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Navarro against Sergio Rodríguez during the match at the Palau / PHOTO: Àlex Caparrós - FCB

The defeat to Real Madrid this Monday was painful. Hardly anything went Barça Regal’s way and Real Madrid, on the other hand, were close to perfection. Pablo Laso’s men dominated every aspect of the match, with an overall performance that was very superior to Barça Regal’s. Los Blancos finished the third match of the series with a 43-point advantage over the Azulgranas even though their three-point accuracy percentage dropped to 19% (3 out of 16), compared to their 53% in the first match and 65% in the second.

Barça Regal started with Sada and Navarro for the first time in the final series. Mickeal, Lorbek and Vázquez completed Xavi Pascual’s starting five team. The match started with the same intensity as the first two games at the Palau. Pascual’s men, with Mickeal as the leader on the court, were determined to win back home-court advantage. Real Madrid, with a very active Carroll, who scored 12 points in the first quarter, was the leader for Los Blancos. A basket from Lorbek at the end of the first quarter brought Barça within two points of Madrid (25-23).

Decisive second quarter

The good form shown in the first quarter quickly vanished in the second. The Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid, with more than 13,000 spectators, pressured the visiting side. Real Madrid, with Reyes and Llull as the team’s point men, managed to take a 14-point lead at the half after going on a 21 to 9 run in the second quarter. A fast timeout from Xavi Pascual wasn’t enough to break Madrid’s rhythm, and five consecutive points from Navarro proved equally ineffective as the home side crashed down on Barça’s defence. The best defence in the regular season had simply conceded too many points.

Polar opposites

At the start of the second half, the Azulgranas tried to regain the fluidity in their play by singling out Lorbek under the post and Eidson and Marcelinho behind the three-point line. Barça’s field goal percentage did not improve and Real Madrid, full of confidence, continued to increase their lead. A fight between Mickeal and Suárez broke out on the court after the Madrid player committed a personal foul. Each player was given a technical foul in addition to a flagrant foul awarded to Mickeal. Pablo Laso’s men managed to take a 20-point lead (54-34) halfway through the third quarter. While Barça Regal were struggling to score while each shot from Madrid seemed to go in. The quarter ended with 69 to 42 on the scoreboard.

The players seemed to be going through the motions in the last 10 minutes of the match. The Barça Regal players were already thinking about game four and Real Madrid were enjoying the moment. Eidson scored his first three pointer of the series and Wallace knocked down a couple of three pointers as well. It’s important for Barça Real to regain their confidence ahead of Wednesday’s match at the Palacio.

Vázquez, highest blocker in the playoffs

Despite tonight’s defeat, it’s worth highlighting the commitment and dedication displayed by Juan Carlos Navarro and Boniface Ndong, both of whom are struggling to maintain match fitness due to various injuries. Furthermore, Fran Vázquez managed to become the all-time leading blocker in the ACB playoffs after tonight’s match, with a total of 82 blocks, surpassing Fernando Romay’s record.

The best bit of news from tonight’s game is that in the playoffs basket average doesn’t factor into which team is ultimately named champion. This Wednesday, Barça Regal will start the match with a clean slate. The title is still only two games away.

MATCH STATS

Real Madrid, 85

FC Barcelona Regal, 59

Real Madrid: (25+21+23+16):Llull (12), Suárez (2), Singler (4), Velickovic (3) and Tomic (8) -Starting five- Reyes (15), Carroll (17), Begic (5), Pocius (1), Mirotic (12) and Sergio Rodríguez (6).

FC Barcelona Regal (23+9+10+17): Sada (4), Navarro (8), Mickeal (9), Lorbek (9) and Vázquez (2) -Starting five- Wallace (13), Ndong, Huertas (4), Ingles (4), Rabaseda (3) and Eidson (3).

Referees: Arteaga, Conde and García Ortiz.


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