Home is where the heart is, and it’s certainly the place to be so far in the Spanish ACB Liga Endesa quarter-finals. After a clean sweep of home wins in Game 1, the same pattern happened again in Game 2, allowing all clubs to even their respective series. Along the way on Friday, a fading giant showed it has plenty of fight left, while the reigning champs were stunned by a minnow that refuses to be put away.
Interestingly, if any of the winners from tonight’s contests want to progress to the last four, they will need to break the home-win nature of this round in the deciding third game.
Iberostar Tenerife vs. Unicaja Malaga, 73-67
Arguably the most intriguing tie because it pits Champions League winner (Tenerife) against EuroCup winner (Malaga), this series is now locked. Iberostar Tenerife hit back from a Game 1 loss with a solid home win that started with a 20-12 first quarter. The hosts extended to 39-27 through halftime and looked to be cruising. A 20-18 third act all but handed Tenerife the contest, but Malaga made it interesting down the stretch with a 14-22 fourth frame.
MoraBanc Andorra vs. Real Madrid, 89-77
Current ACB Liga Endesa champs, Real Madrid, swamped Andorra in Game 1, but at home Andorra showed once again that it has a fighting spirit that puts it in the mix. The club now must travel to Madrid and produce the shock of the season, but anything can happen over one game. As was proved here, with Andorra trailing 35-39 at halftime before draining 54 points in the second half to down Los Blancos. Admittedly, Real Madrid does not always travel well, but this was an impressive victory.
Herbalife Gran Canaria vs. Baskonia, 94-79
Herbalife Gran Canaria produced another high-scoring display to even its series against Baskonia. The island club produced the biggest home and away wins this season, so Baskonia will be wary of the Gran Canaria threat in Game 3. The hosts dropped 27 points for a 10-point lead in the first quarter and rarely looked back, hitting over 20 points in the remaining frames to overwhelm a Baskonia team that itself is not shy of pouring in buckets.
FC Barcelona Lassa vs. Valencia Basket, 91-79
We have written about Barcelona’s poor season, but the Catalan club and former multiple ACB Liga Endesa champ showed that it still has fight. Enough to go all the way to the title? Probably not, but who knows. In this game, Barcelona took out a tricky Valencia in style, dropping 26 points in both Q1 and Q2 to beat their opponents into submission. The hosts controlled the second half to ensure a cruising home victory.