Hezonja had a big night in Barça's semi-final win. / ACB

Hezonja had a big night in Barça's semi-final win. / ACB

Tomorrow at 7.00pm CET, FC Barcelona will try to draw even with Real Madrid with their 24th ever Spanish Cup title.  Barça, currently with 23 titles in this tournament, beat current Liga Endesa leaders Unicaja de Málaga with a spectacular fourth quarter showing, securing the blaugranes a spot in the final for the sixth consecutive year.

Heavyweight bout

The game, which featured stingy defense from both sides in the early going, was close throughout. Both sides were forced to look for outside shot attempts. Barça went four for five from beyond the arc, highlighted by DeShaun Thomas' three straight buckets from downtown. Marcelinho Huertas sunk Barça's other trey to break a tie game and give the Catalans an 18–15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

At the beginning of the second quarter, Barça's Boštjan Nachbar, Mario Hezonja and Àlex Abrines all went for the trifecta and missed, giving Málaga a moment to catch its breath. Málaga regrouped and outscored the culers 19–13 in the second quarter while shooting 56% from the field. Barça captain Juan Carlos Navarro came on for Abrines just before halftime to try and help Barça close the gap on Málaga's 39–32 lead. Navarro's presence led Barça into the intermission down 39–34.

Up in the air

Right after the break, Málaga's Caleb Green nailed a three to give his team their biggest lead of the night at 42–34. But a quick basket from center Ante Tomic and a pair of clutch treys from shooting guard Tomáš Satoranský and power forward Justin Doellman brought Barça back to within two points at 44–42. Next it was Brad Oleson's turn, and the big Alaskan delivered, carrying his team into the lead with back to back three-pointers and a drive the rim that culminated in a Tomic tip-in, putting Barça in front 53–51. Baskets were traded as the third quarter wound down and the game was knotted at 59.

Málaga broke the deadlock on a trey from Markovic to start a 9–3 run that put them up by six with just seven minutes to play. Barça was down but not out as the defense put on its game face, forcing Málaga into sloppy turnovers and poor shot selection. It was the spark that the blaugranes needed, igniting an 11–0 run that put them up 73–68 with just over four minutes left. Down the stretch, Oleson, Hezonja and Maciej Lampe were all money from three-point territory, delivering the knockout punch and sending Barça flying into Sunday's final 87–79.


FC BARCELONA, 87 (18+16++25+28)
UNICAJA MÁLAGA, 79 (15+24+20+20)

FC Barcelona: Satoransky (9), Oleson (11), Thomas (13), Doellman (9) and Tomic (10) –starting five-, Huertas (5), Navarro (4), Hezonja (12), Abrines (2), Lampe (10), Nachbar (-), Pleiss (2).

Unicaja Málaga: Markovic (4), Toolson (3), Thomas (5), Suárez (10) and Golubovic (-) –starting five-, Granger (12), Stefansson (5), Vasileiadis (9), Kuzmainskas (13), Green (8), Gabriel (2), Vázquez (8).

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