On Sunday evening Real Madrid beat Joventut Badalona with a 69-79 scoreline in an exciting away game. Madrid salvaged what would have been a disastrous sporting weekend in Catalonia for the club from the capital as their football team was defeated 4-0 in a decisive victory in Barcelona on Saturday.
But back to the basketball. The game itself was thrilling and although Madrid almost ran away with the lead at times, once to 17, they had to work the whole game to shake the home side. Joventut had opportunities particularly in the third quarter where they reduced the deficit to five points, but couldn’t capitalise enough to level the game or get ahead.
Madrid started the game out a fast pace, one which Joventut tried to match but couldn’t maintain, early in the first quarter Goran Suton was gesturing to team mates to slow it down as impatient plays weren’t working out for them. The big man had the right idea as slowing the game down and making Madrid play at their pace worked to their advantage. They managed to defensively hold the visitors well but couldn’t convert the defence into offence often enough and any lapse in defence was rapidly turned into points for Madrid.
Joventut didn’t have much of an answer defensively in the paint for Gustavo Ayon who scored 11pts and nabbed seven rebounds or Felipe Reyes who led scoring for the club with 16pts with nine rebounds, six of them offensive.
Joventut themselves also didn’t shoot well, with shots from two or three point range at 42% and 28% respectively. Although they did shoot well from the line at 82%. Brandon Paul’s 20 points and a strong 18 point effort from Nacho Llovet stood out for the home side. Energetic displays from Albert Sabat and 19 year old Alberto Abalde (who shot 75% from the field and 100% from the line) also helped keep Joventut in the game.
None of this was enough to earn the W for Joventut but it did make for a competitive game that was frustrating for Madrid. At one point in the fourth quarter Joventut had five free throws in a row, all of which they made, as Madrid fouled defending a three point shot and where then called for shoving on the third free throw.
This win places Madrid joint second in the ACB in the company of Barcelona and Baskonia but behind Valencia who lead the league. Given their precarious Euroleague position, this win was important for Madrid to stop a complete implosion. And with things going well in the ACB they will look to improve their Euroleague record in the coming weeks to secure a Top 16 spot.
This is Joventut’s second loss of the season and puts them next in the pecking order, alongside Gran Canaria. And although not an ideal result is merely a hiccup in what has been a solid season for them thus far. The Badalona based club will look to get back in winning form next weekend in Santiago de Compostela where they face Obradoiro CAB.