With two of the best offensive teams in the EuroLeague going head to head in the semis, it came as no surprise that both teams combined for 175 points with Loss Blancos getting the upper hand. So what happened there?
Allowing way too many open looks, perimeter wide open, no this is not the manual to how not to play defense, this is simply what happened in the first minutes of the game as Corry Higgins scored 10 points early in the first, and though CSKA had the 10 point lead at the end of the first quarter, it was nothing less of a mirage.
With the Blancos making 6/7 inside in the first quarter, one thing was sure it’s way too easy for them, so why the double digit difference in the first? Simply because they left five points on the free throw line and making only 1/7 from deep. But when Madrid made it rain at the beginning of the second quarter it poured with 5/5 from deep capitalizing on every look regardless if contested or not.
At the end of the first half two questions still remained why did Higgins didn’t play more in the second quarter and why did it take 8 minutes to let Tavares in the game. And speaking of which the game changer was Thompkins in those minutes as he hustled time and again. We finally caught a glimpse of defense in the third quarter which was somewhat of a sign at least for Madrid who scored 45 in the second half but managed to stop CSKA on 37.
Whenever there was a need for a savior Madrid knew they should have no fear as Super Llull was here, oh yeah and the no longer kid Luka Doncic. The bottom line was very clear, Madrid who were considered as favorites simply dominated on offense, they also won the battle of the boards, and though you may arguably claim that the MVP honors would go to Llull or Doncic, let’s just say the Thompkins was the guy for Madrid.
With Madrid making it to the finals there are a lot of questions that comes to mind as for strategies La Decima versus La Zocima, but all will be discussed on our next Sweet16 live show.