Experts say that the first game of a Euroleague quarter-final series is always the most dangerous. This is because there’s pressure to win at home, the visitors have more to win than they have to lose and because a bad start can end up scuttling your chances. Barça did well to overcome all of these, and they were made to work hard for the win seeing that the first 20 minutes were extremely complicated for the home side. The 88 to 61 final score doesn’t show the hard work the team put in. Barça now only need two more victories to qualify for the Final Four.
Barça suffered in the opening minutes of the match. Their rival, who were playing with less pressure because they weren’t at home, kicked off the game with a 0 to 9 run thanks to Arroyo’s talent and Aldemir’s physical prowess. Even though there was a lot of time on the clock, it’s not easy to mount a comeback in the Euroleague and Pascual was forced to call time out. Navarro scored, but Arroyo did whatever he wanted on the court. The Puerto Rican was a nightmare for Barça’s defence in the first quarter, which ended with 14 to 21 on the scoreboard.
When the score was 25 to 31, Pascual brought in Pullen. The American came out full of confidence as the Palau applauded him. And he responded with two three pointers and a great assist to Dorsey. With him on the court, Barça surged to a 8-0 run, but a three pointer from Arslan made it 33 to 35 at the break.
Another three pointer from Pullen, his third in less than three minutes on the court, gave Barça the lead for the first time in the game. The 47 to 39, after a two-pointer from Pullen, showed that Barça had taken control of the game. The third quarter ended with 59 to 49 on the scoreboard.
Even though Barça’s performance had improved, the loss of Carlos Arroyo was damning for Galatasaray. Olseon scored two three pointers to give Barça a 21-point lead (70-49). In the final minutes of the match, with everything decided, Pascual cycled out the players who had had the most minutes on the court. The game was won.