Barça Regal, in the second match of the series / PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS

Monday night’s game three in Madrid (22.00, TVE1) sees the continuation of the basketball clásico in search of the Liga Endesa championship. It’s 1-1 as things stand, and any error from now on will prove very costly indeed. Barça desperately need the win to recover home-court advantage and add to the pressure on Real Madrid in what’s proving to be a gripping final series. But the positive mood in the Barça camp is certainly an important factor in their favour.

Decisive last minutes

In both matches played so far, events in the last few minutes of the game have proved crucial. In game one, it was a 3-pointer from Marcelinho Huertas and in game two it was three Real Madrid 3-pointers in the last six minutes. Barça Regal are clearly going to need to maintain their concentration from start to finish, because Madrid will be ready to exploit any moment when they seem to be off their guard. As Xavi Rabaseda said, “our errors are what the opposition gets right”.

The Catalans will need to be particularly careful about the home side’s long shots, which have been considerably more effective than Barça’s in this series. Sergio Rodríguez and Carroll have been especially inspired. They are also going to have to find a solution to counter Tomic. In short, such evenly balanced affairs as games between Barça Regal and Real Madrid can be decided by the smallest of details.

Staying ahead

In the second game at the Palau, Barça Regal led from the start, and Xavi Pascual will be looking for more of the same in game three. Barça need to dictate the pace, play the game their own way, and above all, not allow Madrid to edge into the lead. 

A lot is also hanging on the way a veteran of such matches, Juan Carlos Navarro, performs. He more than anybody else is capable of tipping the balance in favour of FCB just when it matters most. He’s scored a total of 32 points in the two games played so far. Navarro, Mickeal and Lorbek have also been inspired in the Barça offence, although Marcelinho and Vázquez also made it into double figures in game two.

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