Barça Lassa go 9-1 and top of the Liga Endesa after a stunning 86-69 victory over biggest rivals Real Madrid with Oriola’s intensity and Kuric’s shooting sending them flying over the line in the final period.
The game was due to be preceded by a tribute to Juan Carlos Navarro, but the event was cancelled to the sad passing away of the former Barça star’s father this weekend.
Instead, a minute’s silence was observed in remembrance of a man who had followed every second his son’s career with an extraordinary passion.
Barça were desperate to honour both son and father with a performance worthy of the occasion, and they did just that. They were 6-0 up in the blink of an eye, and without Llull Madrid were struggling, but managed to regroup and take the lead by the end of the first period (20-24).
At 24-31 it was nothing like the script that the early exchanges had suggested. Pesic called time out and whatever he said, it worked. A 13-2 streak turned the game around and Barça Lassa were back on top (39-36) at the break.
It was then Madrid’s turn to sprint, with Carroll and Reyes getting them back in command (44-46). It was time for the ‘Pesic effect’ again. Séraphin slam-dunked, and both teams rolled out their offensive power for a thrilling third period that ended with a wonder-play from Hanga and Oriola (63-57).
The defence took over in the fourth. Madrid were denied some simple chances, while back-to-back threes from Tàrrega and Kuric looked to have created a game winning lead (74-64). The atmosphere in the Palau was electric. Barça were surely heading for victory now.
Five consecutive points from Kuric and any niggling doubts were put to bed (81-64). The last two minutes were just a case of keeping things sensible and preparing for celebrations!
Barça Lassa: Pangos (7), Kuric (16), Claver (6), Singleton (12), Tomic (7), Séraphin (6), Ribas (-), Hanga (12), Blazic (-), Heurtel (11), Oriola (9).
Real Madrid: Campazzo (10), Carroll (12), Deck (1), Randolph (8), Tavares (8), Causeur (2), Fernández (2), Reyes (4), Ayón (9), Prepelic (3), Taylor (10).
Periods: 20-19, 39-36, 63-59, 86-69