Real Madrid, ACB finalist after also beating Baskonia in the third game (77-85) | Sports | The USA Print


Chus Mateo directs Madrid against Baskonia this Tuesday in Vitoria.
Chus Mateo directs Madrid against Baskonia this Tuesday in Vitoria.L. Rico (EFE)

Up on a ladder, an operator from the Buesa passes the cloth with crystallized glass to the methacrylate board; he leaves it like the streams of gold, which anyone knows where the expression comes from, although it doesn’t matter, because it’s true that it looks like the invisible glass wall on which a mime leans, which is there but isn’t. Then Madrid appears on the field to warm up, 12 men mercilessly, and is greeted with whistles. Is it due to the possibility that the operator’s work will be tarnished by balls or the traces of those incomprehensible basketball hands?

Not seem. It’s more a question of rivalry, because then Baskonia comes out, who will do the same, and that’s the apotheosis, or something similar. It is not the third match, it is the match, at least for the home team; win or perish. Not so much for Madrid, wounded by so many arrows that he no longer feels pain, although perhaps he is not so wounded, nor is he in so much pain, and he wears a Kevlar vest under his shirt that makes him indestructible.

Neither the injuries nor the scare of Laso, from Vitoria and the one honored by Buesa on his feet, shake him. Chus Mateo sits on the bench, infallible as a substitute, who changes nothing, of course, because the team flows and is articulated around Tavares, who is like a magnet that attracts balls to his position, under the hoop, and there hypnotizes the Baskonia players, unable to neutralize their 2.21m height, their 2.35 wingspan, which when they extend their arms creates a magnetic field. He ends the first half with five rebounds, 12 points, a PIR of 22 and the impression that it is very difficult to move him, no matter how hard Enoch tries at times and Fontecchio sometimes, who loads himself with fouls.

But it is the game for Baskonia, to life or death, and after a rough first quarter, the five on the field, the seven on the bench, and Spahija grit their teeth, and defend hard; but approaching Madrid is climbing one hill after another, without rest. It is exhausting and takes its toll, and although the stands inject energy, the team from Vitoria costs a world, and that tires, and then, when choosing the best option, the vision blurs and the aim fails, despite the 26 points from Baldwin, who leaves with five fouls after a technique.

Núñez, from Selectivity to the pavilion

For this reason, after struggling to discount the madridista advantage, getting within three points at the start of the second half (38-41), Real Madrid once again stretches the rubber, which spends the game looking in the rearview mirror and, when he sees his rival approaching, he accelerates (38-48).

Because when the game is far from Tavares, Deck appears, who scores triples like someone who washes, without giving importance; or Poirier jumps, with his green shoes, to give rest to the Cape Verde phenomenon, and the youth squad Núñez, who made the Selectivity this Tuesday and turned 18 on Saturday, plays for five minutes. They are all like machines that work without making mistakes.

Only hope returns to the stands of Buesa when in a burst of pride Baskonia approaches five with six minutes left, and then the fans roar, but it’s just a flash, because Madrid doesn’t flinch and reaches the final. With the infirmary full and Pablo Laso in his temporary retirement. The Buesa operator will no longer have to polish the methacrylate boards with the glass and cloth. Not, at least, until next season. This Wednesday, the third game of the series between Joventut and Barcelona (1-1, 9:00 p.m.).

Baskonia, 77 – Real Madrid, 85

baskonia: Baldwin (26), Fontecchio (16), Giedraitis (), Peters (9), Enoch (2) –initial team–, Marinkovic (0), Costello (5), Granger (10), Wetzell (1).

real Madrid: Hanga (18), Causeur (14), Deck (17), Yabusele (2), Tavares (23) –initial team–, Rudy (3), Núñez (0), Randolph (0), Poirier (8), Taylor (0).

partial: 14-25, 22-16, 17-25, 24-19.

referees: Hierrezuelo, Aliaga and Oyón. Eliminated Baldwin.

Fernando Buesa Sand. 9,748 spectators.

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