Real Madrid’s taxing schedule has challenged the players’ stamina over the past few weeks.
Coach Laso admitted as much after Real’s 81-80 victory over Spanish Liga Endesa foe Herbalife Gran Canaria on Sunday in the nation’s capital.
“I’m very happy with the win. It’s as simple as that. It’s our sixth game in 13 days, including two difficult trips to Tel Aviv and Berlin and today’s game was a very difficult one,” Laso declared. “We had players out, we were missing a little bit of freshness and … it’s not normal for us to miss 10 free throws either.
He added: “I’m very happy with the work and effort the team put in for this win from a game that we knew was going to be difficult.”
League-leading Real Madrid avoided a monumental upset and improved to 18-1. Gran Canaria slipped to 7-14.
In a recent EuroLeague game, Crvena Zvezda stunned Real Madrid, winning 79-77.
Top Real Madrid performances
Rudy Fernandez and Fabien Causeur scored 15 points apiece for Laso’s club. Causeur added four rebounds and four assists.
Alexander Tyus-Cecchini chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds for Real Madrid. Gabriel Deck provided 8 points and seven rebounds.
Fernandez, who blocked two shots and drained four 3-pointers, and Tyus-Cecchini were both limited to 18 minutes, while Causeur logged 29.
Though the hosts built a 49-39 lead in the second half, Gran Canaria cut it to one (53-52) near the halfway point of the quarter. Gran Canaria trailed 63-57 at the end of the 10-minute period.
Gran Canaria leaders
Stanley Okoye and Matt Costello had 14 points apiece for Grand Canaria. A.J. Slaughter finished with 11 points and six assists. John Shurna contributed 10 points and eight rebounds.
Okoye scored six points in the opening quarter and help put his team behind by one (16-15) entering the second stanza.