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Juan Carlos Navarro, Barça's highest point scorer / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

The spectators at the Palau Blaugrana watched an exciting top-notch game this evening in Barcelona. With four remaining matches left on the schedule, FC Barcelona Regal worked to tie up the top spot of the Liga Endesa, which will give the team home-court advantage in the post-season play-offs.

Led by a spectacular Juan Carlos Navarro, Barça Regal took advantage of the opportunity to win their tenth straight victory in the League by downing Caja Laboral (97-89), who are lie third in the table. Xavi Pascual’s team, with 15 days left for the Final Four, made it clear that they are going into the final stretch of the season on top form.

 First quarter, 27-17

Barça slowly started to dominate the match even though both teams were fairly even on the scoreboard. Barça, who were going up against the second best defence of the league, closed out the first quarter leading the visitors 27-17. The result is significant because only three players from the visiting team were able to score - Nocioni, Lampe and Huertel. Huertas, with eight points, was Barça’s highest point scorer in the first quarter.

Despite Fran Vázquez’ dunk at the start of the second quarter, which put Barça up by 12, Caja Laboral found the formula to stop Barça’s offence. The visiting team, led pby Bjelica, Lampe and Huertel, slowly started to cut into Barça’s lead - in fact they outscored Barça 19 to 25 in the second quarter. A three-pointer from Lampe, highest scorer for his team up until this point, with nine points, closed out the second quarter with 46-42 on the scoreboard.

Battle of the titans

The third quarter was marked by both teams converting most of their shots, led by Navarro and Lampe, respectively. The second half could not have started off any better for Xavi Pascual’s men. A three-pointer from Navarro gave way to a scoring frenzy (28-27) - then Nocioni was quick to knock in three points for his team. Ndong, Lorbek, and Lampe - impeccable from the three-point line - and Navarro with his perimeter shots delighted the home crowed as they watch a scoring festival from both teams on the court.  This spectacular third quarter ended with a five-point advantage for Barça Regal (74-69).

At the start of the last quarter, Nocioni was given a technical foul. However, Teletovic put Caja Laboral up by one point with a three-pointer of his own (76-77). Barça Regal, however, came out swinging, a three-pointer -the fifth- from Navarro, who finished with a 42-point evaluation, put Barça in front (83-77). Caja Laboral didn’t give up until the last second, and they struck back thanks to three points from Nocioni with four minutes to go until the end. Barça’s excellent defence, however, did the rest and the home team finished the game with a victory (97-89).

MATCH STATS

FC BARCELONA REGAL 97
(27+19+28+23)

Huertas (17), Navarro (31), Eidson (2), Lorbek (21) and Ndong (14), Sada (-), Vázquez (4), Wallace (6), Ingles (-), Mickeal (2).

CAJA LABORAL 89
(17+25+27+20)

Heurtel (8), Oleson (8), Nocioni (15), Teletovic (11), Lampe (31), Ribas (5), M.Bjelica (8), N. Bjelica (3)

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