Nicolas Laprovittola saves the day

Nicolas Laprovittola scored a go-ahead 3-point play with a few seconds remaining to lift Real Madrid to an 87-85 triumph over FC Barcelona on Sunday.

In the rivals’ dramatic clash, Nikola Mirotic sank a 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, giving FC Barcelona its first lead of the game. That set the stage for the final sequence.

With the win, Real Madrid improved to 28-1 in the Spanish Liga Endesa. FC Barcelona slipped to 25-4, and its 16-game win streak ended.

In addition to Argentine point guard Nicolas Laprovittola’s key bucket in crunch time, Real Madrid had several players step up to spark the offense. Rudy Fernandez canned 3 of 5 from downtown and put a team-best 13 points on the board. Usman Garuba and Tristan Vukcevic finished with 11 points apiece. In the fourth quarter, Fabien Causeur made a big impact, scoring all 10 of his points. Laprovittola added 12 points and five assists.

For Laprovittola and teammates, big lead dwindles

Real Madrid led 42-33 at the break, then pushed the pace and build a 49-35 lead three minutes into the second half.

But against a potent foe in FC Barcelona, the sizable cushion slipped away. As a result, Nicolas Laprovittola’s team was in front 59-57 entering the fourth quarter.

Real Madrid’s offense kicked into high gear early in the final stanza, carrying the club to a 74-61 lead in the 34th minute.

For Real Madrid, an 83-74 advantage with 40 seconds remaining gave way to a tight finish. FC Barcelona made some big shots before the final buzzer, including Mirotic’s aforementioned triple.

FC Barcelona’s key offensive performances

Cory Higgins was the high scorer (21 points) for FC Barcelona. Teammate Nick Calathes poured in 18 and Mirotic netted 17 points. Kyle Kuric had a 12-point game. Longtime NBA star Pau Gasol appeared in his second game since returning to Barcelona and was scoreless in eight minutes. Gasol faced Bayern Munich on Friday in a EuroLeague contest.

Milestone for Sergio Llull

Like it was for Nicolas Laprovittola, Sunday’s game was memorable for his teammate Sergio Llull.

The veteran point guard appeared in his 500th Liga Endesa game, 489 of them coming with Real Madrid, which advanced to the EuroLeague playoffs last week. Laprovittola had a banner performance in the win over Fenerbahce: 18 points, 10 assists, four rebounds and two steals.

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