The complicated journey of travel that Barça faces in these next few days could not have started better. The Catalans have packed a good suitcase, who will fly from Malaga to Istanbul and then to Tel Aviv, without going home. The first exam, Unicaja’s, was passed, although not with a particularly high grade. Of course, the victory keeps those of Jasikevicius undefeated and leaves them as solo leaders of the Endesa League.
Unicaja is one of the groups with the most character in Spain and he showed it again. He was barely 15 seconds ahead on the scoreboard, after Abromaitis’s initial basket, but he ended up squeezing Barça until the final honk. The Catalans dominated at will for most of the game with a particularly inspired Kuric and a feisty Davies as always. Although they returned to sin of losing many balls, up to 18 in the Martín Carpena.
The clash came to the last three minutes with a seemingly reassuring outlook for the visitors (60-72) after a few quite busy minutes with a trail of techniques. But then came the furious reaction of those from Katsikaris, with more faith than basketball, signing an incredible 10-0 that left the duel in the air with a minute to go. Jasikevicius called for an urgent time-out and managed to calm the spirits of his players, who ended up sentencing the victory from the free throw line. A result that despite not playing too fluidly allows them to gain confidence for the double (and very tough) double European duel that awaits them.
In this way, Barça took advantage of Real Madrid’s surprising morning stumble, which fell to the mighty Gran Canaria at the WiZink. Tavares’ great game (18p, 13r) was overshadowed by the great performance of a former Azulgrana like Pustovyi, who led the yellow victory with 14 points.