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01.04.2010 20:56

Barca Love Paris in the Springtime! (78-84)

Llorenç Tarrés

Regal Barca booked a spot in the Final Four in Paris in May, beating Real Madrid in a tight fourth game of the playoff series at Vistalegre to win the best of five series 3-1.

Barca were ahead for almost all the game, but they suffered a few times as the hosts fought to keep their options of a Final Four place open. The trip to Paris will be Barca’s 11th Final Four and their second on the run, following last year’s appearance in Berlin.

Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro with 19 and 21 points respectively, again showed the way in the assault on Real Madrid and with a valuation of 24 points led the team with the help of Lorbeck, who improved as the game went on and finished spectacularly.

Turbo charged start

After Barca’s electric start to the third game, Madrid came out charged up and determined to pressure from the off. Mickeal and Lorbek scored Barca’s first points as the team worked to keep Madrid’s Croatian giant Tomic quiet. In part the tactic worked and although he racked up four quick points at the start of the game, it was Garbajosa, with 9 points, who led Madrid’s scoring in the first quarter.

rm-regal3.jpgThe hosts were getting through the Barca defence and taking advantage of the visitors’ errors, they soon posted a four point lead before Barca hit back, closing down rebounds and cutting off the supply to Tomic to take a 19-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

A flurry of ten points to just two for Madrid early in the second quarter gave Barca a 29-36 advantage and Ricky was now running the show. Bullock, who was not used much by Messina, kept Madrid in sight, but even two late free throws from Felipe Reyes couldn’t stop Barca taking a 41-45 lead into the break.

Tense finale, solid Barca

The team leading at the break had won all the previous three games in the series and the fourth proved no exception. A tense second half was always going to be close, but Barca showed that they had the resources to see out a tight game.

Ricky carried on where he had left off in the first half, opening an early six point gap (44-50), before personal fouls and an intense Madrid brought the hosts back to 56-56 as the teams entered the final quarter. Now Barca showed their superiority: when it wasn’t Navarro, it was Vázquez who tormented Madrid, and then Lorbeck would pop up … and so on, as the depth of talent available to Xavi Pascual wore down the desperate Madrid attempts to save the series.

Tomic was despondent, Messina resigned and although Llull tried to lift his team towards the end, it was never going to happen and Barca quashed any hopes Madrid might have winning by a clear six points and ensuring they will again be present in a European Final Four – this time in Paris in May.
Images: euroleague.
Images: euroleague.
Match details

Real Madrid (19+22+21+16): Tomic (10), Llull (20), Garbajosa (9), Prigioni (2), Hansen (6), -initial 5th-, Reyes (11), Jaric (4), Bullock (8), Velickovic (8) and Lavrinovic .

Regal Barcelona (20+25+20+19): Rubio (19), Navarro (21), Morris (3), Lorbek (14), Mickeal (6) -initial 5th-, Basile (6), Lakovic (2), Vázquez (8), Ndong (2), Grimau (3) and Sada.

Referees: Lazaros Voreadis (Greece), Christos Christoudoulou (Greece) and Jakub Zamojski (Poland).

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