Real Madrid put on another Euroleague master-class on Friday by destroying Zalgiris Kaunas 108-72 at home. The win sent Madrid to 6-1 in what is a very interesting Group F and kept the Spanish team´s momentum in what is becoming a stunning season for the club.
Los Blancos has lost just one game all season in all competitions and the form of the team is sending shockwaves around Europe. Indeed, it seems only a select few clubs have the ability to gun down Madrid this season, including Group F leader CSKA Moscow of course. The club set a new Top 16 record by getting a team performance index rating of 151 as the club put 60 points on the board in the first half.
Ioannis Bourousis opened the game for the hosts, but Zalgiris responded through Justin Dentmon and Paulius Jankunas to take a 2-4 lead. It would the first and only advantage the Lithuanian visitors held throughout the game. Madrid quickly scrubbed out the deficit thanks to Rudy Fernandez and a triple from Sergio Llull (7-6). Bourousis and Fernandez forced a timeout with the score at 11-6, but even at this early stage in the game it was clear the hosts were in control of the game. Real kept hitting the basket and Zalgiris could only respond by hanging onto the home team´s score. With the first quarter ending, the score board read 34-21.
Madrid got on the board early in the second to make it a 15 point game, but Zalgiris enjoyed its first patch of powerplay of the night when Arturas Milaknis and Sarunas Jasikevicius combined to give the visitors a much needed 0-8 run (40-29). However, the hill to climb was already becoming a mountain and Sergio Rodriguez started to control the scoring with 4 free throws and a couple of lovely assists to put Madrid truly in command at 49-31. While Zalgiris managed to hit the net plenty of times the team could not handle Madrid down the other end. With the half time buzzer sounding the hosts had run riot and led 60-37.
The convincing first half had given Real Madrid a huge 23 point lead and victory was all but assured. The game became about how many the hosts could score, or if Zalgiris could keep the score respectable, the answer to the former was a lot and the answer to the latter was no. Fernandez got the ball rolling for Madrid again when the game recommenced by netting from downtown, while Reyes took a layup and foul to spur the hosts to an 8-0 run (68-37). It was a disastrous quarter for the visitors and the scoreline was on the verge of being embarrassing with Real typically unrelenting in attack. Zalgiris scored just 13 points through the ten minutes while Real poured in 32 to lead 92-50 after 30 minutes.
Madrid eased off in the second quarter while Zalgiris found more joy going forward. However, the hosts were clearly set on breaking 100 points and a Marcus Slaughter dunk put the team on the cusp of that target at 99-52. The away team responded with its best spell of the night as Vytenis Cizauskas and Milaknis responded with scores from beyond the arc to give Zalgiris a 0-9 run. Madrid was not to be stopped though and 100 hit the score board with some Showtime as Slaughter dunked an alley-oop much to the pleasure of the home fans. Madrid had long secured the win and continued to pile on the misery until the final buzzer to claim a fantastic win.
There were numerous standout performers for Real Madrid, including Rudy Fernandez with a game high 20 points. Also getting double digits were Sergio Llull with 15, Ioannis Bourousis 13, Sergio Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes with 12 apiece and Nikola Mirotic with 11. Llull and Rodriguez laid on 9 assists each throughout the game.