Real Madrid’s point guards do not take control of the game and the result is a fragile team.
We were all very anxious to see Real Madrid’s reaction after last Sunday defeat at Barcelona.
Real Madrid improved its performance quite noticeably, particularly the performance of its defence. Laso even introduced a tactical innovation: a 1-3-1 zone defence which Unicaja struggled to attack. However there was little continuity and Laso did not insist on it.
Rather than talking about the game itself, let’s go straight to some of the conclusions that can be drawn:
– Real Madrid’s point guards do not control the pace of the game. Sergio Rodríguez has never been a hardworking defender, but his performance yesterday was not acceptable. Both Marcelinho on Sunday and Granger on Tuesday could move around with too much freedom. On the other hand Llull is not the right guard for a team that has now several players (Ayón, Mejri, Bouroussis, Maciulis, Nocioni) who are very good at receiving the ball and then playing post. Real Madrid is not exploiting that specific skill at all.
– Defence: Real Madrid’s defence is not consistent. Without a strong defence Real Madrid cannot run and Real Madrid needs to go back to the running game badly.
I really think that Real Madrid has the right mix of players, but it does not have the spark of last year. It has become a more nuanced team: it can run (Llull, Sergio, Rudy, Carroll) but it can also play a more static game with its roster of big players. Laso has not yet exploited that width of resources.
On the other hand Unicaja is a different story. Joan Plaza has 11 players, but in theory Real Madrid has more quality. In practice what we saw was a really solid Unicaja team which never gave up. Unicaja is well balanced, it has some really talented players (Kuzminskas) but above all it is competitive. Plaza is doing a good job, we’ll see how high they can get.