11 wins in 14 Clásicos since sarunas jasikevicius returned to the Palau. The Lithuanian coach has food for morale Paul Laso, to which problems accumulate. In addition to having separated Heurtel and Thompkins, he already has 14 losses in the last 21 games played. The last one in a Palau that celebrated not only the fourth Clásico in a row but almost the first place in the regular phase of the League: with seven games to go, Barça already has three wins, in addition to the ‘basketball average’. Of course, the azulgranas sweated more than expected, without the disqualified Mirotic and in extra time. There isafter missing the three-pointer that would have decided the match in regulation time, tipped the balance with nine points in extra time (108-97).
Heurtel, who turned 33 this Sunday, has not been able to celebrate them in his old house. The French base, separated a year ago from the Barcelona discipline, has also exhausted patience in Madrid. The spree that the former azulgrana ran with Thompkins and Yabusele in Greece it has meant the final cross to the first two. The last one did play, being behind the capon the most inspired by his team, but he couldn’t avoid the fourth classic in a row with Barça.
Jasikevicius did not want to force with Brandon Davis and Madrid took advantage of his absence to load their balls into the tower over and over again Tavares. But to which the Barça defense closed that waterway, Barça quickly opened a gap. Laso had to call the first timeout at 20-8. Raising the physical intensity and refining the shot, he managed to prevent the duel from breaking up prematurely and even managed to get ahead (33-34).
That’s where the ‘Nicos’ started their ‘show’: Laprovittola and Mirotic They assumed responsibility in attack, adding 12 points between them, in the middle of an exchange of blows. A three-pointer from the Argentine point guard (20 points) at the buzzer made it 51-46 at halftime. In addition to the ‘Nicos’, Smits (18) was the ‘culé’ most inspired in shooting.
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Jasikevicius, always demanding, lamented in the intermission that the attitude of his men was not the right one. His players heeded his harangue and, raising the defensive temperature several degrees, in the blink of an eye they fired. The competitive desire of the Lithuanian coach put an end to Barca’s journey through the desert last season, winning the League and Cup, as well as reaching the Euroleague final. After revalidating the cup scepter and before trying to win the two remaining titles, Saras wanted to give another psychological blow to a rival who is ‘groggy’.
Abalde and Mirotic, disqualified
But, as the Barcelona coach had ventured, a Clasico is always a different game. And Madrid were not going to give up so easily: Hanga, who had slowed down Laprovittola somewhat in attack, scored a three-pointer that gave the Whites the first lead in the entire second half (76-78). The tension rose, as demonstrated by a tangana of Mirotic and Abalde, which ended with both disqualified. With the Barça star away, the audience at the Palau roared more than ever.
A loss by Hanga gave Barça at 88-89 a possession to win. Nigel Hayes missed the triple but the referees called a foul by Poirier on Sanli on the rebound. The Turkish center missed the first but scored the second leading to extra time, after the hoop spat out Llull’s triple.
Hayes redeemed himself from the missed 3-pointer by stringing together five points early in overtime. After the scare, Barça commanded from start to finish in a final act that Hayes left almost sentenced with another triple that gave an income of eight points with one minute to go (105-97).
“The match was totally different from what was expected. A lot of suffering, in defense we didn’t play well at all. But in the Clásico what counts is winning by a small point. The people are happy and we should be,” Jasikevicius summed up before celebrate it with a dedicated crowd.