CAI Zaragoza vs FC Barcelona Regal

Barça Regal faces their next six matches of the regular season in a privileged position. The Azulgranas have opened up a small lead at the top of the table after they beat CAI Zaragoza (49-68) and Real Madrid fell to Caja Laboral (67-66). This allowed Xavi Pascual’s men to extend their lead at the top and preserve home-court advantage in the playoffs. Despite the lead, Barça need to be prudent seeing that their difficult schedule could jeopardize their place in the standings.

In their last three matches, Barça Regal have managed to breakaway from Real Madrid in the fight for the top spot of the Liga Endesa. The victories over Valencia Basket at the Palau and CAI have consolidated the team’s mentality after securing a Final Four berth in the Euroleague. Barça have a record of 23/5 to Madrid’s 21/7. However, Barça’s upcoming matches, marked by teams that are required to win, will force the Azulgranas to play at a high level. Six of the remaining teams Barça will face are vying for a playoff spot.

“We must keep on working”

One of Barça’s best players this weekend, Boniface Ndong, recognized that “having a two-game lead gives us options” but he’s clear that “we have to keep on working seeing that we have the second and third place teams coming to the Palau.” The Senegalese adds “we’re dependent on ourselves but we have a long way to go and we have games against Real Madrid and Caja Laboral.”

Consistency rewarded

Since the start of the Liga Endesa this season, Barça Regal have maintained a privileged spot in the standings. The title holders have been leaders in 16 of the 28 weeks of the competitions (57%). Xavi Pascual’s men have the best defence in the league - they concede, on average, 64.7 points per match.

The Palau Blaugrana, key

If the away matches against Unicaja (week 30), Lucentum Alicante (week 32) and Assignia Manresa (week 34) are complicated, then the matches at the Palau become key in Barça’s bid to maintain top spot in the league. The first match at home will be against Lagun Aro, surprise team of the competition followed by Caja Laboral (week 31) and the clásico against Real Madrid.