Kaunas regained the most competitive image of Real Madrid in basketball, which was proclaimed Euroleague champion in an exciting final against Olympiacos, decided by a shot with three seconds remaining from Llull (78-79). These are the keys that have led the white team to the eleventh title in its history, five years after doing so in Belgrade with Doncic and being a finalist last season also in the Serbian capital.
The winning character of the club
It may sound esoteric, but the Madrid He knows how to compete like few others and instill fear in his rivals, both because of his history and his record. Madrid believes in his strength, beyond what is rational. Even when all the odds say otherwise. That irreducible character, which is attributed to the football team, is also transferred to basketball. It is impossible to understand from logic, how a broken team, which traveled to belgrade with a 0-2 against Partizan by Zeljko Obradovic in the ‘playoffs’ after the embarrassing tangana of Wizink Center, who left out of the competition due to a sanction to Yabusele, and that he could not count on Deck or Poirier either, he has risen to become champion. “It is not a coincidence if it happens so much. It’s a way of winning that we’re used to,” he said. Florentino Perez, who accompanied the team in Kaunas. “We only needed to rivet the coffin nails,” he admitted Chus Mateo about the fate that seemed to await them before the Final Four. “We never give up. When problems came, we knew how to react. It was good to see how the players came together in bad times”, added the coach. The veterans of the team have passed on their knowledge, but the youngsters like Muse or Hezonja they have imbued themselves with the teachings to the point of participating in the same philosophy. “It’s been an incredible two weeks for everyone, not just for the Final Four, but the process to get here,” he remarked. Sergio Rodriguezkey in the end.
EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS!!! 🏆
They are all who are, but they are not all who are! #Go Madrid pic.twitter.com/jexLL2Cm1S
— Sergio Llull (@23Llull) May 21, 2023
The leadership of Llull, Rudy and Sergio Rodríguez
rarely the real Madrid has enjoyed such marked leadership from its veterans as in the Final Four from Kaunas. “They are the ones who have brought us here, the ones who give us an example and the ones who mark the line with their experience,” he said. dzanan muse. Beyond the influence and intimidation it generates Edy Tavareswho was chosen as the MVP of the final, it can be said that Sergio Rodriguez (36 years), Rudy Fernandez (38 years old) and Sergio Llull (35 years) are the three pieces that have fueled the confidence of the squad and have made them believe, to go from being practically doomed in the ‘playoff’.
Chus Mateo bet on all three in the last eight minutes of the last quarter of the semifinal against Barcelona and the three responded to leave out the team from Jasikevicius. He redoubled his commitment to the three in the final and they were able to turn around a final that wasl Olympiacos seemed to have it on track. The Canarian point guard spent 28 minutes on court and gave a ‘masterclass’ in rhythm control, creation and scoring. He finished with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 9 assists. lull He spent twelve minutes on the field, almost all of the hot ones of the outcome, and scored only one basket, but the most complicated one, when the ball burned, three seconds from the end, and rudy He once again gave a lesson in character in his almost 17 minutes, giving the team intangibles. Three Euroleagues each add to their record, already installed in the Olympus of European basketball. “We know these things happen. We have lull in our team”, pointed out the Canarian point guard about the action of the decisive basket, with three seconds to go, which sentenced the final. “I raised the ball and it went in, so great. The coach and my teammates believe in me for these types of shots”, said the Menorcan guard.
That one goes home with coach Mateo🏆@RMBasketball Yo #F4GLORY pic.twitter.com/jfq3P3fmXg
— Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (@EuroLeague) May 21, 2023
Chus Mateo: from deposed to king of Europe
There were many doubts about Chus Mateo when he started the season as head coach, because within Real Madrid not everyone considered him the best option. He seeing himself for eight years as an assistant to Pablo Laso, his discreet profile and his lack of charisma always played against him. And, really, for the Madrid coach this season has been a roller coaster of sensations, in which the multiple physical problems of the team have not helped him. The defeat in the Cup semifinals against Unicaja and several European defeats also sharpened the critical vision of Mateo, questioned for his lack of resources and brilliance in his approach. In recent weeks, the Madrid media have taken for granted an agreement with the coach Sergio Scariolo to take over on the bench next season. But curiously, it is when they find themselves against the ropes, when Madrid has offered its best version and the details of its notebook have been most appreciated. From being the subject of jokes, even memes, the white coach has become a European champion and is seen as a guaranteed coach. “The responsibility of being a Madrid coach is very complicated. I am always under the magnifying glass. There have been many emotional ups and downs ”, the technician admitted excitedly. “Many have to ask for forgiveness from Chus Mateobecause there has been a lot of criticism,” he said. Edy Tavares since victory. “He has suffered more than all for us to make it. We are here because he has believed in everyone and has had a lot of confidence.
The MVP of #F4GLORY Speaks after the game…
It was ALL about belief! pic.twitter.com/kdIl8ND66K
— Turkish Airlines EuroLeague (@EuroLeague) May 21, 2023
The Tavares effect: decisive in Europe
His MVP in the end of the Kaunas Euroleague says it all. His numbers were excellent against the Barcelona (20 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks and a PIR of 39) and quite good in the final: 13 points, 10 rebounds and a PIR of 20. But there are aspects that the statistics do not include and it is his incidence in the game: his solvency in defense, his hegemony in rebounding, his influence in the zone and also his intimidating effect near the basket. “The only thing that kept us in the game was believing in ourselves and when they gave us an option, we took it. This is how we managed to win the final, ”he assured. The Cape Verdean center, 2.20 meters tall and with a 2.36 arm span, is a differential player, reminiscent, in a certain way, of the dominance he exercised in painting Arvydas Sabonis. A very difficult problem to solve for any rival’s attack. and in this Final Fourwhich in theory faced a huge challenge due to the lack of a release of guarantees, Tavares He has known how to protect himself from fouls and become a decisive piece in some phases of the Whites’ offense, in two-on-two actions with Sergio Rodriguez, The point guard who is capable of creating better advantage situations for him. If his time in the NBA (chosen by Atlanta, where he was a season, fleeting passage through Cleveland and Torontoalways in the affiliates of the D League) seemed like a step backwards in his career, his arrival in Madrid has made him one of the most decisive players in FIBA basketball.