Real Madrid maintained its winning start to the Euroleague season by scraping through a tough encounter against a resilient Unics Kazan. Los Blancos left it late in the game to pick up the win and have Sergio Llull to thank for nailing the vital points. Russian outfit Kazan will take confidence if not the win from the game, and Keith Langford showed again why he is one to watch in this competition.
Unics Kazan vs. Real Madrid, 75-76
Real Madrid left it late to turn over Unics Kazan on a long road trip to Russia. The Spanish powerhouse came up against a dogged home team that will provide plenty of tests with home court advantage as the competition progresses.
Madrid set the early tone and raced into a 2-8 lead, but Unics fought back to tie proceedings at 18 apiece. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the first quarter, although Los Blancos carved a 16-19 advantage at the buzzer. The visitors opened a seven point cushion (18-25) early in the second frame and Kazan was struggling to live with the Spaniards. Madrid shot a 4-12 streak to open a commanding 20-31 lead, but Unics responded with an 11-2 run of their own to make it 31-35 at the long break.
Madrid held the cushion at the start of the second half, but slowly the hosts were finding more opportunities in the perimeter and started hurting Madrid inside. It was a big third quarter for the Russians as they turned the game around and through 30 minutes led the contest for the second time at 56-55. The teams wrestled for possession of the lead through the fourth quarter, exchanging baskets in the pursuit of victory. Unics took a one point advantage (75-74) with just 7.7 seconds left on the clock, but Sergio Llull defied the clock to hit a jumper to win the game.
Madrid spread the points around the team, with only two players reaching double figures. Rudy Fernandez scored 10 points, while Gustavo Ayon also hit 10 points and collected 5 rebounds.
Keith Langford was typically dangerous as he nailed a game high 23 points for Unics Kazan, while James White sunk 13 points and took 4 off the glass.