Real Madrid rally past Maccabi 75-63. The QF now travels to Israel with a 2-0 advantage for the Spanish team. We give some keys to better understand the series.
Real Madrid has found its game. And David Blatt has yet to find a solution for that big problem. Not only how to defend an “extremely talented team”, but also how to find good shots for his players.
This time the Israeli team couldn’t even start the game leading the score, as they did in the first game. In despite of this, they stayed in the game for a longer time, but since the very beginning, you could see there is something wrong with the yellow team. What it is, not even Blatt knows, but he will have to fix plenty of things for the upcoming game if they want to stay alive in Euroleague.
Defense is being good. They don’t allow Real to score many points as they usually do. But maybe this effort leaves the team tired when they have to attack. Ricky Hickman, a great point guard, cannot find a way to put a good ball to the shooters. But it is also because those shooters don’t pass the screens well. Not even the screens are good enough. When they play a ball inside with Shawn James, it is like he has to fight against the entire world to score. And this gets Real to close even more on defense, being confident that neither Devin Smith nor Hickman will score from the outside. Maccabi lacks an offensive-talented inside player to fight against Real.
Another fact to prove fatigue as one of the main problems is seen in the stats. Up to 32 offensive rebounds has grabbed Real in only two games. But maybe the most astonishing thing is that they have blocked 17 shots. When you see playing this two teams, you have the feeling that one plays in the NBA and the other one in Europe, given that athletic difference between them.
To finish this review, we also have to notice that Devin Smith is completely out. It is true that against players like Rudy Fernández or Jaycee Carroll he has to defend harder than usual, but it doesn’t justify such a poor shooting chart: a combined 4 for 19 in two first games. He is just not into it. And Maccabi is severely hurt because of this.
David Blatt has to work a lot with his players, specially their minds, because they all seem lost, not even knowing how to attack Real’s defense. To be honest, nobody expected this defensive level from a team renowned for its shooting skills, but they have to learn this new situation. We will see if it changes within a couple of days in Tel Aviv.