Lto shameful defeat of Real Madrid at Zalgiris (68-47) returned whites to the harsh reality that they are living in a last month in which There is no trace left of the team that had dominated the ACB League and the Euroleague until then with an iron fist. They are still leaders in the domestic competition (where Barça is second with four fewer games) and remain second in the continental thanks to the mattress they had built in a fantastic start to the campaignbut with this negative dynamic they are on the way to squandering.

A hollow shell: Does not defend well and attacks with grief

But from a month to this part hardly a trace remains of that dominant team. The lesions (Alocén, Rudy, Hanga, Taylor, Deck, Causeur and Heurtel) have undermined the strength of a team that, right now, is in free fall. He lacks energy, confidence and ideas. He does not defend well and attacks with pain. It is a hollow and broken shell. The rebound in the Copa del Rey, in which he competed for the title against Barcelona until the last minute, it was, after what was seen on the field of the bottom of the Euroleague (where perpetrated his worst score in the history of the tournament), a mirage.

Llull tries to penetrate between three Barcelona players in the Copa del Rey final.
Llull tries to penetrate between three Barcelona players in the Copa del Rey final.EFE

Numbers are especially bloody in the recent trajectory of whites. They have lost six of the last 11 official matchesgetting on track for three straight losses in the Euroleague (Fenerbahce, Barcelona and Zalgiris), and another three in their last six ACB league games (Barcelona, ??Andorra and Valencia), apart from the harvest in the Cup final against the Catalans. AND four of them on their courta WiZink Center does not make much impregnable.

A problem of energy and confidence

After the Kaunas debacle, Pablo Laso tried to explain the reasons of that collapse: “It has not been a problem of motivation, It has been more about the mentality and physicality of all the players. In many parts of the party we have not been successful in the shot, we have not made good defenses and we have not had energy. You don’t open up the defense and you don’t get good situations to score. What’s more, if you lose 16 balls it’s hard to stay in the game. We need to improve. I’m not worried about the points, but it is true that in less than a week we have not been good in attack. I think it’s just an energy and confidence issue,” he said.

It is true that in less than a week we have not been good in attack. I think it’s just a problem of energy and confidence

Pablo Laso (Real Madrid manager)

Offensive nullity: 55.3 average points in three games

His correct diagnosis is endorsed by the statistics of his team in the last three Euroleague games, in which has accredited only 55.3 points on average (51 against Fenerbahce, 68 against Barça and 47 with Zalgiris), a blushing and inappropriate background for a team with its potential. Not many weeks ago they saw the hoop as a swimming pool and now it costs them a world to score in static attack and even mount a counterattackbecause it is even difficult for them to close their ring: they have yielded 37 offensive rebounds in those three games. So no one runs.

Pablo Laso, with a gesture of concern during the last Copa del Rey.
Pablo Laso, with a gesture of concern during the last Copa del Rey.EFE

That game generation problem is manifest, and has been aggravated by the physical problems of Heurtel, the only one capable of doing it. He did not play against Fenerbahce and Zalgiris and Barça, knowing this, held him well). Because Williams-Goss, Llull and Abalde, who is not a point guard but has played as such, have not succeeded. And that’s where a lot of his doubts come from.

Without ideas: 37 turnovers and 9/67 triples in three games

They don’t know what to do with the ball and they end up taking individual decisions, incurring precipitation (37 losses in the last three EuroLeague games) and making forced shots, almost always from the triple, with no effectiveness. Not in vain, have credited 9/67 t3 in those three games, a shocking 13.4% in which Llull, who never hides, has been denied with 2/21 (9.5%). It’s not new, but the whites have been depending on their perimeter shots for some time, and if they don’t go in, they have to suffer.

Tavares, an island: Only three players with 10 points or more

The sinking of the whites is collective, as if it were contagious. In fact, in those three Euroleague games only three players have managed to reach the 10 point barrier. Llull in Istanbul (12), Poirier in Kaunas (10) and Tavares in all three games (14, 25 and 12). because even Yabuselewhich had been the white engine alongside Tavares, has deflated: only seven points in the last three Euroleague games.

Tavares, during a warm-up prior to a Real Madrid match.
Tavares, during a warm-up prior to a Real Madrid match.EFE

Loss of identity and trust: play divan

The Cape Verdean giant is the only Real Madrid player to be saved from this debacle, but not even his broad shoulders and endless arms are enough to hold a team that, to this day, has lost its identity and seems not to believe in himself. Laso is going to have to sit his squad down on the couch and spend hours convincing them otherwise. ‘Cause one thing’s for sure they weren’t so good before and they aren’t so bad now… even if they look like it.

Via Marca.com