Barça with a difficult mission, in spite of the home-court advantage

The Palau Blaugrana and WiZink Center will be set for another El Clasico series as Barcelona and Real Madrid meet for the 8th time in the last 11 Liga Endesa finals. The series will be played in a best-of-five series (2-2-1 format), with Barcelona having home-court advantage, the first match is on 16 June in the Palau Blaugrana.

The Catalans didn’t have big emotions, after winning 2-0 in the quarterfinals against Valencia (84-74, 87-64), they needed four games to eliminate Malaga in the semifinals. After a win in the first game 84-81 (Mirotic 14 points, Sanli 13 points, Abrines 12 points), the next game was a 79-88 home defeat (Laprovittola 19 points, Kalinic 14 points, Kuric 13 points). Away games three and four instead were dominated by Jasikevicius’ team, 90-79 (Kalinic 12 points, Laprovittola 12 points, Mirotic 12 points, Satoransky 12 points) and 87-75 (Mirotic 14 points, Satoransky 12 points, Abrines 11 points). Barcelona is relying on a lot of players on offense, their game is starting to not depend so much on Mirotic’s form.

Los Blancos are much more relaxed this final after winning the Euroleague and it can already be called a very good season for them. Just like their rivals, they defeated 2-0 against Gran Canaria in the quarterfinals, in the semifinals they met Joventut needing also 4 games to secure their final spot. In the first game, their shallow treatment of Guy cost them the win, as he scored 30 points for a 93-83 victory (Musa 18 points, Tavares 18 points, 14 rebounds, Hanga 11 points), the next three games instead Madrid were much more careful and won 90-73 (Yabusele 27 points, Hezonja 15 points, Tavares 11 points, 10 rebounds), 83-73 (Musa 25 points, Yabusele 16 points, Hezonja 13 points) and 94-73 (Hezonja 16 points, Musa 16 points and Rodriguez 15 points). The lack of their best player, Deck was made forgotten by some players who until the Euroleague Final 4 seemed just shadows, I mean Hezonja first of all but also Rodriguez and Llull. With a Musa who offers quality to the offense and a Tavares who can make game-after-game double-doubles, Real is showing why they are the strongest team in Europe.

This final is Barcelona’s last chance to get something in this season in which they have invested enormously, their only results came in matches without stake, including in the duels with Real Madrid. Although it is 3-3 in direct meetings this season, Real Madrid won the Super Cup final and the semifinal of Euroleague Final 4, with Barcelona winning 3 matches without a stake. I think Real Madrid has the chance to end a perfect season for them and they will not miss the opportunity to win again against Barcelona.

Valentin Petruta

Photo: EuroLeague