Referees: Emilio Pérez, Lluis Guirao and Miguel A. Pérez Niz.
Real Madrid and Barça Regal squared of at the Palacio de Deportes for round 31 of the Liga Endesa. It was a prelude to the match that will be played 12 days from now in London, when the two teams battle it out for a spot in the final of the Euroleague. Barça Regal came into the match with a handful of significant absences, for starters Mickeal, Navarro and Wallace stayed in Barcelona and Todorovic played the entire match with a broken finger, but the Blaugrana held their ground against Los Blancos.
Good start for the Blaugrana
Despite only having one training session to prepare for the match, Xavi Pascual’s men controlled the first couple minutes of the match thanks to a magnificent Joe Ingles. Madrid, however, were not about to be outdone in front of their home fans and rallied to take the lead before the end of the first quarter (13-12).
Los Blancos shored up their defence in the second quarter which made it difficult for Barça Regal to find the basket. Felipe Reyes, who scored six consecutive points, gave his team a 21 to 14 lead over the Blaugrana, but before the break Marcelinho brought Barça within four points of the home team (33-29).
Battle for the rebound
After the break two controversial calls - travelling and an offensive foul on Tomic - lead to a technical foul on Xavi Pascual. But the biggest handicap was for the Blaugrana wasn’t the referee, it was controlling the defensive rebound. The Blaugrana managed to stay within striking distance of Madrid thanks to Ingles and Lorbek, and a three pointer from Oleson brought Barça within one point of the lead (43-42). Madrid weathered the onslaught and finished off the quarter with 50 to 47 on the scoreboard.
Equal until the end
Two consecutive baskets from Jasikevicius gave Barça Regal the lead (50-51) at the start of the final quarter. Marcelinho and Ingles had a couple of open shots that didn’t hit their marks as Real Madrid continued to rack up points from the free throw line. The game came to an end with 78 to 65 on the scoreboard, a result that doesn’t reflect how equal the match actually was between the two sides.