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Olimpia competed through the end in Madrid, losing 91-87 in the closing minute


It was a tough pillow to swallow in Madrid because Olimpia was capable to stay in the game right until the end, leading by as many as eight points in the first period, trailing by as many as eight in the fourth and generally exchanging leads and ties with the team holder of second-best record in the EuroLeague. In the end it was a tough 91-87 loss. Olimpia tied the game up with 55 seconds left in the game for the last time, off a Shabazz Napier’s three. In the ensuing possession, Real Madrid scored on a point-blank shot by Edy Tavares taking a two-point lead for good. Olimpia got back within one off a Johannes Voigtmann’s three but it was too late. Real Madrid made enough free throws to win the game. Olimpia struggled defensively in the fourth quarter because the bonus was burned in a matter of minutes and at some point all the perimeter players on the court were defending with four fouls, so the rotation was dictated by fouls more than by what was happening on the court. When Billy Baron was called with two consecutive fouls, including a potential Poirier charge, Olimpia lost his best shooter for the final stretch. He finished with 14 points. Nicolò Melli, in a night when he surpassed 2.000 points for his career and 1.000 defensive rebounds, scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Shabazz Napier added 17 points and eight assists, making eight out of nine foul shots. The Napier-Pangos combo worked well again although overmatched physically by an imposing team like Real Madrid. Stefano Tonut had another excellent game, coming off the bench to score 14 points, 11 in the first half. Olimpia struggled to keep Tavares off the board and never solved the Dzanan Musa question. He scored 27 points and never stopped scoring, regardless of who was guarding him. “To win in Madrid playing a good game is not enough, you have to play really well – Coach Ettore Messina said – At the end we missed some shots and we made a communication mistake on the last possession when we let Tavares get the ball underneath for two easy points. After what we passed through in the first part of the season, to be able to come here and compete is an accomplishment in itself. Now we hope have Shields and Hall back as soon as possible to keep improving.”