Real Madrid drew first blood in the El Clasico tinted Spanish ACB (Liga Endesa) finals series with nemesis Barcelona. Los Blancos overcame their Catalan rivals 78-72 at home to take a 1-0 lead, but of course there is plenty more to play for in the coming days and week.
Both of these Euroleague giants have dominated Spanish Basketball through the decades, with Barcelona winning 18 titles and Real Madrid 31. Barca has won three of the last four however, including last season, so Madrid will be more eager than ever to wrestle back the championship. With Barcelona in patchy form this season, the club’s title defence has been in danger many times, while Real Madrid is coming off the back of being named 2015 Euroleague champion.
With the honour of being Europe’s best club this season, Los Blancos were in great form in the Spanish ACB semi-finals, and the hosts carried the momentum in the first quarter on Friday. Madrid looked hot in the opening ten minutes and managed to amass a 27-20 lead at the first break. Barcelona reeled in the home team in the second frame and tied the quarter 20-20 to make it 47-40 through the long break. The guests went better in the third act and edged the period 12-13, but Madrid still held a 59-53 lead through thirty minutes. The teams went toe to toe in the fourth quarter and locked 19-19 to ensure Real Madrid celebrated a victory.
Rudy Fernandez led the way for Real with 17 points, while Sergio Rodriguez and Felipe Reyes added 12 points each. Gustavo Ayon was the other double digit scorer with 10 points.
Mario Hezonja was the only Barcelona player to score more than 10 points, he managed 18 points in the losing effort.