FC Barcelona Regal took another step towards the Euroleague’s Final Four in Istanbul after beating Unics Kazan (66-63) in the second game of the series. XaviPascual’s men have taken a 2-0 lead over the Tatar side and can travel to Russia with larger margin of error after an excellent start to the quarter-finals at the Palau. The second game was intense and tough. The imposing duo made up of Jawai and Nachbar brought Unics close to the win but Barça didn’t shy away from the challenge. The Catalan side was confident and they led throughout (almost) the whole match. Navarro was the highest scorer of the match for the Azulgranas with 18 points. The captain, however, was aided by the decisive trio Wallace, Perovic and Mickeal.
A counterattack led by Marcelinho Huertas clearly showed Barça’s intentions. The Azulgrana side wanted to wear down the Tatars. Despite the visitors’ defence, strong and intense, Barça quickly went on a 11-2 run. Barça had come out with a great attitude but the Tatars, just like Pascual had warned, never gave up. Jawai and Nachbar kept Unics afloat through Barça’s onslaught.
Tatar defence was closing itself off well forcing Barça to take shots from the perimeter, many of which missed their mark. Two three-pointers in a row from Veremeenko and Nachbar forced Pascual to call a timeout in the middle of the second quarter. The Tatars had taken control of the game and they led 17-21. The managers corrections quickly became evident on the court, and Barça drew level. The Catalans were patient as they picked apart the Unics defence. In fact, they went to the dressing rooms a the half with a 33-30 lead, despite the impressive performance from Nachbar in the second quarter.
The third quarter was much like the previous two: Barça was intense on defence and they slowly opened a gap between themselves and the Tatars (48-39). It looked as though it was time to put the game beyond reach, but Pashutin once again showed why he’s a good manager by urging his team forward. It was, once again, Jawai that kept his team in the game. Nachbar came out onto the court in the fourth quarter.
The last quarter was defined by closed off and intense defences. Two consecutive three-pointers from CJ Wallace and Navarro, when Unics went ahead (53-54), injected life back into the Barça side. Perovic, now recovered, sunk two free throws and broke the deadlock at 61. It was the final minute of the match. Unics attacked but Mickeal recovered and the Tatars found themselves three points down (64-61). The free throw line was key for Barça - so far in this series they’ve only missed two of them. Mickeal didn’t miss his last two and Domercant’s desperate final attempt didn’t find the basket. The game ended 66-63, a win that brings Istanbul that much closer.