The derby of Round 18 of Liga Endesa will take place today, when Real Madrid and Baskonia, two Euroleague powers meet in a very tough match. Until now they’ve met twice, both games in Vitoria, but both won by Real 91-89 in Liga Endesa and 77-55 in Euroleague. Both teams came after long trips in Russia, so both teams had the same time to rest before this clash.
Real Madrid came back in Spain with 2 defeats suffered in Russia, against CSKA Moscow and Khimki Moscow. In the first game against CSKA, both teams played very well defensively and the final score was 60-55. In next game, their focus was on the offensive end which allowed Khimki to score 102 points and win the game, despite 94 points scored by Real. The Russian team took the lead in the first quarter and lead all the game until the last seconds, having at the beginning of the last quarter a 24 points lead. Khimki scored 61% of their field-attempts and recorded 29 points thanks to poor Real’s defense. The main contributors for the visitors were: Jordan Mickey (20 points and 5 rebounds), Fabien Causeur (17 points and 4 assists) and Facundo Campazzo (10 points and 3 assists). Rudy Fernandez and Anthony Randolph didn’t travel to Russia and now they are on game-time decision status.
Baskonia had the same results in Russia, losing to Zenit St. Petersburg 72-66 and CSKA Moscow 94-90, despite a nice offensive display for the Spanish team. This is the first time Baskonia scored 90 points in this season, in both competitions. The main reason for the loss, however, was Mike James, who ended with 33 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Baskonia tried to get a nice result here with a huge fourth quarter, when they won it 32-19, but was not enough because CSKA had a comfortable lead after the first 3 quarters. For Baskonia the main contributors were: Youssoupha Fall (19 points and 10 rebounds), Pierria Henry (18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists) and Tornike Shengelia (12 points and 5 assists). Jayson Granger and Patricio Garino are out while Luca Vildoza is a game-time decision.
Real Madrid has the first chance to win here because they play in front of their fans and must revenge those two losses suffered in Russia. They have to get back on track and I don’t think Baskonia can put some resistance against Real’s roster.
Bogdan Vasile Tirc