74-87: Real Madrid attacks first and defends later to win the derby

The Whites, with six players above 10 in PIR and undefeated in the Liga Endesa, takes down Asefa Estudiantes on their home court to bring home Real’s eleventh straight win

Edu Bueno

Real Madrid passed with flying colors its most complicated Liga test to date after dominating Asefa Estudiantes on their home court. The Whites demonstrated their enormous offensive power in the season’s first official derby, giving a lesson in basketball in the first part with a total of 58 points while brilliantly defending at the same time, letting their opponent squeak by with only 22 points after the half. Sergio Llull (15 points and 22 PIR) was the best player on a Real Madrid team that had five other players above 10: Rudy, Begic, Carroll, Mirotic and Sergio Rodríguez. With this victory the team coached by Pablo Laso racks up eleven straight wins in a perfect season start and is the undisputed leader of the Liga Endesa with the best competitions best attacking game.

It was obvious that the match was a derby from the opening tip. Both teams stormed the court of the Palacio de los Deportes and showed why they’re considered the best attacking teams of the Liga. Madrid, with Rudy and Hettsheimeir in the five-man lineup, were first to make it to the scoreboard with two three-pointers from Llull for a 2-8 start in min. 3.
Laso stopped the game with the first timeout, making the right tactical move by substituting the inside pair for Begic and Reyes: the Whites shored up their defense and closed off the rebounds and began to feel comfortable on the court. The Slovenian pivot (nine points, six rebounds and two blocks) and the team captain (six points and two rebounds) became the local team`s offensive nightmare, and Real Madrid slowly but surely won ground with a 5-21 over the next five minutes (23-31, min. 13).
The local team tried to change Real Madrid’s dynamic by pushing the match to the limits, which they were able to do with a lax performance by the referees. At certain moments the Whites fell apart: Asefa Estudiantes took advantage of a technical foul for Laso and another for Reyes, his fourth personal, to surge ahead and five points by English and a three-pointer by Clark put the local team ahead again (35-34, min. 15). Real Madrid took a deep, collective breath and found their pace with the leadership of Sergio Rodríguez and the appearance of Carroll, Rudy and Mirotic. Together with a better rebound game (24 versus 13) the points scored by these players launched the team on a straight 0-13 scoring spree in a moment when both teams gave a lesson in offense. The visitors didn’t end the first half on top due to the sharp game of local Germán Gabriel (20 points) who kept his team alive against the White’s attack, and Real Madrid ended the quarter with an impressive 35 points (52-58, min. 20).
Real Madrid started the second half ready to break the game. With Draper as guard and Llull handling English on defense the Whites took control of the game. The defense knew how to stop the American player and Germán Gabriel with the help of the defense, cutting off the local team’s only two productive routes. In attack, Real Madrid found the best ways to stop their rival; Llull’s fourth three-pointer and another from Mirotic put the team ahead +14 in min. 25 (56-70). But Vidorreta’s team refused to back down and a 1-3-1 zone defense held back Resl Madrid’s attack (64-72, min. 30). However, the visiting team wasn’t willing to rough it out and let the local team get a foothold in the game. With Sergio Rodríguez at the helm, the Whites marked the pace of the game and a 2+1 and yet another three-pointer from Llull sentenced the game five minutes before the final whistle (66-79, min. 35). Born fighters, Asefa Estudiantes refused to throw in the towel, but Real Madrid had managed to completely disable their rival and kept racking up points to bring home their eleventh league victory (74-87).

Stats ASEFA ESTUDIANTES 74 (21+31+12+10): Granger (9), English (16), Kirksay (6), Gabriel (24) y Barnes (0) –cinco inicial–; Fernández (2), Kuric (5), Fisher (0), Clark (5), Nogueira (7), Guerra (-) y Vicedo (-). REAL MADRID 87 (23+35+14+15): Llull (15), Rudy (17), Suárez (1), Mirotic (14) y Hettsheimeir (0) –cinco inicial–; Reyes (8), Slaughter (4), Sergio Rodríguez (9), Pocius (0), Draper (4), Carroll (6) y Begic (9).
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