Just like in Valencia four days ago, the second quarter was the pivotal point for Barça Regal to come away with a victory in the Turkish arena. The stands, packed with more than 11,000 cheering Turkish fans, saw an intense and orderly Barça do battle with Galatasaray. Xavi Pascual’s men proved to be especially lucid during complicated parts of the match where Garalasaray could have easily put the game beyond the Azulgrana’s reach. For example, during the final stretch of the match, Galatasary came within 2 points of pulling level where they previously were losing by more than 20 points.
In the end, Barça Regal was able to secure a new victory. This victory, which permits the Catalan team remain at the top of their group, makes it five wins in a row in the Euroleague.
Both teams were fairly equal at the beginning of the match. A very active Navarro was Barça’s best man in the first quarter until he committed his second foul. Barça was taking maximum advantage of their height, fast pace, and counterattacks; the only problem was the defensive rebound, the Turks were edging Barça in that department more often than not in the first quarter. The fast pace of the game and the concentration from the Barça players saw the first quarter come and go without the home court advantage tip the scales in favour of the local team.
Night and day in the second quarter
Micheal, Navarro’s replacement after his two fouls, was Barça’s reference point in attack during the second quarter. After the 19-19 scoreline of the first quarter, Barça jumped to a 19-30 lead while holding Galatasaray scoreless for more than 5 minutes. The ‘mini-problem’ of the defensive rebound was addressed and fixed by Pascual during the interval, and his men were responding with a stalwart defensive display. Galatasaray saw their opponents thrash them in the second quarter with a balance of 10-25 points, which left the Turks more than 15 points behind Barça Regal.
Home team reaction, Barça’s response
The game changed little at the start of the third quarter, Barça jumped to a 21 point lead. A run only stopped by three consecutive offensive plays that didn’t work out for the visiting side. Galatasaray bounced back and scored seven uncontested points on the trot. Xavi Pascual called time out to slow the Turkish reaction. The newly invigorated crowd urged their team on as they sensed Galatasaray was coming back. But Barça wasn’t about to let their lead go so easily, Navarro with two great defensive plays and a three-pointer got Barça back on track.
Poor accuracy and tough final minutes
The final minutes of the game were long, too long, for Barça. The visiting side closed out the game with a lot of difficulties, too many considering how the previous 30 minutes had gone. Bad accuracy, too many attempts from the three-point line, and too many 2+1 fouls conceded allowed Galatasaray to claw their way back into the game. Lakovic, shut down up until the end, showed up to bring this Turkish side within four points of Barça. With less than 60 seconds on the game clock, Galatasaray pulled within 3 points. Barça Regal had only scored nine points in the final quarter, luckily Barça Regal’s defensive qualities proved sufficient to close the game out in Istanbul.