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Ndong was the man of the match / PHOTO: MARIANO POZO - ACBPHOTO

Barça Regal won their sixth consecutive match in the Liga Endesa and took one step closer to securing the top spot of the league in the regular season, which guarantees home-court advantage in the play-offs. Xavi Pascual’s men have demonstrated that their coming into the final stretch of the season on form after beating Valencia, CAI and Lagun Aro.

Barça Regal was determined to impose their pace on the match. Five consecutive points from Lorbek and five from Ndong gave Barça a 2-10 lead after only two minutes of play. Luis Casimiro’s men, who are fighting to get into the play-offs, were unable to beat the best defence of the Liga Endesa. Barça’s Senegalese star, executing fast transitions, scored 11 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in the first quarter. Barça controlled both the offensive and defensive rebounds and imposed a fluid style of play. The first quarter came to an end with 16-27 on the scoreboard.

The best defence of the Liga

Unicaja, who have lost 9 out of their last 10 games in the Liga Endesa, had difficulty getting past Barça’s intense defence. In fact, they couldn’t score for five straight minutes. At the other end of the court, Barça Regal, led by an inspired Sada, continued with their aggressive play and went on a 0 to 12 run halfway through the second quarter (16-39). Mickeal, who is back with the team after recovering from a ligament injury in his left knee, scored four points as soon as he came out onto the court. Barça led 27 to 48 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, Unicaja tried to react by running more plays closer to Barça’s basket through Freeland and Zoric and came within 20 points of their opponents. Barça, however, didn’t let their lead slip away. Marcelinho, Navarro, Vázquez, Ingles and company responded with a 14 to 20 run, ending the quarter with a 41-68 advantage.

Navarro, 51 three-pointers this season

The game was over by the time the last quarter started. The Andalusians played the remaining minutes knowing that mounting a comeback was nearly impossible and Barça Regal, never losing respect for their rivals, increased their lead to 57-89 to finish off the game. Juan Carlos Navarro scored two three-pointers against Unicaja, which takes his tally for the season to 51 in the ACB. The Barça captain has scored 50 or more three-pointers for five consecutive seasons.

MATCH STATS

Unicaja, 57
FCB Regal, 89

Unicaja (16+11+14+16): Rowland (3), Devries (10), Darden (9), Zoric (4), Freeland (18) -starting five-, Lima (-), Rodríguez (5), Abrines (-), Valters (5), Sinanovic (1) and Peric (2).

FCB Regal (27+21+20+21): Huertas (4), Navarro (12), Eidson (4), Lorbek (12), Ndong (21) -starting five-, Sada (6), Vázquez (12), Wallace (9), Ingles (5), Rabaseda (-) and Mickeal (4).

Referees: Martín Bertrán, Pérez Pérez and Rial.

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