The best Deck is back and Alocén makes his first big appearance

Madrid goes from embroidering it, in the first half in which it overwhelms Panathinaikos (49-27), to asking for the time: 66-61, minute 35. Llull and Rudy reappear.


There are games to keep in the memory and others that pass with more pain than glory. This was one of the second, but there is always something to stay with. Collectively, the complete track connection between the Madrid players in the first half and, individually, the return of the best Gaby Deck: activity, success, placement ... for 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and a PIR of 29 . And also the first great appearance of Carlos Alocen, who fell apart to face the basket, left some brilliant counterattack and very good defensive actions. Beyond successes or errors, that is what he was asked to ride. He has plenty of legs and talent.

The initial jump caught us confused, attentive to CSKA's suspension of Mike James for “an incident in the locker room” and the player's responses on social networks. But nothing comparable to the hell with which he grabbed Panathinaikos, which would have rivaled the worst version of Khimki. Laziness, but also in his case, and beyond Nedovic, an alarming lack of talent. The losses of Papapetrou and Papagiannis pushed in the same direction, that is, against those of the clover. Who has seen him and who sees him as the most successful team of the 21st century (five continental titles since 2000), now sunk in the Euroleague well with the same 7 victories as the penultimate and out of the Final Four since 2011 while his neighbor , Olympiacos, added two titles and four presences.

At halftime, however, he knew how to look in the mirror and want to change, something would have to do with Oded Kattash, the new coach. A reaction of bullfighter pride always welcome and that turned into a 9-22 run at 8:30 in the third quarter that would have won many battles, but not this one. And not because of how it all started, with Taylor (in their 365th meeting, one more than Bullock), Deck and Alocen in full swing. Madrid dominated near the rim for mobility, passing and understanding of the game, then added the success of Causeur (he played very little for his merits), and behind he tacked several defenses that completely deactivated the PAO while he found the indoor version to remove Tyus. At the break, 49-27 and 67 to 16 in valuation.

And what happened then? That the green rebellion joined the white disconnection, a Madrid that thought that just seeing time go by would be enough. And actually it was enough for him despite some shock: 66-61, minute 35, when Marcus Foster pushed the most. Real finished with 27 points in the second half, almost the same as they scored in each of the first two quarters (25 and 24) .

A triple by Abalde and another by Llull, back a month later with 7 goals in 21:20, calmed the waters. Laso, yes, gave less rest to Tavares and Thompkins, even Taylor, than he would have wanted without such a swing. And Rudy returned, although quite misguided. The positive reading, the victory, which puts a stop to a streak of two losses. And the return of the best Deck while Alocén looses his mane, on the back of the horse for the first time since he left Zaragoza.

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