Real Madrid is the solvent leader of the Endesa League with a balance of 31 victories and a single defeat in 32 games, an absolute record in the 38 years of the ACB era. But this Tuesday against Efes (19.00, DAZN) he faces a match ball inside of mission Impossible to continue in the continental competition. Neither team came from a 2-0 defeat in the Euroleague quarter-finals.
The Turkish team beat the Whites by 27 points in the first round of the series (90-63), by 23 in the second (91-68), and by 25 in their visit to the WiZink Center in the regular league (83- 108) just a month ago. Unstitched markers as a result of the unequal clash between a full team, driven by the explosiveness of Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic, against another dismembered and dismembered; with his great bastion, Walter Tavares, physically touched in two of those three duels against Efes, absent due to injury in the last one, and doubtful for today. “We did tests and ruled out something serious, which would have forced us to stop him for two or three weeks. He tried to play last Thursday, but jumped and couldn’t even move. We’ll see if it arrives, “explained Pablo Laso, who will clear up the question about the participation of the Cape Verdean pivot hours before the” final “against Efes.
The problems of the essential Tavares, who had played all the matches in the competition at an average of 26 minutes on the court, have come to complete the sequence of misfortunes for the Whites in a season turned into a martyrdom of setbacks and injuries. From the departure of Facundo Campazzo to the NBA at the end of November, to the long-term loss of Anthony Randolph (Achilles tendon rupture in December) and the unexpected departure of Gabriel Deck to Oklahoma 20 days ago. In five months, Laso lost three of the four players he used the most last season and this one, and, at the worst moment, in the attempt to hold the pulse against Efes, the coach saw Tavares fall, his irreplaceable tower of 2.21m (with 11.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and a PIR of 18.3 as an average contribution). In addition, between Sergio Llull (13) and Rudy Fernández (11), 24 Euroleague games have been lost due to physical problems – the same absences that are added together by the 10 Barça players most used by Jasikevicius. And between Jaycee Carroll, Fabien Causeur and Jeff Taylor, another 25 games down.
The firm competitive commitment of Madrid has earned it, despite everything, to walk comfortably in a two-speed ACB (with 17 wins ahead of the cut of the playoffs), and to enter between sighs in the top-8 European Union, but the lack of resources is proving insurmountable in the decisive section of the Euroleague, where the Whites have already added 16 defeats, more than ever in the Laso era – only in 2018 (12) and in 2016 (15) they exceeded 10 -. From the 87.5 average points in favor in the ACB to the 65.5 that he has been able to score in the two games against Efes. Campazzo was left without a replacement, Alex Tyus arrived for Randolph (who has barely contributed 2.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10 minutes on average), and to cover the hole left by Deck, Vincent Poirier advanced his landing (who can only participate in the ACB).
The most difficult still for a staff that awaits reconstruction to face rearmament. A transition that, in the absence of Tavares, gives rise to quintets up to 13 years apart. Of a five with Alocén (20), Abalde (25), Taylor (31), Garuba (19) and Vukcevic (18), with an average of 22.6 years; to another with Llull (33), Carroll (38), Rudy (36), Thompkins (30) and Felipe (41), with an average of 35.6. Contrasts in a season with two realities for Madrid in the national and continental competition, with the accentuated mix of veterans and novices. In their accelerated master of maturity in the elite, Alocén and Garuba have been included in the best young quintet of the Endesa League together with Bolmaro (Barça), Radoncic (Gipuzkoa) and Nzosa (Unicaja). The draft The Madrid pivot already appears on the immediate horizon (individual award for the best young man in the ACB). “Now we only think about winning to be able to play a fourth game against Efes. Hopefully we have that opportunity ”, Laso closed.