A Sergio Rodríguez with a record knocks out Madrid

Madrid suspends the test despite its great first half. Abalde is injured in one knee. El Chacho beats his valuation mark with 37.


Reading that Sergio Rodríguez showed off does not sound like new. A constant in the last decade in the Euroleague. But of all those great nights, this Friday in Milan, clearly beating Campazzo, Taylor and Llull, was the best of his career. The sensations are discussed, the numbers are not. In just 24:54 on the court he shot up to 25 points (4 out of 5 out of two and 3 out of 6 out of three), 4 rebounds, 7 assists, only one loss and 8 fouls received for a PIR of 37. His personal top in 266 meetings with four different clubs. A great performance to celebrate his upcoming fatherhood, that of his third child. And he did it before his former team, a Madrid that started with a note and ended up failing in the tough test of the Mediolanum Forum. And that he also lost Abalde with some knee discomfort.

In the strangest season of European basketball ever, motivation and challenges mark games more than ever. We saw him in Milan, on a different afternoon, in a challenge with names and surnames, in front of a team that aspires to return to the elite, to return to the Final Four 29 years later, which is said soon but is almost half life. It was a large square, with the glamor of Messina, Sergio Rodríguez, Datome, Hines and Delaney, who had little resistance due to an ankle injury (Punter and Micov were low). And to add incentives, the presence of the public in the stands, in contrast to the icy atmosphere of previous afternoons at the Palace.

As the stage was different, the Madrid quintet, too. Alocen, Abalde, Deck, Garuba and Tavares of holders. Great physical presence to set the pace in defense, and good mid-attacks, without finishing, with some stumbling action, although with second chances. Those that an accurate Abalde took advantage of, with three triples without blemish at the start. Alocen was vertical and held Delaney well. A very active Garuba and Tavares kept Olimpia's interiors at bay. The rotation came into action soon: Campazzo, Llull, Thompkins ... And Madrid settled down, the offensive circulation improved every moment (28-42, maximum advantage), Taylor was already on the track against Chacho, who was the one who was pulling the car from the Armani. The one who took the lid off the rim in the triples with the horn of the closing of the first part in a mismatch that left him face to face with Tavares. The first cannon shot of the night while his rival grouped 8 of 15 attempts, one more launched than two; always as the culmination of a good collective game.

Revolcón in the second part: 47-28

That success by Sergio was the turning point to which the locals grabbed, who returned with their sights set and much more involvement behind. Real entered a dark tunnel (11 of their 17 losses in the second half). Almost four minutes of blackout. Rodríguez was still at a very high level, very difficult to contain, it was the heartbeat of Armani, even in defense, with two great steals from Llull. And it had not yet ignited, he did it with a triple to table that was followed by another distant one that nailed clean (50-49) and two free throws (19 points, 6 basket passes and a PIR of 29 in the absence of the last quarter) .

The witness was caught by Datome, who punished Rudy over and over again, and then it was Shields, also against the Mallorcan, who was already 0 of 4 in the attack. Abalde's injury, one of the most complete despite chaining three fouls, hurt Laso. His team was a balloon that had loosened the knot, each time it deflated faster: just 15 points in the same minutes of the second period (66-57). It was a full-blown check that he saved with two triples from Thompkins and Campazzo and a mate from Deck (66-65). An acceleration ... Shields insisted and Sergio, after a respite on the bench, was back in command. He broke his pair and gave a superb corner assist to Moraschini. Then he executed an angelic tray: 76-70, seconds remaining. Now yes, checkmate. Chacho reigned, his Milano fights to return.

Photos from as.com
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