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Sergio Llull scored 24 points (6-8 3Pt) and had five assists to lead Real Madrid to a 100–80 victory over FC Barcelona in Game 2 of the Liga ACB Finals at the BarclayCard Center in Madrid, Spain.
Rudy Fernández added 17 points (3-3 3Pt) and four assists for Madrid. Justin Doellman put up 24 points (5-7 FG, 3-5 3Pt, 5-5 FT) for FC Barcelona, but found little support in the losing effort.
The Madrileños are now one win from the title after securing a 2–0 lead in the best-of-five series. FC Barcelona will try to stay alive with a victory in Game 3, set for Wednesday night at 7.00pm CET at the Palau Blaugrana in Barcelona. Game 4, if necessary, will also be in the Catalan capital.
A hypothetical game 5 would move the series back to Madrid, where Real thoroughly dominated the first two clashes.
Three-point shooting the big difference
On Sunday, and for the second straight game, FC Barcelona’s perimeter defense gave Real Madrid way to much room to operate in the early going, and they paid a steep price as the Meringues used stellar three-point shooting while running out to a 16-point lead before the game was even eight minutes old.
Once Madrid were up, they didn’t take the foot off the gas, stretching their lead to 21 points by the end of the first quarter. The bulk of the damage came courtesy of Llull, who scored 15 points while making all five of his three-point attempts in the first period.
Staring at an early double-digit deficit, Barça believed their best shot at coming back would be by knocking down threes. But they struggled with open looks and shot just 39% (9-23) from beyond the arc in the game. Madrid, meanwhile, continued their torrid long-range shooting, making 61% (11-18) from three-point territory.
With Juan Carlos Navarro not available due to a right foot injury suffered in Game 1, FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Pascual made only one change to the starting lineup, opting for guard Àlex Abrines in place of Brad Oleson. The change mattered little, however, as Abrines scored 9 points and Oleson was a non-factor off the bench.
Doellman tries to stem the tide
Justin Doellman led Barça in Game 2. The Cincinnati, Ohio native came on to start the second quarter and his presence was felt immediately, dropping a pair of three-pointers, as Barça trimmed Madrid’s lead to 15. But just as Doellman was heating up, the Meringues made shots when they needed to and kept the Catalans from gaining any kind of momentum.
FC Barcelona actually outshot Real Madrid from the field in the first half — 46% to 42% — but it paled in comparison to the huge disparity in three-point accuracy and, not surpisingly, the Catalans found themselves down by 17 points at 49–32 heading into the intermission.
After the break, Doellman tried to get Barça back in the game all by himself, but Madrid kept answering and even increased their lead to 19 points by the end of the third quarter.
It would have been a 22-point lead, but Abrines stole a Madrid outlet pass in the final second of the period and beat the horn with a shot from mid-court to make it 75-56.
Big difference on the boards, too
Even when Barça starting dropping shots, Madrid went to the paint to maintain their big lead. FC Barcelona center Ante Tomic fared better than he did in Game 1, scoring 11 points (2-4 FG, 7-10 FT), but only pulled down three rebounds.
Doellman led Barça with five boards, three coming on the offensive glass, but Real Madrid outrebounded Barça 31–22, dominating that category for the second straight game.
Down 19 heading into the final quarter, there was little FC Barcelona could do to change the final result. They managed to play Real Madrid fairly evenly over the final three quarters, but their lackluster three-point shooting proved too much to overcome for the second straight game.
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