The most important game of Round 21 in the Spanish ACB saw the league leaders, Real Madrid getting tripped up at the hands of sixth-ranked Unicaja Malaga. Real Madrid has been on a recent tear in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, even claiming the solo lead in Europe’s most competitive league. So, when the Spanish powerhouse suffered this upset loss in the Spanish domestic league, it was a bit more than a surprise to many. Despite the loss, Real Madrid still holds their position as the top team in the league. However, they are now 15-4 and the gap between them and the team in second place, Iberostar Tenerife (15-5) is just down to half a game. FC Barcelona and Valencia basket are both 14-5, trailing Real Madrid by just one game. Any of those teams can capture the top seed in the coming weeks, so expect competition to be stiff and intense especially close to the top.
Unicaja Malaga trailed Real Madrid by two points early on, but they gutted it out, braved the storm, and rallied to take the lead by end of the first half. It was an impressive team effort by the green shirts, but special mention has to go to Nemanja Nedovic, who poured in a game-high 25 points for Unicaja Malaga on some impressive shooting. He shot .500 from both 2-point range and from beyond the arc. As a team, the hosts were very active taking care business on the boards. They outrebounded Real Madrid 41-31, 13 of which were from the offensive glass, improving their opportunities to get those precious second-chance points. Jeffrey Brooks added 16 points and nine rebounds in the winning effort.
It was a solid effort by Unicaja Malaga, as they were able to overcome an excellent performance by Real Madrid’s star point guard, Sergio Llull who scored 17 points and dished out nine assists. Anthony Randolph chimed in with a laudable double-double of 18 points and 11 boards.
Real Madrid had their four-game winning snapped with this loss, but they will get an immediate chance to get back to their winning ways when they face Herbalife Gran Canaria in the next round.
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