its big men to keep up, as Lishchuk scored a three-point play
while sending Tomic to the bench with his third foul in the process. That play seemed to be a wake up call for the fans in the stands which lifted their team
to a 49-43 score completing an 8-0 run including a new three by Cook. The scoring run of Valencia was extended for one more basket as Real Madrid was now
having real problems to keep up, but Tucker came to the rescue with a much needed bucket. There was still time for Llull to pull up on the buzzer for a three
that left everything open after 30 minutes, 51-48.
Madrid's progression continued in the decisive quarter. Tucker inaugurated the run and then Fischer joined in with a couple of jumpers that completed a 0-11
run that put Real Madrid ahead again, 51-54, and forced a new Valencia timeout to stop the bleeding. Things didn't change quite yet as Fischer extended his personal run for the guests but Savanovic finally overcame Real Madrid's smothering defense with a three from the corner that brought the house down again for the 54-56 and to break a painful 0-13. This time Real Madrid managed to endure the new Orange strike as Felipe Reyes had four points in a row to give the guests the their biggest lead up to that point, 54-60. It was a bad moment for Valencia, who saw how things were not working out in offense and on the other side, the connection between Reyes and Fischer worked perfectly for five straight points for 56-65. The presence of Prigioni on court led Madrid through the right path but Savanovic replied with a three that could be Valencia's last hope to stay in the game. Fischer however was unstoppable, and he scored on the shot-clock to bring it back to 59-69. With 2:35 on the clock, Savanovic had his second straight three, but Llull fed Fischer for a new alley-oop as Valencia's defense simply could not stop him with 13 points in the quarter up to that point. Valencia's offense was completely shut down and on the other side Tucker blasted a new three that could be decisive with 1:30 minutes to go, 62-74. A couple misses gave a new possession to Real Madrid entering the last minute as the clock ticked away in the Whites' favor to make it 2-1 in the series for them and, in any case, recovering the home court advantage in a possible Game 5.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011