FC Barcelona Regal came away from the match against Valladolid with a victory (86-92) in a hard-fought match. The Catalans trailed throughout most of the game but they forced overtime and managed to take the win thanks to Joe Ingles. The clash, which came after two Euroleague games against Unics Kazan, was a tricky challenge for Xavi Pascual’s men. Furthermore, their rivals were Blancos Rueda who are fighting to stay in the top flight. Barça, missing Ndong and Mickeal, were forced to put in an extra effort in order to stay on top of the table (Madrid has a game in hand).
Defensive fragility, home team accuracy
Perhaps because of these conditions, FC Barcelona were especially fragile on defence at the start against Valladolid. The local team took advantage of the Barça’s defence and scored 19 points in 5 minutes - (19-8). Barça took a while to get into the match, the obligated rotations, the injuries of Ndong and Mickeal, and the need to give playing time to the whole team, all contributed to the team’s slow start. Xavi Pascual urged his men on during a timeout and little by little Barça clawed their way back into the match. At the end of the first quarter, they were only three points down (23-20).
The start of the second quarter saw a munch improved Barça on defence but their offence was misfiring. Blancos Rueda wasn’t scoring as easily but they reacted well when Joe Ingles gave Barça the lead (29-31). It was 38-35 at the half.
Irregular second half
Valladolid came onto the court with more intensity in the third quarter. The home team opened up a small advantage (47-39) against a slow-moving Barça at the back. Seven points from Navarro, who played in his 500th ACB match, and five points from Marcelinho reactivated the Azulgranas (49-53). It appeared as though Barça had plugged into the match at the right time, with 10 minutes remaining on the clock.
The Azulgranas had done the hardest part and the start of the last quarter saw the visiting team take a six-point lead (53-59). Barça had found its groove but the home team wasn’t giving up easily - in fact, they took the lead themselves (69-66). A team play between Navarro and Lorbek left Barça only one point adrift with one minute to go. Even though Barça denied the home team a basket, Marcelinho wasn’t able to sink his shot in the follow up play. The carrousel of free throws begun, a situation that wasn’t beneficial for Barça’s interests. However, Diego Garcia missed his shot with 12 seconds remaining and Barça’s final attack, with a buzzer-beater from Vazquez forced overtime.
Joe Ingles, lethal
Xavi Pascual’s men came out in overtime swinging. Joe Ingles, from the three-point line, and Lorbeck and Navarro commanding the tempo of the game, finished off the match in Barça’s favour. The team is now at the top of the table as they think about their upcoming matches against Kazan.