MATCH REPORT. 19/06/2022. Edu Bueno. Photographer: Víctor Carretero
Real Madrid, spearheaded by an MVP Tavares, claimed the title for the 36th time in the club’s history with a 1-3 win over Barça in the final series.
Real Madrid were crowned league champions after defeating Barça in the fourth matchup to seal a 3-1 win in a final series with home-court advantage against them. In a season plagued with so many setbacks, the Whites lifted their 36th league title in the club’s history and the second trophy of the season after the Super Cup triumph. The WiZink Center faithful once again played its part as the team made fought bravely to prevail in a game that was neck-and-neck until the end, spearheaded by a magnificent Tavares (41 PIR in 30 minutes and voted MVP). Causeur was also one of the standout performers, with Chus Mateo and his coaching staff doing a magnificent job in a victory, and a special mention to Pablo Laso. The coach further enhances his legendary list of honors: 22 trophies in 11 seasons.
The Palacio was once again sold out for this gripping final series and the home crowd saw Real Madrid get off to a flying start in the first quarter. The first ten minutes were not particularly high scoring, but the hosts went ahead, after a 7-0 initial run, then held onto the lead thanks to some solid defending and their dominance on the offensive rebounding. Madrid won more rebounds in attack than in defense (7-6), inspired by a sensational Tavares (8 points without missing, 4 rebounds and 21 in PIR). Barcelona were more clinical from the perimeter and refused to let Madrid pull clear (13-10).
Tug of war
Llull and Rudy‘s enthusiasm was non-stop, and right at the start of the second quarter they drove a spectacular 11-0 run in 3 minutes with 6 points from the captain, including a two-and-one, and another 5 from the forward to open up a 14-point lead in the 13th minute (24-10). The introduction of Exum and the guidance of Jokubaitis boosted the Catalans’ attack. The visitors, courtesy of a flurry of three-pointers (5) and an improvement in rebounding, got back into the game in the second quarter. The madridistas, who experienced a slight dip in momentum with some hasty play and low shooting percentages, were able to turn to a dominant Tavares in the zone to go into the half-time break ahead (34-33).
After the restart, Madrid recovered the intensity that Barça seemed to have snatched from them. Their concentration in defense was renewed and they were once again dominant in rebounding. Causeurwith his penetrating runs, and Tavares, a monster at both hoops with 19 points and 30 in PIR, drove their side to a seven-point lead (50-43, min. 27). The center was benched for a break and the visitors, through Calathes and their success from three and from the line, went ahead for the first time in the game in the 30th minute, although it only lasted until the next play, Poirier intervening before the end of the third quarter (57-56).
The Palacio applauds an outstanding team
Madrid were just ten minutes away from the title. But Barça started to play their best basketball of the final. The Palacio faithful roared on their side and drove the team on, and the team duly responded. The most decisive players in these playoffs reappeared: first Hangthen Deckand finally a brilliant Causeur with six straight points in the last two minutes when their opponents were still in with a chance. All of whom were anchored by the figure of Tavares. The center provided his magnum opus for the decisive game: 25 points, 13 rebounds and 41 in PIR in 30 minutes, just two digits shy of his best performance as a madridista. A two-and-one and an offensive rebound in the midst of Causeur‘s explosive run secured a well-deserved title (81-74). The fans played their part and 19 June will be another date to remember for Real Madrid fans. Nine years ago, on this day they claimed the 31st league title and four years ago the 34th. Now they can add the 36th.