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Dorsey

Dorsey / PHOTO: ACB MEDIA.

FC Barcelona claimed vengeance on Valencia Basket this evening in Malaga in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. Like in the match last Sunday, the Blaugrana started off strong, but this time they didn’t let their rivals climb back into contention. In the first 15 minutes Barça simply cruised, and they reached an advantage of 23 points - Valencia fought back, but finished the game six points under the Blaugrana.

Three consecutive three pointers from Juan Carlos Navarro get Barça off to a dream start. The Blaugrana were focused while Valencia were struggled to convert their shots. A time out and two baskets for the visitors put a small damper on Barça’s first-quarter rout but then Papanikolaou and Tomic picked up where Navarro left off and Barça surged to a 14-point lead. Valencia tried their luck from the three point line seeing that their interior game wasn’t going according to plan.

Barça’s 10 out 14 shots from the field contrasted well with Valencia’s 3 out of 17. An impeccable Marcelinho came off for Pullen, who led the team to an extraordinary conclusion of the first quarter (31-9).

In the first 15 minutes, Barça were a perfectly synced team – they were effective from the field, their passing was on target and they were solid on defence. Nachbar not only shut down Doellman, he also scored from the three-point line. Xavi Pascual sent out fresh players, but Barça’s form remained the same. After 15 minutes, the home team led 41 to 20.

Valencia, however, managed to reduce the distance from 23 points to 17 and Pascual responded by calling timeout. But that time Valencia were growing in confidence and they jumped to a 3 to 15 run (44-33, min 19). Thanks to the free throws, Barça added to their lead right before the break (48-33).

In the second half, neither side managed to dominate. Van Rossom brough Valencia within 12 points (53-41), but two assists from Huertas and Tomic boosted Barça’s morale. The pace of the game fell a bit, as did Barça’s shooting effectiveness. The home team continued to lead, however (61-45, min28), even though Valencia were snagging most of the rebounds thanks to Sato. A three pointer from Pullen in the last second of the third quarter put Barça up by 16 points (64-48).

In the fourth quarter Lafayette led Valencia on a 0-7 run, and the ghosts from last Sunday’s match started to creep around the Barça bench. But this time it was too late for Valencia. Every time they close to Barça, the Blaugrana would hit back through Huertas, Navarro and Tomic. FC Barcelona stood tall and won the match, which means there will be a Clásico in Malaga.

MATCH FACTS

FC BARCELONA, 89
VALÈNCIA BASKET, 81

FC Barcelona: Huertas (8), Navarro (20), Papanikolaou (9), Lorbek (4), Tomic (16)-starting five-, Abrines, Oleson (7), Nachbar (14), Dorsey (6) and Pullen (5).

València Basket: Van Rossom (15), Martínez (5), Sato (21), Doellman (12), Triguero (6)–starting five-, Lafayette (7), Ribas (8), Dubljevic (4) and Barton (3).

Referees: Pérez Pizarro, Conde and Bultó.

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