On May 16, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid go head to head in the semi-finals of the Euroleague. But before that, they have a meeting in the ACB Regular Season. A clásico is always a clásico, but with the European meeting to come just days after, this one is going to be that little bit more special.
In the Supercup, the earlier meeting in the ACB and in the final of the Copa del Rey, Real Madrid have got the better of the Catalans this term. Barça need to change the dynamic, and the best way to unsettle Madrid ahead of the meeting in Milan would be to continue their impressive 8-year unbeaten streak at the Palau Blaugrana in regular season meetings.
Of course, both sides have picked up the occasional road win when they have met in the play-offs, but when it comes to the Regular Season, Barça have dominated at home, scoring over 80 in five of the eight meetings. Naturally, Juan Carlos Navarro has been the star on many occasions, including the 96-89 win at the Palau last year, where he got 33 points. In all, he has an average of 18.7 points over the last eight years.
Games against Madrid are always grand occasions that have the habit of bringing out the best in players that usually play secondary roles. In 2007/08, with Navarro away in the NBA, It was Italy’s Gianluca Basile who took command with 23 points as the Catalans stormed to a 84-65 win. But that 19 point difference wasn’t the biggest of the last eight years. A year later that was topped (87-67, 2008/09) and two seasons after (95-75, 2010/11), Barça won by no fewer than 20.
In the 90th clash at the Palau between the sides (counting playoff games as well), Barça are looking to make it to 51 wins in the series – the ideal send-off for the team, who’ll be meeting Madrid again, this time in Milan, on Friday night.