Euroleague: Istanbul on the brink of qualification, Real Madrid sweeps Maccabi

Louis de Kergorlay

Real Madrid is the first team to advance to the Final Four after defeating Maccabi (87-76) while Istanbul took a decisive advantage over Milan (77-65)

The Real Madrid access the Final Four for the first time since 2019. The Spaniards relied on veteran Sergio Lull (18 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds) and forward Guerschon Yabusele (16 points, 8 rebounds). Gabriel Deck traveled with the team but did not lock in minutes for the Real. Thanks to a 26-19 in the second quarter, the Spanish took a double-digit at halftime (51-41) and never let go of the game to claim the sweep over Maccabi. On the Israeli side, Scottie Wilbekin led all scorers of the team with 22 points and James Nunnally had 17 points.

“Going into tonight, I think it was a very solid performance from our part. We read the game very well, in offense we moved the ball well, we looked for mismatches. We had some stupid turnovers that hurt us because we knew that are they very good when they are able to rebound and run, so we tried to shut them down in those situations, but still it is not easy”.

Pablo Laso, Real Madrid head coach

Efes Istanbul comes big in clutch time to defeat Olimpia Milano

Anadolu Efes is now one win away from joining Real Madrid in the Final Four. Three Istanbul players stood out:  Vasilije Micic (20 points, 5 assists), Tibor Pleiss (17 points, 5 rebounds) and Shane Larkin (16 points, 5 assists). They were crucial in the 16-2 initiated by Istanbul in the last 5 minutes. Sergio Rodriguez was not the providential man that his team expected as he finished with 9 points (1/7 from three). The Italians’ go-to guy was Devon Hall (16 points, 5 assists) followed by Jerian Grant’s 11 units. Istanbul coach chose to salute Shane Larkin’s performance

“It wasn’t my timeout [that made the difference], Shane Larkin came back in the game and played like a champion because we had a big problem on offense. Defensively we played a great game, but we had a problem with rebounds. We gave a lot of baskets after offensive rebounds, extra baskets without defensive possessions. And on offense, we missed some everything until the last 56- minutes when Shane came back to the game. He found incredible baskets – this is his game – and we cracked the game. This playoff is not easy, I understand the players also Milan made a great effort. Now it’s only 2-1. There will be one more great game on Thursday.”

Ergin Ataman, Efes Istanbul head coach

Photo: Guerschon Yabusele (28) and Nigel Williams-Goss (0) – Euroleague

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