Real Madrid collects 17th Spanish Liga ACB victory of season

Real Madrid maintained its solid form on Sunday, defeating Unicaja Malaga 92-88 in the Spanish Liga ACB.

Coach Pablo Laso’s club earned the victory by building a comfortable lead and holding off the hosts down the stretch.

Jaycee Carroll and Walter Tavares scored 17 points apiece for Real Madrid, with Tavares also pulling down nine rebounds. Facundo Campazzo notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists for the victors. Trey Thompkins poured in 14 points and Usman Garuba contributed six points and eight rebounds at Palacio Martin Carpena, while Gabriel Deck had eight points.

Tavares and Garuba both blocked two shots. For Real Madrid, Garuba’s second rejection with seconds remaining sealed the victory.

How the game materialized

Real Madrid led 25-16 after one quarter in the Spanish Liga ACB game, and took a 44-38 advantage into the intermission.

Entering the fourth quarter, Malaga trailed 69-56.

Real Madrid (17-5), which led by as many as 16 points in the Spanish Liga ACB Round 22 clash, made enough key plays in the final minutes to fend off the hosts’ comeback hopes.

Real Madrid and Unicaja Malaga compete on March 1.

Analysis of Spanish Liga ACB game

“We have dominated many aspects of the game and had offensive control in the pace of the game,” Laso said after the game. “In the first half we were punished by four or five baskets under the hoop. We had a good advantage, but they were able to run and cut back at halftime. In the second half we got the advantage again.”

Laso continued: “We have to give credit to Unicaja, who have been able to stay in the game with a lot of success. I’m very happy with the victory because we knew it was a difficult game at the Martin Carpena. We have to congratulate the boys for the victory.”

In analyzing what it took to pull off a win on Sunday, Laso had this to say: “Everyone who’s been out on the court has been able to find their defensive and offensive moment. The double digits in PIR speak of the good work by the team in attack. In defense we have not been so good, but praise to Unicaja for that. We have been dominating but the fans lifted it and so has the opponents. They have fought to the end. I didn’t see them winning.”

Laso’s squad now shifts its focus to the EuroLeague and Tuesday’s match against host Olimpia Milano behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Top Malaga performers

Josh Adams paced Unicaja Malaga with 20 points along with five rebounds and six assists. Dario Brizuela scored 16 points and Adam Waczynski had 15 in the Spanish Liga ACB encounter.

Recent showdown

Fifteen days before Sunday’s Spanish Liga ACB match, Real Madrid defeated Unicaja Malaga 95-68 in this year’s Copa del Rey final at the same venue. Felipe Reyes and his teammates collected Real Madrid’s record 28th title in the annual cup competition. Real Madrid was the runner-up in 2018 and 2019.

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