By Panos Katsiroubas/ email@example.com
A big game was held in Palau, the Classico of the Spanish Basketball with both teams fighting for the 1st spot in their group. In the end, after a quality offensive game Barcelona defeated their rivals, but Real Madrid keeps in their hands the 1st place with a win over Zalgiris the following week.
Real Madrid started the game in control early on. Rudy was excellent in terms of executing after screens. He scored big points from the perimeter. This was more or less the game of Real Madrid. With a short squad with both Llull, Rudy and Carroll, they looked for many screens in the baseline and the wings in order to find open shots. The screens especially from Reyes were excellent and his teammates found the time to execute or to pass instantly inside the paint and create a 2 vs 1 game in the paint with the rotations of Barca being slow.
Reyes and Ayon did excellent job inside creating many problems in the defensive balance of Barcelona and forcing Tomic to go to the bench with 2 fouls after only 5 minutes. In the 1st period Real Madrid was in total control.
This changed in the 2nd quarter with Barcelona improving their personal defense, and also moving the ball better in offense. With Satoransky, Abrines and Hezonja on the court the Catalans played harder defense, and put a lot of pressure in the backcourt of Real Madrid. Pleiss and Lampe played well in offense, with Lampe stretching the defense of Real Madrid with his outside shooting and Pleiss finishing plays after pick ‘n roll.
The Catalans also had good decisions in the plays were their shooters took the ball after screens with good execution and passing in the double teams. They opened the court and find the extra passes that created open perimeter shots mostly from Thomas and Hezonja.
In the 2nd half Barcelona came stormy in the court with 2 sources that damaged the defense of Real Madrid. The 1st source was Ante Tomic. The Croatian center after a slow start in the game, he played his favorite pick n roll that gives him the opportunity to create from the free throw line, where he receives the ball after pick, giving passes to his power forwards. He dished his 4 assists in the 1st 7 minutes of the 3rd quarter, 2 for Nachbar who was playing as a “stretch 4” almost all game for 2 open 3pt shots, and 2 for Lampe who was coming from the baseline when his opponent tried to double team Tomic.
The other source was Hezonja in terms of scoring. In situations that he was creator-executor, he was setting the play and he executed in the switches of the defense of Real Madrid scoring 9 points and finishing the game with 15 with 5/6 3pt shots.
Real Madrid stayed alive in the game mostly because of the quality of their backcourt and especially the way Sergio Llull attacks. The team from Madrid was totally lacking inside game after the 1st quarter and Llull became very aggressive in order to save his team. He scored 6 straight points in isolation plays against Navarro and with his penetrations forced the defense to close inside and leave open shots from the perimeter that Rudy and Sergio Rodriguez took advantage of. He finished the game with 8 points and 8 assists, most of them in the 2nd half.
In the end Barca was more stable and logical in terms of offensive plays. With many off ball screens and with targeted game inside they had more options than Real Madrid. Oleson scored 3 big point shots with quick executions after screens with Real Madrid never finding the answer in this play. On the other side Real Madrid had one dimension game with their centers being out of the offensive game. As a conclusion we presume that after the 1st quarter Barcelona was the best team. With better ball movement and creation (25-18 assists), better percentages (almost 70% in 2pt field goals), they scored all the big shots needed to gain this win.