Real Madrid defeated FC Barcelona 91-74 to take the 2012 Copa del Rey in a stunning performance at Palau Sant Jordi.
Sergio Llull led all scorers with 23, Jaycee Carroll hit 22, and Madrid overwhelmed their arch-rivals on all fronts to record a famous victory and bring home their first Copa del Rey trophy in 19 years.
Boniface N’Dong had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Juan Carlos Navarro put up 16 points and 5 assists, but it wasn’t enough as Madrid dominated every facet of the game.
Madrid goes inside, Llull playing the perfect point guard
Carlos Suarez looked to establish his presence in the post immediately and attacked Pete Mickeal sown low, and if Pablo Laso had told them to pound the ball inside, it certainly worked. Sergio Llull hit his first two three pointers and Madrid carried that confidence throughout the game. Ante Tomic picked up two early fouls but stayed in the game, which ended up being massive, as it allowed Mirza Begic to come in and make an immediate impact later on in the first period.
Victor Sada came off the bench for Marcelino Huertas to try and stop Sergio Llull’s, but it didn’t work as Llull hit a gorgeous rainbow arcing baseline jumper over him then dished off to a cutting Nikola Mirotic.
It was at the other end that the big Montenegrin/Spaniard was having the most effect, as his length and tenacity bothered Erazem Lorbek and threw him out of the flow he’d been in throughout the tournament. Only N’Dong was able to do anything in the paint, and while he dominated Ante Tomic, particulary as the latter was in foul trouble, Begic was able to keep him off the glass far better, not allowing Barcelona as many second chance opportunities.
Barcelona living at the line, Lorbek heats up
The free throw count was 30-9 in Barcelona’s favour, Navarro hitting 8/10 by himself, and that seemed to be their most reliable method of scoring until Lorbek started hitting pick and pop threes in the second half. Barcelona trimmed a 9 point halftime deficit to just a single point midway through the third, period, and the momentum appeared to be swinging towards the home team.
Carroll buries Barcelona, Llull’s NBA move
That was the point at which Jaycee Carroll took the air out of the building a triple to put Madrid firmly back in the driving seat, if not absolutely in control of the game. Nobody in Europe has a quicker or more accurate release when curling off screens on catch-and-shoot plays, and he mixed in some pump fakes and hesitations to drop 4/7 from midrange. Carroll even pulled off an astonishing block on a Navarro three point attempt after La Bomba had pump faked him off the floor. Sergio Llull pulled off an NBA-style move at the end of the third, waving off screens as the clock counted down, as Madrid sent shooters to the corners, he isolated on Sada and stepped back to bury the three pointer, sending the Madrid fans into raptures.
Madrid close out the game
When Carroll hit his third three to put Madrid up 68-56 on the first play of the final quarter, it still felt as though Barcelona had a comeback in their sights. It wasn’t to be. Although N’Dong sent back a Begic layup with interest, Carroll hit a nice pullup midrange jumper then curled off another down screen for his third three, from the right corner, putting Madrid up 73-56. It was a 19-5 run that finally put the nail in the coffin, and a Begic putback dunk soon after was the icing on the cake.
Sergio Llull picked up the tournament MVP award, and Felipe Reyes held the cup aloft as blue and white confetti filled the air. For Madrid, this was more than just a trophy, it was a statement that their rivalry with the Catalan giants might be entering a new era.