A flat Real Madrid , caught with tweezers, with more losses (22) than assists (19) and supported by Deck (14 points, with a 4 of 5 in triples), clenched his teeth to overcome a tough Zalgiris (70-58 ) and temper his bad moment. As a strange fact in a lackluster match, the Whites did not have the opportunity to launch a single free kick in the 40 minutes. "I have no explanation for this," Laso said with the statistic in hand. His team had just saved a key duel to stay in contention in the tighter and more claustrophobic Euroleague. Without strength to procure a night with many slack, but with courage to overcome difficulties. No margin to take off as in the good old days, but with arguments to hold on to the defense. This is how Madrid survived its imbalances and the bad news. Llull underwent an arthroscopy in his right knee this Thursday (the one operated on in 2017) and will prolong his absence (the recovery can be around six weeks) in a team that accumulates casualties and ailments before facing the decisive stretch of the season. MORE INFORMATION Euroleague 2020-2021
Madrid, which between matchday 6 and 17 reacted with 11 wins in 12 matchdays, then entered a quagmire similar to the one at the beginning of the year. Before receiving Zalgiris, Laso's team collected five defeats in the eight games played in 2021, for a total of 10 on their record (four of them at the WiZink Center; five against the Spanish teams). The anxiety before such a panorama and the qualifying pressures spurred the whites to put together a forceful staging (18-8, m. 8, with a 4 of 8 in triples). A flight forward so as not to think about the winding path. Tavares' intimidation wreaked havoc on rival centers from the start and allowed the Madridistas to gain time and tranquility to extend their match plan. Before closing the first quarter, a triple by Deck set the first maximum for the locals (21-10).
Martin Schiller used the experience of Jankunas (Euroleague record holder in games and rebounds, ahead of Felipe) and Lauvergne to seat your team. But Zalgiris did not find the touch and Madrid kept the pulse. Laso's rotation, weighed down by the casualties of Llull, Rudy and Taylor, worked hard to consolidate what was built. The level of accuracy of the whites dropped from the perimeter, there were two consecutive triples from Hayes and the Lithuanian team seemed to break a sweat. But Alocen and Abalde tightened the defensive demand and allowed Madrid to keep the type for a while longer. Until his strength failed him. Carroll and Tyus lost repris and the Zalgiris found the prize for their patience. With Walkup in front, the Lithuanian team improved their rebounding side, won the second set and converted 34-23 in the 17th minute into a 36-31 on their way to the locker room.
Madrid weakened at halftime, added four turnovers back-to-back and took on another tight night in the most even Euroleague (39-38, m. 25). Two consecutive 3-pointers by Deck and another vigorous relief from Alocén eased the Madrid jam, but did not discourage a willful Zalgiris. It was Thompkins and Carroll's triples that fueled the famished Madrid numbers to put the victory on track (64-48, m. 35). Zalgiris' 1-3-1 zonal defense experiment did not work out and there Madrid found the space that allowed them to breathe easy in the last moments. Laso's men are still holding on to fourth place, a triumph for Armani who is ahead, but with only two margin over Zalgiris himself who is tenth. As many stresses as problems. “If Madrid want me to continue and I do too, this is going to be very easy. If two want to understand each other, the normal thing is that they understand each other, "said the Madrid coach when asked about his renewal until 2023, pending to become official.