Top 16 Round 3: Real Madrid - Zalgiris 75-74 (18-23, 22-17, 14-12, 21-22)
Date: January 11, 2013 Real Madrid eked out an exhausting and emotional victory over visiting Zalgiris in EuroLeague Top 16 Round 3 tonight. Sergio Rodriguez drained a late three-pointer as Real snatched home win to stay perfect in Group E. Nikola Mirotic finished with 17 points for the home team. It was a close battle from start to finish. Zalgiris got to the better start as they enjoyed a 20:11 lead midway through the opening quarter. But Real finished the period strong and got within 5 points at the first break 18:23. The hosts denied the deficit in the second stanza. Sergio Rodriguez converted a layup to put the hosts in front 29:28. The lead changed hands for several times before Nikola Mirotic made it 40:40 at halftime. The teams stayed neck and neck throughout the third quarter. Hettscheimer capped the period with a jumper as Real snatched a 54:52 lead with ten minutes remaining. It all came down to the final seconds in this one. Real took a 72:70 lead with 64 seconds remaining in regulation. However Sergio Rodriguez committed a turnover and Rudy Fernandez was given a foul that allowed Ksistof Lavrinovic to put Zalgiris on level terms with Real 72:72. Oliver Lafayette then followed with two free throws that gave the Lithuanian team a 74:72 advantage with 8 seconds remaining. But it was just enough for Rudy Fernandez to find Sergio Rodriguez in the corner and the guard drained a crucial three-pointer to seal the win for the hosts. Rudy Fernandez and Sergio Llull accounted for 10 points each for Real. Marko Popovic fired 21 points on 5/9 shooting from beyond the arc. Oliver Lafayette contributed 13 points in the loss.
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