Unicaja Málaga advanced to the SuperCopa finals in their home arena after defeating Real Madrid 94-79. They face Barcelona for the title on Saturday (19:00 CET).
Unicaja dominated with a balanced offensive attack, as five players scored in double figures.
Will Thomas led the way with 15 points, while Mindaugas Kuzminskas added 13. Jamar Smith and Nemanja Nedovic scored 12 apiece and Daní Díez hit 3-of-4 threes on his way to 10 points.
Felipe Reyes led Real Madrid with 18 points. Sergio Rodriguez and Jaycee Carroll each scored 16.
Nedovic — one of Unicaja’s high-profile summer signings — caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. He cooled off in the second-half, but the game was well under control by then.
Smith, another new Unicaja guard, shook off a rough start, hitting two triples in the third quarter to help Unicaja build its lead. Málaga out-scored Real 26-15 in the period to take a 20-point advantage into the fourth quarter.
The versatility of Unicaja’s backcourt should be a strength throughout the season.
With Nedovic, Smith, Edwin Jackson, Stefan Markovic and Alberto Diaz, they have size, shooting and athleticism. They will be able to mix-and-match their lineups, adjusting to their opponent’s personnel on a given night.
They also have a new physical presence in the paint in Richard Hendrix.
— Liga Endesa (@ACBCOM) October 2, 2015
The American quickly became a crowd favorite, emphatically blocking shots from Sergio Llull and Jaycee Carroll. Later, he slammed home a put-bank dunk, pointing to the screaming Málaga fans as he dropped from the rim.
While Unicaja was energetic, Real looked exhausted. They just returned to Spain after two games in Brazil last week, and the mileage took its toll.
Real shot just 9-of-29 from 3 and struggled to chase Unicaja’s shooters around the floor. They also allowed 16 offensive rebounds, which could be a problem all season after the loss of Marcus Slaughter.
The two teams will meet again in Week 17 of the ACB regular season (Jan. 24).