The most notable game that took place in Round 32 regular season action of the Spanish Liga Endesa was an “El Clasico” encounter between FC Regal Barcelona and their rivals Real Madrid. Even though this was a game in the Spanish domestic league, few would argue that the game could be a preview to their Final Four match-up in the ongoing Turkish Airlines Euroleague, which is set to take place on the 16th of May. Barca has been hot as of late and convincingly handed league-leading Real Madrid their second loss of the season. Madrid is still atop of the league standings with their 30-2 record, while Regal Barcelona is holding strong in third place with their 25-7 slate.
FC Regal Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, 86-75
Barcelona led in the game all the way and did not let Real Madrid’s normally exciting fast-paced offense get into gear. From the very beginning Ante Tomic set the pace and scored eight points and helped his team build some early momentum. Madrid was sluggish to react and found themselves staring at an 11-point deficit (21-10) at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter Sergio Llull and Nikola Mirotic were able to finally kick-start their team’s offense. Undaunted, Barca kept pace thanks to Kostas Papanikolaou’s dominant presence in the paint and an excellent scoring effort from Alejandro Abrines. Madrid still stared at a double-digit hole heading into the half.
After the break, Barca exploded with a 30-18 third quarter, attempting to hammer the nails into Madrid’s coffin as early as possible. Barcelona held strong in the final 12 minutes of the game and made the most of their 22-point cushion to cruise to the victory.
Papanikolaou came up huge for Barca in this game as he finished the contest with an impressive double-double, scoring 18 points, grabbing 12 rebounds while also collecting four steals on the defensive end. Alejendro Abrines caught fire from downtown (4-5) and ended with a game-high 20 points for his team. Ante Tomic was a perfect 6-6 from the field to finish with 12 points and eight boards of his own.
Nikola Mirotic lead Real Madrid with 19 points and seven rebounds, while guards Sergio Llull and Sergio Rodriguez chipped in 13 points apiece.
Despite their very strong starts in both the Euroleague and Spanish Liga Endesa, Real Madrid has looked a bit shaky as of their last few games. Did they burn themselves out? It will be interesting to see if the club, which has been widely considered as the favorite to win the crown in both leagues, can find their second wind. It is especially critical for them to regain their magic once again, because of the importance of the post-season games.
Other games in Round 32:
Unicaja Malaga vs. Fuenlabrada, 88-81
Valencia Basket vs. Cajasol Sevilla, 104-93 (OT)
FIATC Joventut vs. Estudiantes Madrid, 76-89
Lagun Aro Gipuzkoa vs. Herbalife Gran Canaria 2014, 57-79
Blancos de Rueda Valladolid vs. CAI Zaragoza, 68-96
Laboral Kutxa vs. Rio Natura Monbus Obraborio CAB, 83-72
UCAM Murcia vs. CB Canarias Tenerife, 72-87
Bilbao Basket vs. La Bruixa D’Or Manresa, 92-64