Real's déjà vu rally evens series with Efes!
Real Madrid rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit for the second time in two days to edge Anadolu Efes Istanbul 82-76 and force a deciding Game 5 in their best-of-five Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Playoffs series. Efes led by 16 points in the second quarter and 59-72 early in the fourth, but the visitors did not score another field goal in the final 7:20 of the game while Sergio Llull and Usman Garuba fueled a huge run for Real to come back and pull out another improbable victory. Garuba posted career highs of 24 points, 12 rebounds and 30 PIR to lead Real, while Jaycee Carroll netted 20 points on 4-for-7 three-point shooting. Rodrigue Beaubois scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half for Efes, while Shane Larkin had 22 points and 8 assists in the losing effort.
Real stormed out of the gate behind Carrol's 8 points in the opening 83 seconds of the game, including a corner triple. Real's 1-2-2 matchup zone forced 6 turnovers on Efes, while a triple and a dunk by Garuba extended the lead before another three-pointer from Carroll made it 17-0 after less than 5 minutes. Efes needed 5 minutes and 44 seconds to open its tally with Krunoslav Simon's triple, but that got the visitors uncorked. Simon followed with a runner before back-to-back threes from Larkin and Beaubois capped an 0-11 run. Trey Thompkins helped the hosts hold 19-13 after 10 minutes, but Efes needed just over a minute in the second quarter to take the lead, 19-21, behind back-to-back threes from Larkin and Beaubois. Rudy Fernandez hit a pair of three-pointers for Real, but Beaubois and Chris Singleton had one each for the visitors to spark another 0-11 Efes run and open a 27-37 lead. Llull and Larkin traded floaters before Beaubois hit his fifth downtown dagger in as many attempts. The first triple from Vasilije Micic opened 31-47 Efes advantage before a three-pointer from Carlos Alocen cut Madrid's deficit to 36-47 at halftime.
Garuba and Bryant Dunston traded baskets early in the third quarter before Carroll nailed a pair of triples, turning one into a four-point play. Two more close-range baskets from Garuba narrowed the gap to 51-55. Still, Efes answered with 9 consecutive points behind the play of Larkin and Singleton. Micic capped that run with a three-pointer at 51-64. Three-pointers from Abalde and Thompkins got Real within 57-66 after 30 minutes, but Larkin had a three-point play and a three-pointer to restore 59-72 margin early in the final quarter. Real was not going away, however. Carroll and Garuba fueled a 6-0 run before Llull took it to the rim and Garuba had 2 more baskets, including a fastbreak dunk. A three from Abalde put Real up 74-73 with 1:49 to go. The hosts' defense did not allow another field goal, while Llull, Fernandez and Garuba went perfect 8 of 8 from the free throw line the rest of the way to secure a victory.
After Real finished Game 3 with a 19-2 run, the team delivered another identical spurt in Game 4, using a 19-2 run to turn a 59-72 deficit into a 78-74 lead.
In absence of Walter Tavares, 19-year old Usman Garuba got another opportunity to carry a heavy load, and he delivered. He played 33:26 minutes and starred with 24 points, making 7 of 11 two-pointers and 1 of 4 triples, and pulled down 12 rebounds for a team-high PIR of 30.
Real led 17-0 in the first quarter, but Efes rallied then pulled away to a 31-47 lead for a swing of 33 points in just over 13 minutes of play. However, Real had a final say, turning a 59-72 deficit into a six-point win in the final 7 minutes of the game.
Real Madrid scored the final 16 points of Game 3 then opened this game with a 17-0 run. Real did not allow a single point in the final 4:34 of Game 3 nor in the first 5 minutes and 44 seconds of Game 4.
Beaubois enters history books
Rodrigue Beaubois was 5-for-5 from long range at halftime, which tied a playoffs record set by Vassilis Spanoulis for three-pointers made in a first half. Spanoulis hit all 5 of his three-point attempts in Game 2 home loss against Efes in 2016.
Two teams are set to play in a deciding Game 5 that Efes will host on Tuesday, May 4. The winner of that game will face CSKA Moscow in the semifinals at the Final Four in Cologne, Germany.
Thursday, April 29, 2021