The final match of the season between Barça and Olympiacos

As expected, this season’s EuroLeague playoffs brought some very balanced series and we will have three decisive Game 5 matchups.

Real Madrid is the only team that managed to keep its home-court advantage after the first two games in the series against Baskonia and then the Blancos won in Vitoria-Gasteiz too, sweeping the Basque team 3-0. Panathinaikos, Monaco and Barcelona all lost in Game 1 as hosts, but they all managed to retrieve the home-court advantage by winning one away game. Now we will focus a little on the game that will be played on Wednesday in the Palau Blaugrana where Barcelona will host Olympiacos for the do-or-die game that will take one of them to the Final Four in Berlin.

From the start, this series had the biggest potential to go to five games as the two teams finished 4th and 5th in the regular season. Another fact that is not surprising is that out of the four quarterfinal matchups, this is the series with the fewest points per game scored so far. Barca and Olympiacos both scored fewer points than any of the other playoff teams in the regular season. Of course, they balance this out in other areas, Olympiacos being a top team in steals and committing few turnovers, while Barca is the second-best rebounding team and third in assists in the league.

After three games that finished with a single-digit difference and Barca up 2-1, the team from Piraeus avoided elimination last Thursday after playing almost perfectly in the last three quarters and won by 34 points.

However, we should expect a very close game on Wednesday with Barca being the favourite to advance. Even if it’s a relatively small arena, Palau Blaugrana is loud when it’s packed with fans and can represent a decisive advantage in the end for the hosts. On the other hand, Olympiacos players might be more confident after the dominant victory in Game 4 and if they can carry their momentum into Game 5 and start strong they can silence the crowd fast.

Imre Halasz

Image: EuroLeague