Real Madrid licks their lips after their great performance at the Palau on Monday, their impressive victory (75-88) in the first game of the league final against Barcelona. It seemed that everything went well for the Whites (18 points ahead at the break) and that the Catalans were always, except in the final minutes, on the run, distressed by the staging of their arch-enemies.
Happiness that Chus Mateo, coach of Madrid while Laso recovers from his myocardial infarction, was in charge of lowering after the final whistle. "We played a very serious game, but it promises to be a long series."
There is no time for celebrations, there are only a few hours left to jump back to the Palau, but there is time to highlight overwhelming realities.
Madrid, like almost the entire season, played without a pure point guard as Williams-Goss, the star signing, has been injured since May 19. Thomas Heurtel, who has a sore ankle after spending two months grounded by Laso, was also not available, nor was Carlos Alocén, who tore his cruciate ligament in a league match in February (Llull, who can also handle himself in the position, has been suffering from physical problems since the semifinals against Baskonia).
The direction of the game fell on men who not only are not point guards, but who at the beginning of the season did not have many ballots to enjoy ample minutes or were not even on the squad. Now, they are the unexpected and heroic bases of Madrid.
Adam Hanga, Fabian Causeur and Gabi Deck have emerged as conductors when the storm threatened to drown the team. The Hungarian, escort with a defensive profile, was not renewed by Barcelona last summer and arrived in Madrid without making much noise. After a discreet start to the campaign, he has tastefully and coolly assumed to be the main generator of play in attack. He has even improved his scoring ability (16 points in the first half against Barça) and has given away some triples to remember during the qualifiers.
A Causeur, consecrated shooting guard and active legend of Madrid, whose contract ends this summer, has been able to reinvent himself at 34 years old in the face of the urgent needs of his team, while Deck, a forward who returned to the team at the end of January after a frustrated A stint in the NBA, he has joined this wild group and has risen in prominence with the ball in hand.
The base rotation is completed by Juan Núñez, 18 years old, although his determination does not look at the DNI.