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Defeat despite Basile’s return (79-84)

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15.05.2011 21:17

Defeat despite Basile’s return (79-84)

Llorenç Tarrés

Regal Barça ended the regular season with a narrow defeat at home to Unicaja. The two teams are set to meet again in the play offs and it was disappointing that Barça were unable to mark Baso’s return with a win.

Defeat despite Basile’s return (79-84)

Match stats

Regal FC Barcelona (22+15+21+21):
Ricky Rubio (5), Navarro (18), Grimau (3), Vázquez(8), Lorbek (9) –starting five-, Basile, Sada (8), Lakovic (6), Perovic, N' Dong
(10), Anderson (2) and Morris (10).

Unicaja Màlaga (21+24+17+22): Blakney (12), Fitch (20), Jiménez (9), Freeland (14), Archibald (1) –starting five- Berni Rodríguez (11), Almazán, Tripkovic (5),
Garbajosa (8) and Sinanovic (4).

Referees: Arteaga, García González and Rial.

Venue: Palau Blaugrana.
With three minutes left of the first quarter, Gianluca Basile made his return to the courts after a seven month injury lay off and the fans gave him a massive ovation. He was only on for a couple of minutes and was unable to score, but his reappearance was undoubtedly the best news of the day for Regal Barça.

The two teams are set to meet again in the first round of the league play offs and on the evidence of this game, the three match series promises to be a thriller. Unicaja knew they had to go all out for the win to qualify and they showed that they could be a very dangerous rival indeed.

2011-05-15_FCB_REGAL_-_UNICAJA_017.JPGThe game began with a quick interchange of points as the attackers clearly showed the upper hand: Jiménez, Blakney and Fitch monopolised the Unicaja attack with all the first 15 points between them, whilst Navarro, spectacular from distance, the determination of Grimau and finally a basket on the buzzer from Sada were enough to send Barça in 22-21 up after the first quarter.

However six quick points without reply from the visitors was the first warning of what was to come and Freeland and Fritch led another 3-14 flurry to open up the game’s first real lead(30-38), which they stretched to 13 points before two good moves and a three pointer from Ricky reduced that to 37-45 at half time. It was those three pointers -7 from 12 –that was keeping Regal Barça in the game, as they struggled to find their usual domination.

Thrilling end to the game

2011-05-15_FCB_REGAL_-_UNICAJA_012.JPGThere was no immediate change in the third quarter, with Xavi Pascual’s team needing three minutes to get their first score after Malaga raced to a 37-51 lead. With such a clear margin for manoeuvre, Unicaja were able to stay out front for quite some time, though Barça gradually began to cut the distance and nine points from Lorbek left the scores at 58-62 going into the final 10 minutes.

Fitch and Freeland kept Unicaja ahead with some good individual action, but despite losing Ricky to a slight injury, Barça clawed their way back and two free shots from Ndong put them 73-72 ahead. Unfortunately, in a closely fought finish, Barça’s lack of accuracy in shooting and Garbajosa’s experience and cool head gave Unicaja the narrow win. This was an exciting finish, but just a prelude to the three game playoff match up.

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