The second Spanish-Greek derby of the week: F.C. Barcelona vs. PAO

Tonight, Palau Blaugrana will host one of the best Euroleague derbies. With Pau Ribas back on the court full of energy, Barcelona has now a better rotation, waiting only for Thomas Huertel and Kevin Pangos to end up their injury period. Normally, Barca had all the advantages in this encounter playing at home and being superior on almost any chapter.

It will be a special night for Tyrese Rice, former Blaugrana guard who parted ways with the team not in the happiest way. Let’s see if he can take the revenge now after such a big performance he made against Olympiacos last week when he scored 41 points. Rice was also the best player for PAO this weekend in the domestic league of Greece where the Euroleague powerhouse won against Ifaistos Limnos.

If PAO can focus and fight, it will be a nice clash for the fans of both sides, but I don’t see how they can stop Nikola Mirotic, Ante Tomic and Brandon Davies in the paint. The only solution for the visitors is to score a lot from the arc, while they are trying to make the best possible defense on Earth. F.C. Barcelona simply cannot afford to lose this home game because they have to stay there on top trying to tie Anadolu Efes for the first place.

After all the money invested this season, the Catalan club is the main favorite to win the Euroleague in May and they will do the best to win every encounter. Till now, excepting the loss against CSKA, they are undefeated at home this season, both in the Euroleague and in Liga Endesa. Let’s see if PAO can change that, especially now when they are beneficiating of their entire roster, having no injuries and being again led by Rick Pitino, a coach that can do miracles.

Photo: Euroleague

Gratian Cormos