Real Madrid in pole position for the ACB playoffs after defeating Valencia

Taylor and Causeur propel Blancos to an 83-77 victory over an in-form Valencia Basket

Real Madrid had to work hard to win 83-77 against Valencia Basket in the penultimate 33rd round of the Spanish ACB. A win at Gipuzkoa next week will guarantee them top spot in the Liga Endesa standings and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Real Madrid hosted Valencia Basket after a disappointing weekend at the EuroLeague Final FourBlancos took on the midweek game as ACB leaders and just two wins away from topping the league for the 6th time in the last 8 seasons. Valencia arrived in the Spanish capital full of confidence following their impressive win at the Palau two weeks ago. The visitors were enjoying a seven-game winning streakHaving already secured a EuroLeague ticket through winning the EuroCup against Alba Berlin in April, Ponsarnau’s team had achieved their objective for the season.

The visitors started strong, exploiting the three-point line with five different scorers from downtown. Bojan Dubljevic was their main outlet, as usual, ending the quarter with 8 points and 4 rebounds14-25

Sergio Llull entered the court in the second quarter and made an instant impact. Blancos went on a 15-2 run to take control of the game. Llull and Tompkins lead scorers with 9 and 11 points respectively. 43-38 at half-time

Former Real Madrid player Andrés Nocioni ‘Chapu’ was honored at the break receiving a commemorative shirt and a trophy in front of a standing ovation from the WiZink Center. The Argentine who retired from the game following a four-year spell at Real Madrid won two ACB titles and one EuroLeague title, where he was also the MVP.

Play resumed with Will Thomas firing Valencia to a three-point lead but Ponsarnau’s men struggled in defense. A dominant Gustavo Ayllon under the basket allowed Jeffrey Taylor to exploit spaces. The Swede posted 10 points in the quarter. Real Madrid extended their lead to 8 points, 67-59 going into the final quarter.

Labeyrie scored two quick buckets and gave signs Valencia made it clear they wouldn’t go down without a fight. Vives took advantage of a misplaced pass and brought the game within 3 points. The hosts, however, kept their offensive edge and added to their lead through Fernandez and Causeur. Van Rossom converted from downtown but it was too little too late for the visitors. Final score: Real Madrid 83-77 Valencia Basket

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