The Eleventh was not in Vitoria. In a Machiavellian déjà vu of the last final of the Cup, Real Madrid entered a drama that was unable to leave after wasting an income of 14 points in the 26th minute. So close and so far. The voracious defense of CSKA in the fourth quarter and the appearance of De Colo, with 19 points in the second half after hibernating in the first, condemned the whole of Laso. In the denouement all luck fell on the Russian side. They had earned it by taking pride in the semifinal thanks to Sergio Rodríguez. El Chacho sustained his people, broke the shackles of Campazzo and guided the Itoudis to the fight for the title. CSKA will play its seventh final of the Euroleague in the last 14 seasons in search of its fourth title in the modern era, after accumulating the first four in the glorious decade that elapsed between 1961 and 1971. Madrid stayed on the shore, remembering a handful of arbitration decisions (a technique to Rudy, another to Laso, an extra free throw to De Colo after shooting the public address and the count of fouls and free throws 42-24).
The semifinal was reissued a year ago in Belgrade and announced, as always in these instances, a rough duel, disputed on the threshold of physical and mental resistance. He did not disappoint expectations. Attending to the biorhythms expressed on the eve, the CSKA arrived better and the Madrid as well as the last course. The Red Army, more cohesive, with better physical and mental health and, paradoxically, less pressured to shield against expectations. Those of Laso, recognizing themselves in their best version after rearming again in another playoff invigorating against Panathinaikos. The pulse was huge. An examination with all the lessons learned. Or not, as the resolution showed (30-17 for the Russians in the last quarter).
Embracing the precedents, the Itoudis party plan was to unleash Sergio Rodríguez, annulled a year ago by the whites as a preliminary step to disconnect the Russian explosive. Meanwhile, Madrid sought to activate the giant Tavares, imprisoned by Muscovite muscle in all previous episodes. In Belgrade, the Cape Verdean passed a torment summarized in his record of services: five points, zero rebounds and five fouls in his eight minutes on the court. And this season a similar scenario, with six points and four rebounds spread over two games. In Vitoria it took a sigh to improve those records to start being scary.
From the initial jump, the arrows on Laso's board pointed to Tavares. The semifinal began with two baskets of Cape Verdean assisted by Campazzo and Rudy. The Real Madrid tower added six points, seven rebounds and three blocks in its first eight minutes on the track. Metaphor of the evolution of the game, Campazzo, Rudy and Tavares pushed the targets from the starting blocks (7-13, m.5), but ended up eliminated successively by fouls. Itoudis moved the file and amended his quintet with the inventiveness and foresight of Sergio Rodríguez. Until the Chacho began to carburize, Madrid's income grew above 10 points (11-22, 8 m). But, with the instruction book of the Canarian base and taking advantage of the trip of Tavares to the bench in search of breath, the CSKA signed a solid re-entry (26-26, m.13).
When he sat down coconut Tavares, the Russian box was removed fear. The tuning of the Chacho replaced the deposits of confidence of the CSKA. Laso had to conquer his giant – who barely played a minute in the second quarter – and, with Ayón intemperate, it was Thompkins and Causeur who pulled their shoulders to maintain a minimum advantage at halftime (43-45, 20).
They raised the revolutions even more in the resumption. Tavares committed the third foul in a sigh and Campazzo and Sergio Rodriguez were challenged in duel, with two personnel per beard, until the third of Chacho also fell. The whirlwind canchero of the Facu was his antidote and momentarily unsettled the Canarian base. But, in the middle of the vortex, Rudy also lost his nerves, which received a technique for protesting in full Real Madrid demarcation. It was just an interruption. Those of Laso were launched and, with a triple of Randolph, they recovered their maximum income (50-61, M. 25). The white storm became torment.
With no news from De Colo and with Chacho unplugged, CSKA lost the compass. Orphans of leadership, those of Itoudis were dedicated to cope with the white boiling that came to +14 with Causeur back in front (51-65, m.26). The Frenchman multiplied in attack and in defense to tie his compatriot De Colo but, from the free kick, on the basis of receiving fouls, Nando began to add to sustain the distance and hope of their own. They never left the game. He managed the pull the Madrid with the management of Llull-blind in attack with 1 of 10 in triples, but the Chacho lowered the psychological barrier just before the home straight (65-73, 30).
While Laso discounted the seconds to recover Tavares and Campazzo, CSKA was placed first five and then two, after a technique to Laso to throw a towel to the ground (76-78, m.34). With his third triple and a later free throw, Clyburn sharpened the drama in Vitoria (80-80, m.37). Unexpectedly providential, as in the eliminatory of quarters, Taylor's bingo came from 6.75 to give oxygen to Madrid, but nothing was not enough. De Colo completed the comeback also from the line of three (87-85, 1m 19s). Randolph missed a clear tap and Campazzo committed the fifth foul. Llull's triple miracle worker arrived late. The Menorcan missed the one that forced the extension. The champion revived the nightmare of the Cup and stayed on the shore. The Eleventh was not in Vitoria. The final will measure Efes de Larkin and Micic against CSKA del Chacho and De Colo.
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