Barcelona

Barcelona draws first blood against Real Madrid

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BarcelonaBarcelona came away from Real Madrid’s home with a huge opening win in the Spanish Liga Endesa finals series. The Catalan club registered the first blow in the series by inflicting a 93-98 defeat on its bitter rival in the Spanish capital. The Classico lived up to expectations with the players producing a high scoring Basketball spectacle for the fans inside the Caja Magica.

The winners shot 76.7% from the free throw line, picking up a total of 23 free points from 30 attempts from foul distance. Real Madrid was responsible for 48 personal fouls, not only giving Barca easy scoring opportunities but also ensuring the visitors got plenty of free possession. Barcelona did not disappoint in the offensive third and put together an unselfish attacking display that saw 26 dimes handed out through the game.

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, 93-98
Barcelona got off to the perfect start by streaming in 7 unanswered points at the start of the first quarter courtesy of Marcelinho Huertas and a triple from Bostjan Nachbar. Sergio Llull put Madrid on the board to make it 2-7 and Mirotic doubled the home team tally from two point range (4-7). Barcelona responded by surging to eight of the next nine points, with only a Rudy Fernandez free throw cutting the run for Madrid (5-15). The hosts cut the gap with a 9-5 streak to 14-20, but Joey Dorsey sunk from beyond the arc to extend Barcelona to 23 points. Rudy left the court and the game with what seemed to be a damaged finger, although he returned in the second quarter. Madrid managed to cut the deficit with the final score of the period. The first quarter ended 16-23 in favour of Barcelona.

The game was halted for 10 minutes due to a power cut in the arena, but the second quarter eventually got underway with a triple from Barca pushing the score to 16-23. The hosts hit back with a 9-2 run that put the scoreboard close again at 25-27. However, the good work was quickly undone as Barcelona surged again, this time grabbing a 2-12 run to once again open a commanding lead at 27-39. Felipe Reyes scored for Los Blancos (31-39) but there was no stopping the Barca groove as the away team pushed to a 31-43 lead. The home team finally started to carve into Barcelona’s strict defensive line late in the second quarter and actually won the frame 28-25 to put the scoreboard at 44-48 at halftime.

Madrid opened the second half in better touch and quickly set about carving Barcelona open in a spirited attacking effort. The hosts sent home 29 points through the third quarter to snatch the lead for the first time in the game, while Barcelona responded with 22 points to make the score 73-70 after 30 minutes of play.

The fourth quarter was a period of scores from downtown, with Brad Oleson, Alex Abrines, Rodriguez, and Fernandez all registered from range in the 10 minutes. Ante Tomic took control of the Barca attack in the paint and pushed himself to a player of the game performance for the team with some big plays. The score was being traded and the lead was up for grabs, but with time drifting from the game Barcelona outpaced Madrid to seal the win.

Ante Tomic paced Barcelona with 17 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double performance, while Nachbar scored 17 points. Juan Carlos Navarro had a typically busy game with 14 points, with Huertas grabbed 12 in the winning effort.

Fernandez topped Madrid with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. Partner in crime Rodriguez took 16 points, while also adding 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

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