Barca with a step into the EuroLeague Final Four

Yesterday we had two very exciting games in the EuroLeague quarterfinals, but unfortunately, both games ended with accusations against the referees who made some controversial calls in the final minutes of both games.

While Panathinaikos lost by two points in Belgrade against Maccabi, Olympiacos had an even more balanced battle at home against Barcelona as the game went into overtime where the Catalans prevailed in the end 82-80.

With 15 seconds left from the regular time and Olympiacos up by 2 points, the Greeks asked for a 5-second violation when Barca inbounded the ball. The referees did not call it and Nicolas Laprovittola scored two points at that possession and sent the game to overtime. Then in the overtime even more drama and controversy followed. Tomas Satoransky tied the game with a three-pointer with 37 seconds left in the game. Then, with less than a second left a foul was called on Jabari Parker’s three-point attempt. He scored two, missed the third intentionally for the time to expire and Barcelona escaped with a huge win in Piraeus.

Up 2-1 in the series, Barca is now the favourite to advance to the Final Four. It would be a great achievement for Roger Grimau, who took over the Blaugrana team last summer as a rookie coach and with many changes in the roster he still managed to create a very competitive team that can fight for the EuroLeague trophy, something that Barca hasn’t won in 14 years. Meanwhile, for Olympiacos, it would be a big disappointment to miss the Final Four. The Greeks played the Final last season and lost dramatically in the last seconds against Real Madrid. For sure they are very motivated by that defeat and they want to reach the top this time, but now they have to win twice in a row against Barca just to reach the Final Four tournament.

I believe Olympiacos will win Game 4 in Piraeus and force a Game 5, but it will be hard to win again in Palau Blaugrana in a decisive game.

Imre Halasz

Image: EuroLeague